Grand old building reaches milestone

By Tessa Johnstone tessa.johnstone@age.co.nz


This time last year, there was talk of knocking earthquake-prone Martinborough Town Hall down - but this weekend locals will be celebrating its first 100 years.

A small celebration will be held at the Town Hall on Sunday when Mayor Adrienne Staples and Wairarapa MP John Hayes will unveil a commemorative plaque.

Martinborough Town Hall Committee secretary Winifred Bull said despite a community consultation outlining various options on the future of the hall, she never doubted it would get to its centenary.

And she is also undaunted by the task of fundraising about $495,000 for restoration to add to the $850,000 South Wairarapa District Council have committed to earthquake-strengthening.

"If we didn't think we could do it, we wouldn't even start."

Mrs Bull said she has heard of a community project in Northland which took 20 years to raise the funds it needed: "They got there in the end."

She said the committee had given themselves three to five years to raise the money, and with the Martinborough Jazz Festival on board and good community support they thought they would get there.

People can also celebrate at the Martinborough Centenary Cabaret Ball next Saturday night, and are being asked to dress in anything from 1900 to 1999.

The event will also include live music from Noodles, food and wine, and an auction.Cabaret tickets are available at $75 from Leah Hawkins on: martinborough.cabaret@yahoo.co.nz

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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