Omiha Memorial Hall

Omiha Memorial Hall Omiha Memorial Hall Omiha Memorial Hall

The Omiha Memorial Hall was originally built by the Omiha Welfare and Recreation Society in or around 1950. The exact date is uncertain, but correspondence between the society and the Department of Internal Affairs shows that, by 1947, the society was not only looking for a recreation hut to serve as its clubrooms but had also had also formulated plans to build a ‘Victory Hall’ in memory of the sons of members who did not return from the war.  By December 1949 it had raised £400 for the purpose, and applied for a war memorial subsidy. The application was unsuccessful. In early 1950 the society drew up plans for additions to its clubrooms and re-applied, later clarifying that it intended to call the completed building the Omiha Memorial Hall and to install a roll of honour; however, a partial subsidy of £100 was not finally approved until May 1955.

The lack of funds evidently meant that the society erected a more modest building than had first been proposed. Some years later the original plans were rediscovered. The hall was then redeveloped with the frontage as originally planned. It was formally reopened and rededicated on 23 October 2004.

The roll of honour inside is a wooden shield which lists the names of Francis Trevor Laughlin O’Brien (First World War) and Richard Dawson Seller, John Stroude Withers, Maurice Stroude Withers, Robert Riddell, A.W.F. Washbourne and Percy David Patterson (Second World War). There is a memorial flagpole slightly down the road from the hall.

See: ‘War memorial – community centre- Rocky Bay – Waiheke’ (R1232175)’, Archives New Zealand, [n.d]; cf. ‘Timely move answers island riddle’, NZ Herald, 23/10/1998, A9;  ‘An old soldier remembered’, Gulf News, 12/6/2003, p. 27; cf. ‘Reopening the Bay’s deco hall’, Gulf News, 21/10/2004, p. 19; cf. plaque on hall exterior unveiled on 23 October 2004.

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