History of the Kuaotunu Hall

Officially known as the Kuaotunu Centennial Memorial Hall, the Kuaotunu Hall has a Category 2 listing with the NZ Historic Places Trust

A Long and Proud History

The hall building was built circa 1896/1897 as an addition to the Kuaotunu School, for use as the infants' room. 

The school had peaked at 136 pupils in 1897, but as a result of the gold mining activity in the area drying up, its roll had dwindled to only a few pupils by the end of the 1930's.

On the 28th of February 1939 a public meeting was held in Kuaotunu to discuss how to celebrate the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1940. 

A Kuaotunu Centenary Celebrations Committee was formed, and with the district's share of the funds awarded for centennial celebrations (the princely sum of £10), it was decided that the memorial should be "a social hall incorporating a library".

Acquiring the Kuaotunu School Hall

The Centenary Committee quickly identified that the infants' room of the Kuaotunu School was no longer being used and would make a perfect hall.

The Auckland Education Board subsequently approved the shifting of this room to its present site in the Kuaotunu village for use as a hall.

The shifting of the hall to its new location was a huge community undertaking, and was achieved by transporting sections of the building at a time, using Mr R. A. Simpson's horses and dray.

The building was then re-assembled by Mr Walter Turner with the assistance of many other residents.

Alterations and Improvements

During the years there have been many improvements and alterations to the hall. Major alterations in the early years of its life in its present location included the removal of a lean-to extension on the south side of the building, and the addition of a ramp and balustrading to the entrance steps.

In 2013 a major restoration project was embarked on, starting with the upgrade of the kitchen and toilets, following which major landscaping was undertaken to develop a useable outside area.

The most recent project (in 2017) has been the replacement of the kauri floor and the upgrading of the ramp to meet health & safety requirements. A recladding project will shortly take place to replace the original corrugated iron cladding on the south and east side of the hall with the same wooden cladding as on the rest of the building.

Display of Historic Artefacts

The Kuaotunu Hall is privileged to display the following historic artefacts on behalf of the community:

WW1 Roll of Honour

The 62 names inscribed on the the WW1 Roll of Honour housed in the Kuaotunu Hall are those of the men and women from the local Kuaotunu community who served in the Great War of 1914-1918, many of whom lost their lives in active service.  

Over time this valuable historic document had become severely degraded, and in 2013 the Kuaotunu community raised its concerns about the state of the banner with the Hall Committee.

The Hall Committee subsequently commenced a restoration project, which involved the upgrading, insulating and waterproofing of the wall on which the Roll of Honour hangs, to ensure its future preservation in a dry environment.

The Roll itself was then expertly restored by a paper conservator from the Auckland Art Gallery. The Roll's oak frame was also restored at the same time.

The Hall Committee would like to acknowledge the generous financial support from the local community and the Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee of the Lottery Grants Board which enabled this project to be undertaken.

Kuaotunu Football Club Banner

The Kuaotunu Football Club banner is another historic artefact that the Kuaotunu community was anxious to preserve for future generations.

Dating from 1891, it was one of the first items in New Zealand to show the silver fern on a black background. 

It's original frame could not be saved, but in 2015 the banner itself was carefully restored by a specialist Art Conservator and now hangs proudly in the hall, in a new frame.

The Hall Committee would like to acknowledge the generous financial support from the local community and the Mercury Bay Community Board which enabled this project to be undertaken.

 

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