by Norma de Langen
The year 2022 was the year the wider Oakura community saw a great deal of progress made on a number of community projects. However, none more so than on the long overdue makeover of our much loved Oakura Bay Community Hall.
In the early stages, Chrissy Henderson and Colleen Ferguson proved extremely adept at writing grant applications, successfully receiving much needed funds from both the Lotteries Commission and Whangarei District Council, for which we are extremely grateful. Along with these funds, a hugely successful community fundraiser instigated by the Oakura Hall & Reserves Board to ‘Buy a Window’ proved to be an absolute winner. Not only did the local community get in behind this initiative, the Committee was also the recipient of two very generous donations from donors in the United States and Australia.
Work on the hall began in earnest in April/May of 2022 and was completed by the end of October. Managed and led by Committee Chairman, Glenn Ferguson, the hall and the adjoining Medical Centre were reclad, prepped and painted, the old windows replaced and a ramp built to provide access for all ages and abilities. Glenn was ably assisted by fellow builder John Fitt, Malcolm Devereux, Clint Shields, Marty James, Guy Fuller, Guy Mawson and local electrician, Gareth Preston. Dempster & Hill Electrical also assisted with mains power issues. We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude for providing many hours of labour as well as their professional expertise. We also give thanks to local store owner, Nena Rogers for generously providing scaffolding and Travis for assisting. Simply put, we would not have a ‘new look’ hall if it were not for the combined efforts of these people in particular.
We also give thanks to any, and all other community members who were able to assist. A special mention must go to the team of ladies who provided baking to keep spirits high and stomachs full.
Although the final outcome looks amazing, it wasn’t always plain sailing for Glenn, John and the rest of the team. Numerous stop/starts occurred due to a long, wet winter, along with unavoidable hold-ups obtaining materials, the result of the Covid-19 restrictions that plagued 2021 and well into 2022. However, in due course, the exterior of the building was completed and the hall and Medical Centre are now looking very stylish indeed.
Following on from the outside work, 2023 will be the year the inside gets a makeover. Planning is well underway for work to be done on the floor, walls and kitchen. Already, heat pumps generously provided by Foundation North, have been installed and are now operational.
Once again, our heartfelt thanks to all that assisted, funded and supported the makeover of our community hall.