The last pint has been poured and the Ode to the Fallen recited for the last time at the Kaikohe RSA's Broadway premises.

The club was packed for its final night on Sunday, members travelling from around the Mid North for a last hurrah.

The Kaikohe RSA, like others around the country, has fallen victim to spiralling costs and declining membership. Like Kerikeri RSA, which closed three months earlier, it occupies a huge property with crippling rates, insurance and maintenance bills.

While there was sadness for the loss of a friendly gathering place, and the four staff who have lost their jobs and income, club members were also determined that the RSA would be back in some form.


"We're not closing, we're just ceasing trading," former staff member Margaret McMullien insisted.

Former president Neil MacMillan, of Utakura Valley, read the Ode before thanking the staff and patrons for their support of the club. The decision to close the venue had been taken after a members' ballot last month.

"It's sad, but I wanted us to make the decision while we can still pay the bills, rather than wait until someone else took over and made the decision for us," Mr MacMillan said.

Options for the club's future include buying smaller premises elsewhere, joining forces with another group, such as the bowling club, or leasing back part of the current building from a future buyer.

"Until we know how much we can get for the property, we can't really plan," he said.

Vice president Geoff Smith said he was grateful to the staff for their dedication.

"Many people, after being told they were losing their jobs, would "roll up into a ball, but not these guys. They just carried on. They were even in there on Monday, unpaid, helping to pack up," he said.

The caretaker had been asked to stay on to keep the property in good order, while Cliff Whitelaw, of Kaikohe, had been appointed as administrator and would strive to get the best possible deal.


Mr Smith said the last night was "pretty difficult."

"The staff have lost their jobs, the members have lost their establishment. There's no winners in that, but we look forward to the day we build it all back up again," he said.

Kerikeri RSA closed its doors on April 26, its buildings sold to aged-care company Metlifecare. Members now meet three times a week in a function room at the Homestead Tavern.