The piano that was played in the days of silent movies still sits in the foyer of Taihape's Majestic Theatre but the facility is about to enter the future.

The 98-year-old theatre needs to raise a further $50,000 to upgrade its systems to play the latest digital format as film distributors phase out the current model. The theatre has overcome much tougher challenges though.

In 1999 the 138-seat theatre was to be closed, and workers had started demolishing it before the community took control, fundraised and bought the building. It is now owned and managed by a trust.

Mrs Simpson said she was finding it increasingly harder to get popular movies in the format compatible with the theatre's system. She had been told by film distributors that by the end of the year movies on the current format e-cinema would be hard to get and impossible by 2016.


She hasn't been able to show Taika Waititi's film What We Do in the Shadows, for example.

"It's just like 35 millimetre; it's being phased out," Mrs Simpson said.

The new gear will cost the about $70,000 and the trust is part-way there with a $10,000 grant from Powerco and $10,000 from its own fundraising.

Mrs Simpson hadn't put a time frame on when the money needed to be raised by but "the sooner we get it done the sooner the community can reap the benefits of it".

A stockdrive and further fundraisers had been planned to get the remaining money.

"I think once we're on digital [the new system] we'll be fine for quite some time."

Mrs Simpson said the theatre was important to the town and the money was well worth it to get it up to date.

"It's a beautiful environment with a lot of history. We are a small town and it's a place people can get together and have a good time.


"There's a lot of memories," she said.