Te Puna residents wanted to erect a tangible memorial to those from the district who died during the First World War. In 1920 a first meeting was held to raise funds to erect a Memorial Hall. The wish was that it be used for church purposes, social events and as a club and reading room for Returned Soldiers and any other purpose that the committee deemed fit.
Those present were: Misses F & J. Lochhead, R Murray, P Smith, L Tangitu; ,Messrs L H Houghton, J Millar, HH Sharplin,; Ben & W Armstrong, J Lochhead, E McMorran, Geo Healy & D Borell. H Neilsen; F Heke;. Trustees appointed were Messrs T Lochhead, A Armstrong and Sharplin; Treasurer Wm Armstrong and A Weber-Todman Secretary.

Fundraising was held with dances and stalls held at the Te Puna School; Road collections and felling gum trees on site and then splitting and selling posts (400) D Borell estimated cost of hall (48 ft x 28 ft) 15m x 9 m at 250.

The land (2 perch 7 roods) was given by Benjamin Goodwin Armstrong and William Robert Armstrong and the construction was done by local people.

Te Puna Heritage Deed:

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME WE THOMAS LOCHHEAD of Te Puna Farmer HENRY HAVELOCK SHARPLIN of Whakamarama Sawmiller and BENJAMIN GOODWIN ARMSTRONG (sometimes known as Benjamin Goodwin Armstrong Junior) of Te Puna SEND GREETINGS:
WHEREAS by Memorandum of Transfer dated the 23rd day of AUGUST 1923 Benjamin Goodwin Armstrong and William Robert Armstrong both of Te Puna Farmers transferred ALL THAT piece or parcel of land situated in the Provincial District of Auckland containing TWO ROODS SEVEN PERCHES (0:2:07) more or less - being the South Eastern corner of Allotment 26 Parish of Te Puna and being portion of the land comprised and described in Certificate of Title Volume 85 Folio 28 - Auckland Land Registry and more particularly shown - - edged green in the plan endorsed on the said Memorandum of Transfer (hereinafter called the said land) to the said Thomas Lochhead, Henry Havelock Sharplin and Benjamin Goodm'in Armstrong as joint tenants AND WHEREAS the said lands were given and a Hall erected therein by means of a fund raised by public subscription among the inhabitants of the district of Te Puna as a permanent memorial to the men of the said district who fell in the late War which Hall is to be used by the said inhabitants for the purposes of religious social and other meetings and generally as a centre for the social activities of the district and public NOW THESE PRESENTS WITNESS that the said Thomas Lochhead, Henry Havelock Sharplin and Benjamin Goodwin Armstrong hereby declare that they stand seized of the said lands in trust for the inhabitants of the said district of Te Puna in the County of Tauranga IN WITNESS WHEREOFF these presents have been executed this 23rd day of August one thousand nine hundred and twenty-three

At the official opening of the hall on November 26th, 1922 the Hon W Herres, Rev. Hall and Rev. Smythe dedicated the Hall to the memory of those sons who had fallen in battle.
A tablet had been purchased from Parkinson & Co, Auckland and this was un-veiled at the opening by Mrs B G Armstrong and Mrs Tangitu as the oldest representing the Maori and Pakeha residents. On the 30th, a big sports Day was held for all the children and 200 tickets printed for the social and dance held at night.

The original Hall committee set charges for use: Meetings: I/-; 8-12 pm: 15/- ; 8-after 12 pm: 1; and also moved that Roadmen be charged 2 shillings and sixpence per week while they camp in the paddock. (Parking area on BP side of the hall.)

Over the years there have been several additions to the building: 1927 - Kitchen and supper room @ 150; and in 1950, an extension made to the supper room. In 1965 a new supper room was added on the Northern Side and the hall was extended to include the old supper room.

The 50th anniversary of the hall came in 1972 and a function was held to celebrate. There was expressed some concern that a tavern was to be sited adjacent to the hall where young children met for youth organisations and an objection was lodged with council.

In 1974 a committee was formed to investigate a new hall and site, as some felt the present hall had a limited life. The committee went into recess in 1976 after no suitable land was found but Western Bay residents made it clear to their district council that the hall was dear to their hearts and they don't want to lose touch with future hall management for meetings and other community events.

Feedback high-lighted the importance of the hall's history and it's uniqueness to the community and Council staff took this into consideration when developing an overall hall policy.

Te Puna presented submissions to the council to give a clear understanding of the special features of this community and confirmed local management of the hall was vital to it's success. The council decided to relinquish its ownership and began a process to return it to the community then further refined its policy, deciding to retain hall land in council ownership. Protection of the land for the community is very important as this was deeded in the document above to remain a permanent Memorial to Te Puna's War heros.

The Te Puna Memorial Hall is in a central locality beside the shops on the main highway and serves as a meeting place for bus trips and for groups gathering and has safe and plentiful parking.

October 1998, after a desperate call in November of the previous year from the old Hall Committee faced with threats to close the Hall, several community minded citizens came forward and this dedicated and active committee has made many improvements. They made application for finance to replace the spouting, to paint inside the main hall and stage and to replace the wiring and lights. The BOP Community Trust made a generous donation towards alterations and improvements to the Hall which enabled the hall in 2001 to be given a much needed face-lift The ceiling was lowered, new lightning in the main hall, relining the walls, replacing old wooden joinery, sanding and sealing floors and the interior painted.

The original War Memorial plaque has the names of those from the district who died in the First World War. In 1936 a second tablet was dedicated to those who served and since died.
Soldiers who fell in World War 2 were commemorated on Sunday April 30th 1947, Mrs Borell and Mrs Humphrys (nee Polly Armstrong) dedicated their plaque in a most solemn and impressive ceremony and a fourth was added in 1950 to remember those who served and died since WW2. The present Hall Committee is anxious to know who was responsible for adding names to the last roll-of-honour tablet and to express appreciation to them. They would like to continue this work and to ascertain any other names that have a right to be there.

Te Puna Memorial Hall is one of the oldest buildings in the district but with dedicated community spirit, it should serve the area for a number of years to come hired for functions and meetings at very reasonable rates, offering good facilities, easy parking and wheelchair access.
Contact Janet Currie...Tel. 5525 259

Te Puna Road view of Te Puna Memorial Hall   Image 3