What is happening to the old Orange Ballroom in Newton Rd? We remember going there for dances, but since then I think there has been a theatre group and a church. Is this correct? Karena Hyde and the residents of Sarah Selwyn House, Pt Chevalier.

The Orange Coronation Hall, to give it its full moniker, was sold this month to a private Auckland trust for $1.6 million. Plans for the future use of the site and building are still under negotiation.

The Orange, as it was known, was built in 1923 for the Orange Lodge, an Irish Protestant group. During the 1940s, the Orange was Auckland's number one party and dance spot. The hall would be packed six nights a week, with queues stretching four-deep down the steps and along Newton Rd.

The supper room below served sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee, but no alcohol, by order of the owners, the Auckland Orange Hall Society.


The venue was immortalised in the 1958 Peter Cape song Down the Hall on Saturday Night with the line, "We're as slick as the Orange in Auckland", and Tom Sharplin is said to have developed his distinctive one-legged rock and roll style there. Auckland musician Bill Sevesi and his band played at The Orange from 1958 to 1981.

The last waltz was played at The Orange in 1987. It was subsequently used by the Performing Arts School, which repainted the trademark orange interior cream and, more recently, by the City Christian Church.

The building has been maintained in very good order, including the sprung dance floor, which was replaced in 1954. We'll be keeping a close eye on the future of the Orange.

I've noticed lots of people using vehicle fog lights in Auckland when there is no fog. I'm guessing they think they look cool, but to other drivers they are often dazzling. Could you tell me if this use is illegal, and whether people are ever ticketed for it? Craig Cairncross, Glendowie.

Clause 8.4 (1) of the Road User Rules 2004 states: A driver may use a fog lamp only in conditions of severely reduced visibility, including fog or snow, but not under clear atmospheric conditions, even during the hours of darkness. So that's pretty explicit.

A few years ago the Land Transport Safety Authority, as it was then, put together a guide on getting your lights right. It covers the legal requirements for fitting lights, and how you can use them.

These include approval to have up to two front fog lamps on your vehicle, but if the vehicle already has these as part of the original equipment, you may not add more. Similar restrictions apply to rear fog lights.

Front fog lamps must be white or amber, and rear ones red. All fog lights must be wired so that they can be turned off independently of the headlamps.


And, as a deterrent, the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999 also contain an offence of "inappropriate use of fog lights". In other words, it is an offence to use fog lights in clear weather, even at night.

A police contact informed me some time ago that motorists do get ticketed for using fog lights when they shouldn't, but most of the time police officers find that people don't know how to operate their lights properly. In these cases they get a verbal warning and an instruction to turn them off.