Iconic ‘tin hall’ era passes at Okoroire
There is always a touch of nostalgia when you farewell a district icon. Since 1925 Okoroire’s ‘‘tin hall’’ has been the hub of the small community, hosting everything from boxing to balls.
However, on November 13 it held its final function after the South Waikato District Council announced it was tendering the removal or demolition of the hall and the sale of the land.
‘‘Now and then’’ ball organiser Gilly Alexander said it was the most appropriate way to see off a venue that had witnessed so many moments in the area’s history.
‘‘There used to be balls there years ago, it was a regular thing. In 2002 we had a 50th anniversary of the Settlers ball there and it went really well,’’ Mrs Alexander said.
‘‘Since the hall was going we thought it was fitting that a ball was the last event.’’
Darryl Goodwin, who has lived at Okoroire all his life, remembered past balls well saying about 200 people would attend.
‘‘The tickets were sold to the community first then the public,’’ he said.
‘‘There used to be fights for them – on the Monday morning tickets would be available from Nora Martelletti’s house and there would be queues.’’
Okoroire Hall has also hosted sports including table tennis, indoor bowls, boxing, ju-jitsu and gymnastics, activities which peaked in popularity in the 1960s.
‘‘The hall would be chocka block. You can still see where the gymnastics apparatus was suspended from if you know where to look,’’ Mr Goodwin said.
However, use has steadily declined over the past few decades and council spokeswoman Kerry Fabrie said that was the main reason behind the move.
‘‘The hall was simply not being used enough and the upkeep was not cost effective largely due to the fact that there are two communities (Tapapa and Okoroire) both with their own hall and both rural, fairly close together and fairly small communities.’’
A number of options were investigated, including relocating either the Tapapa or Okoroire halls and selling the other, however the cost proved prohibitive. After extensive consultation it was decided to retain the Tapapa Hall and remove the Okoroire one.
‘‘The cost of the one hall is now met by all the residents in both communities, effectively reducing the cost to those individual ratepayers,’’ said Mrs Fabrie.
Calls for tenders closed last Thursday, they would be assessed and a decision made by the end of the year.
Mr Goodwin believed the right decision had been made.
‘‘There are a whole lot of reasons why something needed to be done, the lack of use, the vandalism and the tagging,’’ he said. ‘‘But there’ll be a bit of feeling, it’s an icon and there are a lot of fond memories, no doubt about that.’’
End of an era: Okoroire resident Darryl Goodwin has many fond memories of occasions at the ‘‘tin hall’’. It will be demolished or removed in the near future.