Hall pro­vides hub for small com­mu­nity

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - MIKE BAIN

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.’’

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