Beside a 3m-tall poppy, the region's largest club officially opened its new clubrooms in Hastings yesterday.

Clubs Hastings, an amalgamation of Hastings RSA, Heretaunga and Hibernian Clubs, is on the site of the former Heretaunga Club and has more than 4000 members.

Club chairman Trevor Hardie said former Clubs Hastings CEO Neil Murphy had worked tirelessly to complete the project "25 hours a day, eight days a week".

Mr Murphy has voluntarily stepped down from his CEO role, replaced by the club's former administrator Jackie Wells.


Mr Hardie read a message from Veteran Affairs Minister and Tukituki MP Craig Foss, who was overseas.

"The most successful clubs acknowledge changing times and the need to adapt, as you have done here, to ensure not only survival but growth," he said.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said cutting the ribbon to the $8 million project was "an exciting moment".

"I congratulate all of you, who have had the courage, the vision and the foresight to make this happen," he said.

"You have used the commercial acumen of selling what was the RSA/Hibernian Club and using the existing site of the Heretaunga Club, leaving the Bowls Heretaunga right next door. That is a really good outcome."

Mr Murphy said the new building was "just bricks and mortar" and the club was in great heart. "The real strength of the club is the character of the people," he said.

Hastings RSA had amalgamated with the asset-rich but income-poor Hibernian Club when it accepted a $3.3 million offer for its Avenue Rd West site from its Countdown supermarket neighbour in 2014, which is to finalise expansion plans.

After the ribbon-cutting and a challenge by Te Aute College students, club members were piped into their new building and observed the RSA's signature Act of Remembrance for fallen soldiers, before officially opening the Victoria Cross room, which honours recipients.

Thirty-year RSA veteran Ron Clare said that to ensure an ongoing appreciation of the RSA's principles and beliefs, "we must accept change".

New Zealand Army representative at the opening and Hastings councillor John Roil said the clubrooms included a side bar with a lower dress code, to cater for tradesmen after work.

"I know there is more business done over a beer and a cup of tea than in formal meetings," he said.

Sixty-year Heretaunga Club veteran Bill McGavock said there were a few new faces as the three club members came together.