Kia Ora Hall thrives

THE once-endangered Kia Ora Hall is today a thriving meeting place for the local community.

Those who attended a meeting in 2011 at the Kia Ora School were informed that due to a lack of interest by residents and the deteriorating condition of the local hall the Gympie Regional Council was considering restoration options.

The Kia Ora Hall was built in 1948 and dedicated to those who served in the Second World War. It was the focal point of community activity in Kia Ora for many years. Much of the original material in the old hall had been milled locally. In an effort to save the old landmark, and to have a hand in the restoration, a committee was elected and charged with approaching the GRC with their own renovation plans.

Subsequent committees have since implemented the action plan and procured a number of grants to fund the renovations which have included an upgrade of the toilet facilities, a ramp for the disabled and a new shed and additional car parking. The hall was recently painted, inside and out, had the locks upgraded to make the premises more secure and the committee is now seeking a grant for improved equipment inside the hall.

Committee president Sandra Hamilton says her committee owes a debt of gratitude to all the donations from members and friends involved with the project. The hall plays host to numerous events throughout the year including the Artisans' Bazaar; a market that showcases local handicrafts, produce and artworks.

"We'd like to make our Artisans' Bazaar events really big if we can," Ms Hamilton said.

"It asks if they can 'make - grow - bake or create' and are interested in growing and promoting their talents, please come to our bazaar."

Ms Hamilton said the committee meets seasonally to plan, and each event has a theme.

"All patrons are asked to contribute in the way that we run this function; their ideas and help with this being an enduring event is encouraged."

She said the next Artisans' Bazaar'stheme was spring, on September 19.

"People coming to this event will be amazed at the friendliness and warmth of our rural community," she said.

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