Seventy five years ago the school was the only public building in the district and for years it served as both school and hall, as most public meetings were held there. However, larger meetings, such as political meetings, dances etc., were mostly held in a woolshed a short distance down Kaiaua Rd., owned by Mr. John Cummings senior.
This later became a bit small to accommodate the gatherings and the first Hall was erected in Mangatangi in 1940. This money was raised by debentures, about £400, to buy timber and iron etc. The labour was voluntary. Later most of the debentures were forfeited, the district then having a small hall but free of debt.
This hall served the district for about 20 years when it became plain that a larger and more up to date building was necessary.
How to pay for it was the next question. The people of the district were prepared for the Franklin County Council to raise a loan of £6000 to be repaid in ten years out of special Rates on the property owners. However when tenders were called the lowest was £9000. With only £6000 we were unable to accept the tender.
After several meetings it was decided to go ahead, engage a builder and with voluntary labour to help him build the Hall.
The local people, 51 of them, many past pupils of the Mangatangi School, put in 4000 hours of free labour. The present building which includes a Church Sanctuary, a Plunket Room and a Library is a credit to any district, which when completed was valued at £12,000.(nb1). This will show what can be done when the people of the district pull together and get cracking. (Today, the original hall is the supper room.)
August 2003. The Hall has been well maintained over the years by the Committee - painted inside and out, the floor re-done and new stage curtains.
1. Multiply by 90 for 2015 dollars.
Frank Shuker c1980