What do Kawerau's swimming pool complex and Palmerston North have in common?
The Maurie Kjar Memorial Swimming Pool Complex has been in the news thanks to funding for the complex from Trust Horizon.
The complex is free to enter and its heated spa pool and range of pools, splash pad and bouncy pillow enjoyed by all ages. The complex is heated by steam from a purpose-drilled geothermal bore that was installed about 1970.
Kjar (pronounced Care) was of the town's founding fathers. He was born in Palmerston North in 1922 and educated at Palmerston North Boys' High School.
During World War II he served in the 18th Armoured Regiment in Italy and also spent time at Maadi Military Camp. He left his position as office manager for the New Zealand Forest Service at the Waipa State Mill to join Tasman Pulp and Paper Company in 1954.
His first position was as executive assistant to the sawmill manager. He swiftly moved through the ranks before being appointed general manager in 1972.
Kjar took a keen interest in community affairs in Kawerau, which is about 50km east of Rotorua, and served from 1959 to 1962 on the first Kawerau Borough Council. He was one of the band of dedicated workers responsible for the planning and construction of the Kawerau Swimming Baths.
Trust Horizon has granted Kawerau District Council $91,131 towards the drilling of a new geothermal bore for the hot water supply at complex and replacement of the splash pad control panel. Trust Horizon, a charitable trust that funds energy-related community projects, also approved $62,990.60 towards the main power supply upgrade at the complex.
Welcoming the funding, council chief executive Russell George says geothermal steam is by far the most economic method to heat the complex.
The complex is such a popular facility and "jewel in the crown" for the Kawerau district, George says.
It is temporarily closed due to issues with the geothermal steamline.
Kjar was a founding member of the Kawerau Cosmopolitan Club and a member of the Whakatāne Golf Club, the Kawerau RSA and an honorary member of the Kawerau Chamber of Commerce. He died in 1974.