Reopened RSA destroyed by fire
Every week the South Waikato News delves into its archives to see what was making the news 10, 25 and 50 years ago. This week we found stories on an RSA fire, filming at Kinleith and a hit-and-run accident.
10 years ago RSA gutted by fire
March 7, 2001 The Tokoroa RSA was gutted by fire in the early hours of yesterday morning, just one year after reopening its doors as a commercial operation.
It took fire crews on eight fire appliances from Tokoroa, Putaruru, and Rotorua 11⁄ hours to tackle the blaze, which broke out at 2.20am.
Tokoroa deputy chief fire officer Dave Morris estimated that 70 per cent of the building was destroyed in the fire, and irreplaceable memorabilia had been lost. ‘‘ You could see a big glow in the sky. It broke through the roof.’’
The fire started on the first floor of the RSA, which contained offices and a kitchen and restaurant, and suffered the most extensive damage.
Downstairs, the bar area was gutted, while photographs of soldiers were left half hanging off the walls.
Rotorua fire safety officer Stuart Bootten said he would be treating the fire as suspicious until he could prove otherwise but was yet to establish a cause. He said had a sprinkler system been installed in the building it would have prevented most of the damage.
25 years ago Mill life on film February 4, 1986 A video on the history of the New Zealand forest industry is being produced by NZ Forest Products Limited.
The film has been com- missioned as part of the company’s 50-year jubilee celebration and includes filming on the Kinleith site.
Titled Forest Gold, it is a three-part dramatised documentary put together as an educational resource for New Zealand schools.
Its storyline revolves around a retired bushman, Clarrie Martin played by Derek Hardwick, his grandson Jason played by Hamish McCracken and his son, NZFP employee, played by Alan Snoad. All three actors are from Auckland.
The video looks at the history of the forest industry, the forest industry today and the forest industry in the future.
The programme has been produced in consultation with the Education Department and is aimed at forms one to four.
The video was produced and directed by Tim Mowbray of the Mass Communications Company Limited of Auckland.
50 years ago Youth frightened by police – is claim in court
March 2, 1961 An allegation that when giving a statement to the Tokoroa Police concerning a hit-and-run accident he had been frightened by a threat of being held in custody and that part of the statement was incorrect, was made by Robin Hillary Gregory, 18 years, mill worker, of Tokoroa, when he appeared at the Putaruru Magistrate’s Court.
Gregory (Mr M.L. Morgan) denied charges of driving at a speed which may have been dangerous, of failing to report an accident in which a person was injured, of failing to stop, of failing to ascertain if anyone was injured and of failing to render assistance.
The accident concerned occurred at Dalmeny Road, Tokoroa, on January 5, when a child, Robert Burns, was injured. Giving evidence for the prosecution, L.B Wynd, of Tokoroa, said that he witnessed the accident.
When he was walking on Dalmeny Road, a car driven by Gregory passed him.
It was travelling at about 40 miles an hour.
Some children were playing on the footpath and one of them went to run across the road. The car was then 50 yards from the child.
The driver made no attempt to avoid the child and the child was hit by the mudguard on the driver’s side and knocked down.
The witness said he picked up the child. The car disappeared but returned five or ten minutes later.
GUTTED: The Tokoroa RSA was severely damaged by a blaze in March 2001.