The Rotorua RSA may have closed its doors but the "heart and soul of the club is still alive" and members are confident the future of the organisation is bright.

The extraordinary general meeting at the Arawa Lounge at Rotorua Racecourse was held on Saturday and was followed with an ensign ceremony at the former RSA building on Haupapa St, a celebration of the 99 years the association has existed.

President William McDonald was presented with the RSA flag during the ceremony and said he "spontaneously made the decision to hand it to the mayor for safe keeping".

"When the flag was lowered and handed to me I made the decision there and then to hand it to the mayor so that when we were ready, she would be able to give it back.

From left, Don Macfarlane, Larry Heiford and Tom Attwood, with the RSA sign. Photo/Stephen Parker
From left, Don Macfarlane, Larry Heiford and Tom Attwood, with the RSA sign. Photo/Stephen Parker

"There was a moment when I passed her the flag that I saw a tear in her eye and that made me feel a tear in my eye.

"It is hard saying goodbye to an era but we are grateful for all the support we've had from the council, our committee, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and the community."

Secretary Julie Hill said RSA members were given a briefing at the general meeting of what had been done so far and what was the next step forward.

"We explained to the members that while the doors have shut and we are not trading, the heart and soul of the RSA is still alive. The memorabilia is going to the museum where it will be protected and we've handed our flag to the mayor to keep safe."

She said the club also used the meeting to get membership approval to put the building on the market.

"Now that we are able to do that, we can look at our options, whether we buy, lease, amalgamate or be hosted by another club.

"Nothing will be decided until the building sells and we are able to get all our ducks in a row."

Ms Hill said there were mixed feelings at the ensign ceremony with some members "still angry that it had to come to this".


"It was a sad occasion and some people are still angry but many acknowledge this is what we needed to do because if we didn't, there would be no RSA at all."

She confirmed RSA members would be able to choose between using the facilities of the Rotorua Bowling Club or the Rotorua Club for the remaining six months of their annual membership.

"It was extremely generous of those two clubs to offer their hospitality to members and we are so grateful.

"We are confident that this is not the end of the RSA and are feeling positive as we move forward into this new stage."