Lending a Hand for Hadfield Hall

Otaki Anglican Parish vicar Ian Campbell and property manager Ralph Richardson outside Hadfield Hall. The parish and community hall is looking a bit tired and in need of urgent refurbishment
Otaki Anglican Parish vicar Ian Campbell and property manager Ralph Richardson outside Hadfield Hall. The parish and community hall is looking a bit tired and in need of urgent refurbishment

Hadfield Hall, part of the Otaki Anglican Parish, has served the parish and the town for 62 years; she’s now feeling and looking her age, and is in need of some major refurbishment.

Built in 1953 the main hall, with parish office, lounge, Sunday school rooms, kitchen and toilets have not had over-much attention over the years. The lower roof is rusty and leaks in several places – voters entering the hall on Election Day 2014 got a cold “shower” as they entered the hall through the main doors! The toilets need upgrading to meet standards of today – the gents still has its old concrete urinal and the roof above the ladies toilets leaks as well. A disability accessible toilet is also required.
The heating system is overdue for an upgrade. Those who have attended functions in the hall on a cold winter’s day know well how cold it can get. Once when trying to heat it prior to a funeral a few years ago, the power drawdown blew the main circuit on the pole at the corner of Te Rauparaha Street and Main Street!

The vestry (church council) have received estimates of the essential work needed: roofing (just the lower roof) $25,000, toilets $20,000 and for heating the main hall the most efficient replacement is new radiant heaters at up to $15,000 which includes the need to replace the 62 year old power board.

And like many organisation lack of funds has meant that refurbishment has been delayed too long.

To the left of All Saints' Church is the Parish Hall which had been built in Iti Street ( no 12) in 1904, as a Church Room for Sunday School and socials. In 1914 the buiilding was transferred to Te Rauparaha Street to be used as a church. The building was demolished in 1962 to make way for the building of Hadfield Hall.
To the left of All Saints’ Church is the Parish Hall which had been built in Iti Street ( no 12) in 1904, as a Church Room for Sunday School and socials. In 1914 the buiilding was transferred to Te Rauparaha Street to be used as a church. The building was demolished in 1962 to make way for the building of Hadfield Hall.

This hall has been a major asset to the wider Otaki community, not just for parish use and events. Among other users over the years have been dance schools, public dances and youth discos, schools and the Maori community use it for kapa haka practices and somewhere for PE (physical education) on wet days. It provides polling booths for both central government and local body elections – it was the one of the few buildings with wheelchair access. The local Spinners and Weavers group has used the McWilliam Room lounge for over 40 years and the Let’s Sing group has sung there for almost four years. Last September over 150 joined in a hangi tea, following the Kapiti hikoi celebrating almost 200 years since the arrival of the gospel (bible) to Kapiti and earlier this year it was used as the base for a three day film workshop for the schools, prior to the Maoriland Film Festival as well as screening some of the films shown. A children’s afterschool care and holiday programme operates from the hall five days a week and through all school holidays.

The parish has regular activities in the hall with the weekly mainly music sessions and monthly family service, the parish fair, midwinter parish get-togethers. In July 90 parishioners joined together for lunch with the Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth and his wife, when they visited the parish. Fundraisers including the jazz concerts have been held there and the Eeze Meals sales and distribution is due to restart with a new supplier. The hall is used for weddings and funerals, often for really big funerals there is a video link from the church used, then the seating is hastily removed and tables set out for lunches or afternoon teas.

The building of Hadfield Hall began early in 1953 and once the frame work was up the foundation stone was laid by then Bishop of Wellington, Bishop Henry Norman Baines. With local builders and many, many volunteers, both parishioners and people from the community, the hall was completed in May. Thanks to the “hundreds” of hours of voluntary work given, the projected was completed for 4000 pounds.

During his official opening speech, Bishop Baines told the gathered community “…. cooperation between professionals and amateurs, Maori and Pakeha, men and women, old and young, together. That is something to be very thankful for.”

The hardest part now is to raise the $60,000 or so needed to repair and upgrade this community asset to make it, once again, a user friendly premise.

Many of the parishioners are now too old to for the physical work –the oldest two are 98 and 95 years, so the vestry will be looking for community support with both muscle power and funds. The vestry will be applying to various organisations for funding assistance. Parishioners have begun a hall fund with proceeds from various functions going into the “pot”.

Margaret Andrews