Hall provides hub for small community
A chainsaw divided a hall but not the community reports Mike Bain for our Built To Last series.
The sound of splintering wood could be heard as the chainsaws ripped through the middle of the Oreipunga Settlers Hall in 1972.
Half the hall was loaded onto the back of a truck and transported to a piece of donated land next to the Horahora School.
No, this was not neighbours at war, as the community made the decision to move the hall alongside the school to become a focal part of the community.
The truck returned to the Oxenham property where the other half of the hall remained and moved it to Horahora.
At the time of putting it back together an additional six metres were added and a stage built later.
The Boulton family, whose farm bordered the school, generously donated the land not just for the hall but enough for three tennis courts and a car park to be built.
The original hall hosted many social events, allowing the bashful farm boy to pluck up enough courage to ask a member of the fairer sex for a twirl on the dance floor.
Since then the hall has been the community’s favourite meeting spot for education, sport drama and private functions.
Wedding celebrations, family events, birthdays, rugby fever and locals petting their shoes, the hall has played host to it all.
Today it serves as the hub for the community and available to everyone to make some great memories of their own.
Phil Bax holds the respons- ibility for hall bookings and he’s happy to see the hall being used.
While everyone has different memories from functions, Phil shared two of his.
During the last World Cup the hall was fitted out with a big screen as well as some bar leaners and nearly everyone in the dis- trict turned out to watch the All Blacks play for the 2016 Rugby World Cup.
‘‘That was such a great time and when we won it became better,’’ he said.
Another memory was when he became under the spell of known hypnotist Andrew Nicholson.
‘‘He hypnotised me and he told me to take one shoe off and then instructed me to pick it up and stroke it like it was my dog.
‘‘A lot happened that night with me and others that night and while we all laughed- we all laughed together, that sums up Horahora.’’