A "significant new chapter" in the history of Tairua's Surf Club is unfolding with the demolition of the old clubhouse to be replaced with a brand new building.
Tairua Surf Lifesaving Club was among recipients in 2020 of the Government's "shovel-ready" funding pool announced that year.
A combined $1.7 million was tagged for surf club upgrades in the region. With the consenting process faced for the replacement of the club on beachfront council land, it has taken until now for the project to get across the line.
A barbecue is being hosted on Saturday at which the people who originally founded the club, including Tairua surfer Barry MacCulloch, are among those planning to be there.
He met with members of the Tairua Surf Lifesaving Club and was able to fill in the history of the early years, including highlighting the importance of some historic treasures such as an original surf rescue board built by Whangamatā shaper Paul Shanks.
"The old building was a bach from around the Pepe that we bought for $4000," says Barry. "It came with everything including knives, forks and spoons in the drawers."
The club and the local boardriders are working together treasure-hunting for memorabilia from those early days. Some of this is historically and sentimentally important to the founders of the original club, who were the local boardriders, Barry says.
Work was done on the building and surfers built a deck off the front, a well-worn deck that has stood the test of time and is going to stay when the new building arrives.
The new build will remain single storey and on the same footprint but includes areas for guards to be out of site and off the deck when not on duty.
Tairua SLSC President Tony Cheetham said the old building contained asbestos, and the project has involved several hurdles for the SLSC to overcome.
While it was a quick and easy task to put the surf club there in 1982, replacement of the old club has involved many hurdles.
A Thames-Coromandel District Council coastal erosion specialist has helped and this knowledge is dictating what can and can't be done.
"The main thing is we got there," says Tony.
He hoped the new building would be embraced by more locals including local boardriders, several of whom still live in the town and whose grandkids and children now attend surf club.
"In the past it may have been seen as a bach owner's surf club. The new club is a great opportunity to push forward and increase local involvement," says Tony.
"It's a significant new chapter. The committee is made up of people who live elsewhere and have holiday homes, where really it would be nice to see the bulk of the committee being local in the long run. You want it as a community facility."
Pauanui Surf Life Saving Club received $676,000, Tairua Surf Life Saving Club $699,000 and Onemana Surf Life Saving Club $317,000 in funding announced by the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Poto Williams.
Last year Onemana Surf Lifesaving Club had a brand new building delivered thanks to the funding.
The minister said funding replaced money unable to be raised due to Covid-19 restrictions and the loss of traditional funding and fundraising opportunities.