Future of Auckland water park Waiwera Thermal Resort in serious doubt

The future of a popular tourist attraction in north Auckland is in serious doubt, after landowners changed the locks and cancelled the lease.

The Waiwera Thermal Resort has been closed since February for upgrades, but its owners have now been accused of dodging rental payments.

On Thursday morning, the lease of the resort and the water bottling plant next door were cancelled by Waiwera Property Ltd. It said payments have been inconsistent for the last two years.

Contractors working on the refurbishment say they too are out of pocket.

Mike Goldsbury is owed more than $15,000.

"I knew they were having problems, because they weren't paying us," he said. "To the people that I know, there's about $200,000 that's owed. That's just to small guys like myself."

He said the resort later brought in other builders, who also weren't paid.

For decades, it's been a place of family fun an hour north of Auckland, but today the Waiwera Thermal Resort resembles a construction site.

The owners of the resort are listed as American Leon Fingerhut, and Russian Mikhail Kimich.

Mr Fingerhut saw Newshub's texts, but didn't want to speak today.

Landowners said they will try to start finding a solution but the park still needs to be upgraded - so it could be a long time before this holiday hotspot ever reopens again.