RSA still looking for a new home
The Taupo¯ RSA is alive and kicking, and still looking for a new home.
Richard Cairns of the RSA Board of Management says although the RSA ceased its bar, restaurant and gaming last week, it is continuing with its primary function of delivering welfare for returned and served personnel. Its office is open daily and the telephone numbers and email address remain the same.
However the RSA’s clubrooms had closed for the foreseeable future because despite best endeavours to turn it into a profitable operation, it was still trading at a loss and that could not continue, he said.
“The restaurant was in the black but overall we were still in a trading deficit month on month and we [the Board of Management] were no longer willing to accept help from the RSA Trust.”
The RSA is split into two entities, Taupo¯ RSA Trust which owns the RSA land and buildings in Horomatangi St, and Taupo¯ RSA Inc which leases the building from the Trust and operates the RSA. Its affairs are managed by a twoperson Board of Management.
Five staff lost their jobs when the RSA Inc stopped trading but they had been given a month’s paid notice and because bar and restaurant staff were in demand Mr Cairns said the board was relieved the staff should find new jobs without much difficulty.
The building was sold months ago and settlement is due in December. The clubrooms chattels will also be sold.
Mr Cairns said the RSA Board of Management was still searching for a new location for its clubrooms and was keen to colocate with another club if possible. Earlier this year it tried, but failed, to strike a co-location deal with the Taupo¯ Bowls Club and more recently it was approached by the Taupo¯ Golf Club but the proposal did not go any further.
He said evidence showed standalone trading clubs struggled to survive, so it was keen to colocate, preferably in a place that also attracted passing trade. With options for the cultural precinct project on the Tongariro Domain currently being considered, it was refocusing its attention to the Tongariro Domain.
The RSA is keen on a clubs hub, where two or more clubs operate out of a shared premises, as has already been successfully done in Marlborough and Hastings and Mr Cairns said the RSA would like to see a clubs hub included in the cultural precinct plans. The RSA Trust is asset-rich and would be able to invest significant money into a shared building to make it suitable for hospitality, he said. It would also keep its presence in a shared building low-key.
In the meantime, the RSA was looking to attract the next generation of returned and service members — those who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor — and would continue to provide a social environment for its members, perhaps by hiring a venue for a regular social evening.
Mr Cairns said while the decision to stop trading was disappointing it was not the end for the club.