History of Waimanaaki (formerly Camp Anderson)
The camp at Riversdale Beach has two parts to its history.
The first period begins with the gifting of the land the camp stands on by the Anderson family, owners of Riversdale Station, to the Masterton YMCA in 1951.
The Lodge (kitchen and hall) was built by the YMCA Tramping Club in 1957 with all accommodation provided by Bell Tents. By the 1960’s the accommodation huts were moved onto the property which came from the Masterton Showgrounds and were built during WW2 to provide accommodation for the American Marines. The toilet block and tool/implement shed was built during the same period. Lastly the cottage was gifted by the Masterton Rotarians in the mid 70’s.
The second part of its history involves the Learn ‘n’ Live Ministries Charitable Trust. The Trust was established in 1985 and held school holiday camps at the site, hiring the facility from the YMCA. For several years the camp was leased to private individuals until in 1995, when the Trust took over the leasehold and then two years later in 1997 Learn ‘n’ Live was successful in tendering for the freehold of the camp and the next door property “the Confidence Course”.
Once the Trust held the freehold it immediately set about a comprehensive plan to rebuild the facility. A verandah was added to the Lodge and the ablution block upgraded. In 1998 a new meeting hall was built and a year later a section of an accommodation block was purchased from Massey University in Palmerston North. It was moved on site and refurbished complete with its own ablutions. During this time the kitchen also had a makeover with new ovens and dishwasher.
Next to go were the old accommodation cabins with the best five being resited and refurbished, the others being sold off. The first of the new accommodation blocks was completed in 2001 and the second in 2003.
The cottage was next on the list with the one bedroom undergoing a major rebuild, being completely reclad, the lounge extended, an office added and a master bedroom and ensuite being built over the garage. Around the same time agreement was made with the Riversdale residents and a fully fitted out medical centre was constructed on site with the district nurse holding weekly clinics, the centre being also available to the camp for medical staff while camps are being held.
In 2007 the Confidence Course was sold enabling the Trust to clear its mortgage and providing a ‘nest egg’ to help with the costs associated with the arrival of a reticulated sewage system and new ablution facilities in 2011/12.
Last on the list, with plans completed, was the removal of the ‘Lodge’ and a replacement kitchen being added onto the New Hall. Ongoing development is envisaged in the future.
The vision of the Trust is to provide an up to date facility that will give top class accommodation to a large range of users for many years to come, all the while fulfilling the charter and motto of the Trust ‘It is better to build a child than to repair an adult”.