Girl Guides angry over lodge sell-off plans

Girl Guides angry over lodge sell-off plans

Former leaders of the Girl Guides say they're furious about the sale of a property they believe is essential to the organisation.

The Otimai Lodge in west Auckland has been put on the market, with the Guides saying they can't afford to run it anymore.

Lynda Hogsden and Debbie Penk have plenty of fond memories of the complex. It's been part of Guiding in New Zealand since 1926 when Lucinda Wilson - a Girl Guide founder - bought the property.

Now the lodge is up for sale.

"It feels like a death to me," says Ms Hogsden. "I've been very depressed about it."

The property was gifted in perpetuity to the Girl Guides Association, which says it's now costing too much to run.

It's an attractive sales pitch, but Ms Wilson's grandson, Bill, told Newshub he's disappointed.

"The way they've gone about it is wrong," he says.

There are lots of questions to be answered, he says. He's also annoyed he's received no contact from the association, saying they just went ahead with the sale "without a word".

Former Girl Guide leaders Ms Hogsden and Ms Penk say it's about more than just buildings.

"The mana of the place is absolutely amazing. It is just huge."

It's about the decades of memories that come with that mana - memories future generations will now be deprived of.

As well as the historical and cultural significance of the lodge, there's also a chapel on the grounds where some members' ashes were spread and buried. It's now up to the families to retrieve them.

The Girl Guides Association didn't respond to request for comment, but so far attempts to stop the sale have failed.

The property goes up for tender this week.