Huntly community bands together to re-open hall

26 June 2019

Who says young people don’t use community halls anymore?

Huntly War Memorial Hall will be re-opening at the end of this month and the first booking is for an 18th birthday party.

A re-dedication ceremony for the hall will be held on Sunday June 30, which will see its doors open for public use for the first time since it was closed by Waikato District Council in 2015.

The celebration will mark a major milestone for the community project group which was set up last year, when Council released $140,000 of funding to allow initial refurbishment work to bring the hall to a usable state.

The project group, which includes Des Maskell, Tony Perkins, Graham Gunn, Sandra Stewart and Councillor Frank McInally, has been working with local qualified tradespeople and volunteers to get the work done.

“There’s been so much good will poured into this project from the local community,” said Ms Stewart.

“And we’re extremely pleased our first booking is an 18th. Our second is actually a 5th birthday so this is a perfect start. We’ve also had a lot of inquiry from schools.

“We want the local community to use this hall as much as possible, and to get the youngsters in early on is fantastic.”

Mr Maskell said the amount of work that has been put in by locals over the past few months has been phenomenal, which has been hugely appreciated by the project group.

“We’ve also had a lot of materials donated or supplied at cost. We’ve used our own people and local tradies have worked at reduced rates,” he said.

“A big thank-you also goes to our Busy Bees, which include local school children and parents and people from various organisations.  

“The Department of Corrections have also been absolutely awesome and the Friendship House has given us a great deal of support.  

“All of these people have pledged their continuous support to bring this building back to its former glory.”

When the council made the decision to close the hall it did not go down well with the local community and it’s fair to say there has been a bit of tension and frustration in the air in getting to this point.

“I will say though that the council staff who have worked with us over the past year have restored our faith in Council to a great degree, said Mr Perkins.

“In the end this is all about community, and we want to help our council.”

Council’s Community Projects Manager Paul MacPherson is happy that the hall can be used by the community again and thanked all the members of the Huntly community for their hard work.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to the project group, they’ve done a great job so far and we look forward to working with them and others to ensure this hall is used to its full potential,” he said.

The re-dedication service will be held at 1pm on 30 June.

If you would like to book the Huntly War Memorial Hall contact Sandra Stewart at huntlywarmemorialhall@gmail.com or go to the Huntly War Memorial Hall Facebook page.