By SHELLEY TOPP
Peter Midgley did not hold back in his praise for the new Pines and Kairaki Beaches Community Hall during the opening ceremony last Saturday.
“I truly believe this hall and functions centre is the best in New Zealand and we should be so proud of it,” the Pines and Kairaki Beaches Association president said.
“This is a great day. We have all come along to see history being made,” he told the large crowd gathered in the Pines Oval for the official opening.
The project took seven years to complete and replaces the old Pines Hall, damaged in the September 4, 2010, earthquake.
“It has been a long, hard struggle, but I am pretty proud of what we have achieved.”
Community events had changed and were no longer Saturday-night dances in an enclosed hall, he said. “We do more outdoor events now. So the new hall reflects that and opens to the oval, with a stage that plays to the inside and outside, as well as a large deck area.”
The new hall was designed by Kairaki Beach resident Tim Stephenson, an association committee member, who was also project manager for the building.
The project was hampered eight months ago when he was seriously injured in a jet-ski accident. During his speech, he thanked the community for its support during his recovery.
“This is a very special community where everybody treats everyone the same. It is a very strong community and one that I am very proud to be part of.”
The damage from the earthquake and subsequent red-zoning of land had made the last seven years hard on the community, he said. However, the new hall was an example of what a strong, small community could achieve.
He is hoping it will provide a popular focus for events. The hall has facilities for community events, weddings, family functions, indoor and outdoor concerts, plus indoor and outdoor films, providing an ideal set-up for public viewing of big-match rugby games or other high-profile televised sporting events. There are also two kitchens, one of them a full commercial setup available for hire.
The building was constructed with a Fraemohs kitset made to Mr Stephenson’s design. Fraemohs was chosen because the committee wanted a robust earthquake-proof construction, but also because the company’s buildings are made with pine.
Celebrations included a standout performance by the Kaiapoi High School Kapa Haka group.