Fu­ture of me­mo­rial hall un­cer­tain

Matamata Chronicle - - Conversations - ANN MCEWAN

‘‘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.

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