Rural halls are at the heart of country communities as a gathering place for all manner of social events and public meetings.

The Whangaehu Hall is certainly no different and has had a timely spruce-up to host the latest extravaganza, the Lads and Lasses Rural Ball later this month. The ball has been organised by youth in the district and tickets are already sold out.

Like most country halls, the Whangaehu Hall sits on land gifted to the community in days gone by.

In this instance the land was gifted to the community in 1910 by Sam Woon and local community members were appointed as trustees.

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The present hall was erected in 1926 following a fire which destroyed the original hall built in 1908. Over the years the hall has been used to hold religious services, Sunday school, dances, family events, community, social and sport clubs' events, public meetings, some rather infamous toga parties and not so long ago one completely unforgettable Miss Whangaehu contest. The famous TV show It's in the Bag with Selwyn Toogood was broadcast live from this hall.

The hall holds the two Roll of Honour Boards placed in memory of the men and women who served overseas during the World Wars.

Since the June 2015 flood the committee and community have been working to improve both the inside and outside of the hall and the surrounding area. A grant from the Four Regions Trust enabled a new kitchen to be installed in April and already this is proving beneficial for the community.

"Recently the hall had a fresh coat of paint and we are grateful to Stu and Sheila Watts from Guthrie Bowron for their part in making this happen," Whangaehu Hall committee chairwoman Rachel Cvitanovich said.

"Stu, being no stranger to Whangaehu, has been supporting and helping with the hall work from the beginning. The community probation team manage the lawns and we'll be fencing and planting soon. Replacing the hall roof is the next priority.

"The hall is being hired on a more regular basis and we're having community events and fundraisers there now. We have our Lads and Lasses Rural Ball later this month and tickets are sold out.

"We're grateful for all the support and help we've had, and we've made good progress. We're fortunate as a community to have this land and hall, and this will be an attractive and accessible venue for our own community members and our surrounding rural districts," Cvitanovich said.