About the Church
This historic wooden church is nestled
amongst mature trees on Second
Avenue in Waihou and it was
originally opened as St Mark’s Anglican
Church in Te Aroha in 1886. When a
new church was built in Te Aroha in
1926, the old church was moved to
Waihou. There it was reopened on 10 December 1926 as an undenominational war memorial church. Governor-General Sir Charles Fergusson performed the opening ceremony. Lady Fergusson presented the church with a cross for the altar. The bell that tolled at the opening service was made of gun-metal and had been donated to the church by Mr E.A. Ross, whose son Hugh Leslie Ross had been killed in France.
Two marble memorial tablets flank the apse. One was installed in 1930 in memory of the men from the district who lost their lives in the Great War: Lieutenant W.R. McCormick, A.H. Aitken, C.H. Cribb, J. Farrow, A.C.W. Johnson, C.D. Neve, J. O’Grady, T.A. Parr, A.W.C. Poole, H.L. Ross, J. Ryan, W. Timmins, L. Thackster, A.W. Taylor and W.D. Voysey. The other was installed in 1952 in memory of those
who lost their lives in the Second World War: J.H.R. Cunningham, D. Clearwater, J.A. Johnson, A.S. Lennard, G.McF. Stewart, R.F. Stone, R.J. Stone, R.L. Voysey, M.A. Williams and D.C. Waddell.
The stained glass window in the rear wall of the nave was installed in memory of Waihou district servicemen in 1954.
Abouit the hall
From wedding receptions, formal balls, to silent movies, to farewell functions for soldiers serving overseas, to modern fashion shows, the Waihou Hall has been the hub of community events for 100 years. The grand old lady of Waihou marked her 100th ‘birthday’ on June 15 2014, with more than 160 people with close links to its past attending the celebration. The hall in the small rural settlement near Te Aroha was built in 1914 and during the following 10 decades has
linked with many weddings held at the church followed by a reception in the hall.
It was a ball at the hall in 1926 that helped raise funds to move the church building from Te Aroha to its current location. The hall was built for 230 pounds and on July 1, 1914, the Morrinsville Sutherlands Orchestra played while guests danced the night away at the first ball held in the Waihou Hall.
Initially the hall was lacking a ceiling
and dancers were often distracted by
flying insects, much to the disgust of
the ladies, say early reports of the hall’s
history. The hall was always used for
school functions, as the school didn’t
have a hall. Many young women celebrated their 21st birthdays in the hall, but not many young men did, as nearly all where serving overseas during World War I. Kitchen evenings were held for those to be married, and corned beef sandwiches and large slab cakes with pink and white icing were served for supper.
During World War II, enlisted men from the district were farewelled at functions in the hall and each was presented with a watch by the hall committee. Those who returned were given a rousing welcome home at the same venue and presented with a wallet. Those who didn’t return are named on plaques in the church across the road.
In the 1940s silent movies were screened in the hall – and during more recent years the hall is a venue for indoor sports including bowls, badminton, table tennis, gymnastics and martial arts.
To raise funds to re-roof the hall, the highly successful Stretton at Waihou fashion and design creations shows, sponsored by designer Annah Stretton, were held for four years from 2009.
The hall is not the first in the district. The original hall was built in 1880 by the Waihou Hall Company for 135 pounds, raised largely from one pound share certificates purchased by local settlers.
The hall wasn’t used until every nail was paid for, and was constructed on land donated for the purpose by Campbell Bros, the company which surveyed the township of Waihou. Reports say 500 people attended the opening of the hall.
The hall doubled as a school and was central to nearly all community events in the district. At the time Te Aroha was a very small village and Waihou was the hub of the district.
been at the heart of the community. Guests came to the celebrations from Perth and throughout New Zealand and most of the district’s early families were represented. It was appropriate the celebrations began with a service at the church because the church and hall are closely
The Piako Brass Band use the hall for practices and since 1929 the Te Aroha Waihou Women’s Division, now the Te Aroha-Waihou Branch of Rural Women, has met at the hall. The hall has hosted the Te Aroha Country Music Club, housie evenings, antiques road shows, theOrphan's Club, rugby functions and square dancing.