New Zealand, D9930

The Taradale Town Hall

In 1968 when the Taradale Borough Council amalgamated with Napier City, the City Council took responsibility for the running of the local town hall. However, in 1982, the Council approached the Taradale Rotary Club with the proposition that the Club take over the administration of the building and, if possible, run it at a profit and so benefit the club's funds. This proposition was agreed to on a trial basis, and in April 1983, Arthur Stafford became the supervisor of the Town Hall. These duties are now provided by a custodian.

After years of negotiation the Club obtained a formal lease in 1991. The objective of the Town Hall committee is to see the use of the hall increased, and at the same time to improve the facilities for the benefit of the local community. To this end the committee has succeeded in increasing patronage, and the club, with the assistance of the City Council, has greatly improved facilities. Extensive remodelling and refurbishing of the lower hall were completed by July 1992. The upper lounge was extensively refurbished in early 1996.

Hiring the Hall

  • An attractive assembly hall available for use by the local and wider Hawkes Bay community.

  • The Rotary Club management ended 30 June 2020 with Council requirements now uneconomic for Rotary to continue.

  • The Hall is now managed by the Napier City Council

    1. For bookings please ring  +64 6 836 5607 or

    2. email

The Hall in use

Early History of the Taradale Town Hall 1906 - 1959
The following extract is taken from "Taradale: The Story of a Village 1844-2000" by Janet Gordon and Shirley Spence.

"A loan of 3000 was raised to build the Town Hall in January of 1911. The site had been purchased in 1906 for 100. The hall was completed later in 1911 although there was some delay in furnishing the building as the material for the seats fell into the Wellington Harbour while being unloaded. The building consisted of a public hall seating 600, a supper room to accommodate 70 guests, a public reading room, public library and librarian's residence, the Town Clerk's office and Town Board Chambers.

The Taradale Town Hall prior to the 1931 earthquake

The picture above shows the Town Hall c1912 looking up along Puketapu Rd, the Dolbel Reserve in the background.

See the same scene at the bottom of the page.

It is interesting to note that the interest and charges of 157.10s was still being paid when the new hall was opened after the earthquake. A contract was made with Haywards in 1912 to show the first moving pictures in the Town Hall to the delight of the population."

The decimated Town Hall 1931

The earthquake which struck Hawke's Bay on the 3rd of February 1931, decimated the Town Hall. However the Town Board raised a 2500 loan for the rebuilding of the Hall.

The re-opening was held over 3 days starting on the 27th July 1932 when the new hall, built in the new Art Deco style, was officially opened by W. E. Barnard M.P. and concluded on the Friday with a grand ball.

The History of the Club's involvement with the Town Hall, 1959- 1976
  • 1959 The Club holds it Charter meeting in the Old Town Hall and start a history of weekly meetings conducted in the smaller upstairs meeting room.

  • 1969 Members investigate alternative meeting rooms to the Town Hall as there are problems with the existing room which is becoming too small as the Club numbers expand. Reports of alternatives show they too have problems.

  • 1971 Club still looking at alternative meeting room. The first mention of upgrading the Town Hall as a community facility is made. St Johns and the new Golf Club rooms suggested as possibilities. New golf club dinning room available but costs higher. Ron Munro and Wyn Geenty reported favourably on a meeting with St Johns saying St Johns had been offered land on Lee Road and they propose to build there with offers of assistance from the Club and other sources. The Club make $1000 (interest free) loan available.

The RSA Hall for the Charter meeting in 1959.

  • 1972 $2000 handed to St Johns for their new hall. Club expected to use facilities for future meetings.

  • 1973 Concern expressed re St John's hall plans being relocated beside garage (current site).

  • 1974 Club tries Anglican Hall as alternate venue; facilities inadequate. Concerns grow about the St Johns Hall progress.

  • 1975 Initially Club pursue St John's Hall as it was reported that progress was being made on their hall and it would be finished before Xmas. Members visited the building but while it has more room, car parking was seen as a problem.

A meeting of the Club in 1975, presided over by Ned Holt. The meeting is held in the old Town Hall before it was renovated to its present state.

Jim Dine is shown introducing Ken Jobson for induction, watched by Peter Simons and Arthur Stafford. Sister Marian Richardson watches on.

Upgrading of the Upper Lounge 1977

  • The Club now gave thought to extending the Town Hall Lounge by removing the hall stage and moving the wall back. An approach was made to Council who were sympathetic and asked for a costing. After the Auction, $2500 was set aside in a Town hall fund.

  • 1976 Hall changes to go ahead. Original budget for the Club contribution set at $15,000. Ben Edginton and Mark Ward appointed to liaise with Council.

  • 1977 During the alterations, the Club used the Anglican Hall from the start of 1977


    • Alterations costs put at $67,000. Ray Turner made a donation of $10,000.

    • Fund-raising to pay the costs set in place. Club moved out in January 1977 to allow renovations to start.

    • Ben Edginton runs a 250 Club which raises $4,535 for the Town Hall Fund. Club invested $7000 at 12% to help pay Hall costs.

    • A telephone appeal was organised and other local service clubs assisted. $4500 was raised this way.

    • Members decide to retain the name of Taradale Town Hall rather than "Community Hall".

    • New caterers started when the Town Hall reopened. The era of Mrs Gail Wells and Mrs Shirley Lake started.

The Upgrading of the Town Hall. 1979 -1995

These extracts are taken from "Taradale: The Story of a Village 1844-2000" by Janet Gordon and Shirley Spence.

The Town Hall as a movie theatre c 1940

"As early as 1982 the Rotary Club of Taradale had taken over the management of the Town Hall under an informal contract with the Napier City Council. It was rumoured that the Council was contemplating demolishing the hall and making the area into a parking lot. The club decided that Taradale should not lose its hall and by 1987 auction funds began to be put aside for the refurbishment of the lower hall.


Interior of Lower Hall before renovations

"Slow and protracted negotiations resulted in a formal lease being signed with the Napier City Council in 1990 and thereafter rapid action followed. It was decided to use the Art Deco theme throughout and Paris Magdalinos was engaged as architect.


"The project, Taradale Rotary's biggest ever, was funded by a contribution from Council of $83.200, a grant from Lotteries Board of $66.000, Rotary Club of Taradale raised $58.000 and, together with interest, the sale of materials and GST refunds, the total came to $230,000. When all was completed the Council decided to waterblast the roof. Rust and water seeped through onto (he new ceiling which had to be repaired and a new roof to the hall was urgently added!

Sir Edmund Hillary addresses the Club 17th May 1990 prior to renovations

"The upper hall. known as the Rotary Lounge was redecorated by the club in the Art Deco style to complement the lower hall in 1995. These two halls provide a valuable asset to the community and are in much demand. The Rotary Club of Taradale has good reason to be proud of its service to the Taradale community."


The extracts below are from an article Rotarian Doug Rees wrote for "Rotary Down Under" Dec 1993.

"What is needed to transform a drab, barn-like, 60-year-old town hall into a handsome, modern community centre?


"Three things in some inspired planning, much hard work and a financial outlay not too far short of $NZ250,000.


"Those were the ingredients the Rotary Club of Taradale had to weave into the most challenging and ambitious project of its 33-year existence.

"In 1987, when refurbishment of the lower, down-at-heel main hall was first canvassed by then club President Brian Neilson, the club tentatively began to set aside funds from its annual public auction and market day. Also essential to the plan, it was felt, was a formal lease of the building in place of the existing informal contract. A little deft arm-twisting by PP Kevyn Moore brought council agreement last year.

"That in turn paved the way for the engaging of a leading architect, Paris Magdalinos, who produced eye-pleasing plans in a restrained version of the Art Deco mode for which Napier has become widely known. The estimate of the cost was $NZ200.000.

"And so to finding the cash. An approach to the Lotteries Board brought a most acceptable grant of $59,000. The City Council, perhaps sensing a bargain deal, agreed to subsidise dollar-for-dollar the club's input. That saw each contributing $NZ72,000.


"From there, with then-President Bob Knappstein at the helm. it was all go. In April 1992,  the stripping of the hall interior and rapid-fire replacement program began. With the Club's three building contractors. Ben Edginton, Clive Adams (now club president) and Past President Ian Kcpka, heading the operation and another club member, Ron Schofield, as job supervisor, the bulk of the undertaking was completed in three months. In that time the wall frames were buttressed and insulated to eliminate street noise, a lowered, hanging ceiling installed, a split-level floor laid (with the raised area carpeted and the rest fashioned into a dance floor), kitchen amenities extended, ceiling and walls festooned with attractive lighting, and the entire interior enveloped in a tasteful colour scheme.


"Responsible for auxiliary phases of the work were club members Ted Skudder, John Aikman, Trevor Kilpatrick and Dave Nichol.

"As is inevitable in a project of this scope allowance has to be made for the ongoing incorporation of added features. The roof has been replaced, some furnishings will be needed, and a gas-fired healing system is to be installed. Exterior painting, again In the Art Deco styling, will afford the final touch. All this will ultimately lift the full cost to around $NZ240,000.


"The Taradale Club in the meantime has launched itself into raising the balance of its share of the cost.  But what has been achieved is a credit to the club project committee that has steered the project to such an elegant outcome."

Ben discusses progress with Paris Magdalinos and President Bob Knappstein

The Project Committee.

L to R: Kevyn Moore, Trevor Kilpatrick, Clive Adams, DG Peter Parr, Ben Edginton, John Campbell, Norm Lee, Ian Kepka

Left: The Hall as Paris Magdalinos envisaged it.


Right: The Hall as Ben, Clive and Ian completed it.

Upgrading the Rotary Lounge. 1996

  • The Club first put aside funds ($6315) to upgrade the Rotary Lounge in 1994.

  • Club seeks funds for an Upper Hall upgrade. Estimated to cost $30,000. Application to the Lotteries Board and NCC to assist with funding. Later estimates put at $46,000. Work proceeded and the Upper Hall was officially opened on 11th April 1996 with  the Mayor and Councillors as guests.

  • The estimated cost was $30,000. Application to the Lotteries Board and NCC to assist with funding. Later estimates put at $46,000. Work proceeded and the Upper Hall was officially opened on 11th April 1996 with  the Mayor, Alan Dick, and Councillors as guests.

  • Much of the work was done by Clive Adams, who is shown in in the "Daily Telegraph" photo with President Nevin Dawson. Clive stated the "renovations have been done with an art deco theme and have transformed a drab and dreary place."

  • That "drab and dreary" place was the upgraded lounge of 1977. It is well recorded in the photo below of Pres. Brian Neilson is serious discussions with the late P.P. Ken Jobson. Note the display case of members badges of those who have "died in service." The case is no longer on display!

  • The Bar/Kitchen and Hallway were repainted at the cost of $400. Blinds and curtains added to the Upper Lounge.

Clive Adams and President Nevin Dawson


Rob Duckworth and Kevyn Moore

Trivial Pursuits, Nov 1988

Club meeting 2005 in renovated Rotary Lounge

Ken Jobson (VP) and Brain Neilson (President) 1989

And Finally...

Today, the Taradale Town Hall is a highly visible building at the Lee Road intersection. It is popular local facility, and a monument to the Clubs' service to its local community.