The former Kerikeri RSA building has been bought by aged-care company Metlifecare, with the complex expected to be demolished and replaced by housing.

Metlifecare already owns Oak Ridge Villas, a retirement village immediately behind the RSA, and what used to be a parking area between the RSA and Cobham Rd.

The RSA was forced to put the building on the market late last year due to dwindling membership and rising costs, especially rates — thought to be more than $25,000 a year — and insurance.

The complex, which comprised a bar, restaurant, function room and a five-bedroom house, went under contract just before Christmas but that buyer pulled out before the sale was finalised.


The club shut its doors on April 26, a day after Anzac Day and the building was subsequently bought by Metlifecare.

The house, a former bank manager's residence bought by the RSA in the 1980s, had also been sold but the sale still needed Overseas Investment Office approval.

Frank Lewis, of the Kerikeri RSA Trust, said members were now meeting in the back room of the Homestead Tavern on Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights.

The eternal flame had also been moved to the Homestead.

The turnout so far at the new venue had been pleasing, Lewis said.

''We're getting double the numbers we had at the RSA and we don't have to pay rates.''

Lewis said the club was now ''consolidating itself'' with members planning to meet to discuss any future steps, such as whether to buy new, smaller premises, once the house had been sold.

They would also hold a membership drive in a bid to attract new members.


Most current members served in Malaya and Borneo in the 1960s. Kerikeri had plenty of ex-servicemen and women from more recent conflicts but they didn't come to the RSA.

Encouraging younger people to join up was a challenge facing RSAs all around the country, he said.

However, the mood among club members was positive with Poppy Day raising a near-record $10,700 in Kerikeri and Waipapa, and the final Anzac Day service at the Cobham Rd clubrooms one of the biggest of recent years.

Metlifecare has been contacted about its plans for the site.