Kaikohe's old soldiers will be the next to lose their clubrooms, with the town's RSA due to close its doors at the end of this month, two months after Kerikeri's saw its last pint pulled on April 26, the day after its final Anzac Day ceremony.

Kaikohe RSA vice president Geoff Smith said the club's income couldn't cover ever-increasing bills.

"Our costs have outstripped patronage so significantly it's left us with no wriggle room," he said.

While trading would cease on June 30, no decision had been made on the future of the building, however. A ballot of members, who had been asked to authorise the committee to explore all possible options, closed yesterday afternoon. Options could include selling the land and buildings, then buying smaller premises where costs would be more sustainable.


Another possibility was that an investor could buy the property, redevelop it, and lease part of it back to the RSA.

Mr Smith said the complex had many uses, including as a venue for funerals and family gatherings, for clubs, fundraisers and social events.

"The community will potentially lose a very valuable asset. Many, many people have had funeral wakes here. It's a very welcoming place for families who are grieving," he said.

One of the worst things about closing the doors was having to tell four people whose livelihoods depended on the RSA that they would be redundant, he added.

Originally built as the DB Northland Hotel, the complex, which includes a building much larger than required, an even bigger parking area and a lot of grass, was bought by the RSA 23 years ago. Since then costs such as rates, power and insurance had increased dramatically, and were now approaching $100,000 a year.

Mr Smith said the decision to close had not been taken lightly, the committee seeking legal and financial advice as well as consulting its membership. Paid-up membership had fallen from around 500 to about 350 over the last year, and only about 30 of them were regular patrons.

"A lot of people value the RSA, but very few use it on a regular enough basis," he said.

Kerikeri RSA members now meet three nights week in the back room of the Homestead Hotel. Their former building has been sold to aged-care firm Metlifecare, which owns the neighbouring Oakridge Villas, and is expected to be demolished to make way for new homes.