They have been dubbed "the most uncomfortable seats in New Zealand" - and the rows of spongy yellow chairs in Whanganui's War Memorial Centre didn't create much interest on Trade Me.

There are about 300 and they have to be replaced as part of the centre's $4.59 million upgrade.

W & W Construction is doing the upgrade, and must dispose of them as part of the refurbishment. Faced with the cost of consigning the seats to a landfill, it put them up for sale online. They were on Trade Me for a few weeks, at $5 each.

Once they were pulled out of the centre's concert chamber and piled up indoors, local people got to hear about them.


Mint Cafe and Bar is just across the street and owner Les Kirona got permission to take about 70. He put them into Frank Bar+Eatery, for use as seats on movie nights.

Hearing about that, his employee, Mass Dioli, got permission to take 20. His have been separated into groups of four and will be used in his upstairs Wellbeings yoga and mindfulness studio in Guyton St.

He first thought of making a boutique movie theatre there, but changed his mind.

"I thought, 'Do we want to look at another screen?'"

He's now looking for ideas about using the seats in a community space, perhaps for talks or sharings.

The yellow and black upholstered chairs are a cosy memory to many Whanganui residents. They have cradled many a bottom through literary fest talks, election campaigns, cultural nights and concerts.

They may have been in the centre since it opened, in the 1960s.

"You are sitting on history," Dioli said.

In the concert chamber he thought they were too close together, with springs that are "old school technology" and fabric that will be fashionable again.

He's glad to have them, despite Whanganui District Council CEO Kym Fell calling them the most uncomfortable seats in New Zealand.

"It's better upcycling them than chucking them in the landfill. It's another little fun in Whanganui."