Future of memorial hall uncertain
‘‘Built from brick with a tiled hip roof, this hall has a residential air to it, in contrast to the more civic appearance of the older timber hall. ’’
An Act of Parliament was needed the last time a public hall was put up for sale in Waharoa.
The Hon John Luxton, MP for Matamata, presented the Matamata County Council Empowering Bill in September 1989.
Back then Waharoa’s 1916 public hall was deemed surplus to requirements and plans for its sale by the county council had been on the table since 1985.
The Matamata Darts Association expressed an interest in buying the older of Waharoa’s tow halls but the sale was withdrawn when some community opposition was expressed.
According to the introduction given to the bill, the prospective sale became particularly tricky when the trust document for the hall could not be located. Ultimately this meant that the sale process had to be resolved by the promotion of a bill to empower the council to see the hall.
Waharoa’s first public hall opened in November 1916. Previously local functions had been held in the creamery.
The land on which the hall was built was given by local storekeeper AJ Tong and the Waikato Times reported that the weather was fine on opening day.
The crowd who attended the opening heard from Maramara County Chairman, Mr J Anderson, who stated that ‘‘a public hall in a country place was a necessity, and by no means a luxury.
[He believed it] would have the effect of bringing the young people of the district together in friendly community for the betterment of both sexes, as thereby they gained more confidence in each other, and thus became more honourable in their dealings. (Applause).’’
[Waikato Times 17 November 1916, p.4].
The money received from the sale of the 1916 hall was to be put towards ‘‘the maintenance or development of the other existing hall, the Waharoa memorial hall’’.
This hall, standing on the opposite corner of Ward Street and Mowbray Road, opened on January 23, 1954.
Two war memorial plaques that had been erected in the older hall were installed in the new building; one commemorating the new building; one commemorating the four local men who died in World War I and the other listing the 74 district men who served in World War II.
The new hall included Plunket rooms, as well as meeting and social rooms.
Built from brick with a tiled hip roof, this hall has a residential air to it, in contrast to the more civic appearance of the older timber hall.
What both halls may soon have in common is their private ownership status, as the future of the war memorial hall is now uncertain.
Perhaps the Waharoa Hall Committee needs a Give-a-Little page to help raise the funds needed for the building’s maintenance.