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Settlers' Hall History

The history of the Settlers' Hall goes back to 1928. The present large hall was built in 1975 as the population of the Omokoroa peninsula had grown but the original settlers small hall and combined schoolroom dates back to the 1920’s.

The building of the railway line through the district to link Tauranga with Auckland was finished in 1928. This project had brought more workers to the largely dairy farming district and the farmers wanted another school and social meeting place on Omokoroa Beach Road. Fourteen local settlers each provided 10 pounds to fund the building with help from Mann Hardware in Tauranga and Sharplins mill at Whakamarama who provided the timber and building supplies. The local farmers finished building the small hall on land given by the Prole family in 1929. School at the Settlers' Hall circa 1929

This was used as a meeting place and also as the new Omokoroa No 2 School. The Auckland Education Board paid 7/6 per week for the rental as a schoolroom. The school continued in this building until the new Omokoroa Point School was constructed in 1958.

Often on a Friday afternoon the school children would stack up their desks in a corner to get the school room ready for weekend use for many functions such as weddings, meetings and dances.

When the school moved down to the point in 1959 to its brand new buildings the small hall continued to be the social centre for the local families. The CWI, Cubs, Scouts met here as well as teenagers using the table tennis tables and a basketball court.

School at the Settlers' Hall circa 1930

Space for storage became a problem so the committee raised funds and locals provided timber and iron to build a storage room and toilets on to the side of the little hall.

Later the Scouts were given a building from Hamurana Road that the WBOPDC would not approve to use as a bach so it was placed behind down from the back door. Later another garage was donated by Alan Unsworth and was moved to the bottom of the section for storing our cutters and yachts. This was used until the Scouts built a den and storage on the beach reserve.The shed is now used for the children’s toy depot. The scout den was later demolished making way for the Playcentre. The Council gave permission for the Playcentre to convert the Tauranga Resource centre and transport this building to the back of the Hall where it is now.

In 1975 the committee decided they could see the need for a new hall and commenced fund raising. Up to this point the committee members were able to make all building decisions as the Settlers owned the land. They then decided to place the Hall and grounds in WBOPDC reserves ownership as this would allow the committee to apply for Council grants in future. The committee then raised $1,200 and the Council met this with an equal amount. Much free labour was given by the locals.

At the time the Council would not allow a larger Hall even though some of us could see the need. A Church was established, indoor bowling, weddings and concerts were requested.

At the opening of the new hall the Mayor attended and saw many locals were standing in the foyer and outside. He remarked he could see why the committee had requested a larger Hall and now agreed so fund raising began again and the hall was extended allowing for a sanctuary for the church as well as storage and speakers for other club use.

As the use of both halls was needed the committee made the decision to also upgrade the original schoolroom into two rooms, one for storage and cleaning equipment and a kitchen with servery. The large mirror was acquired in lieu of unpayed dancing class rental fees.

Both halls are now fully booked daily by various clubs and Omokoroa has the reputation for the best kept hall in the WBOPDC area. Many thanks go to a dedicated hall committee.

Betty Gane and Jocelyn Hicks
Omokoroa History group