Several Hawke's Bay locations feature in a new book about New Zealand community halls which aims to record important moments in history, celebrating the spirit and strength of rural communities.
On a Saturday Night: Community Halls of Small-town New Zealand is the latest book from Canterbury University Press and is written by Michele Frey, Napier, and Sara Newman, Christchurch, featuring photographs by John Maillard and John O'Malley.
The Ruakituri Hall near Wairoa, Ardkeen Hall near Fraser Town, Tutira Hall north of Napier, King George's Hall near Bay View, Clive Community Hall and Waipawa Hall are among the subjects in the book.
Ms Frey, a former Central Districts cricketer who works at Opus International Consultants in Ahuriri, said she hoped the book would reflect a part of social history not captured before.
"The reader will gain fresh insights into local/small-town New Zealand. For many New Zealanders, they will be able to associate with an aspect of the book through their experiences at their own local hall.
"Many people have commented that they identify with the stories in one way or another."
Mrs Newman described the book as a "slice of New Zealand history and a part of New Zealand culture" which was being lost as small towns changed and New Zealand life became "more urbanised".
"It tells the lively and entertaining stories of the people who lived in those small towns and whose social lives were mainly centred on the community halls.
"Their stories are colourful, funny, sad, happy, even tragic. Their lives were sometimes hard but their community spirit comes through in these stories."
The diverse stories of 39 halls include details of their humble beginnings to their peak in popularity, in some cases to their decline but often to their repair and resurrection.
Each hall and its local residents have a different story that reflects some of the most iconic moments in our nation's history. The halls have been used for everything from school classrooms and polling booths to venues for farewells and welcome-home parties for servicemen from both world wars, stag parties, birthday parties, weddings, film screenings, flag euchre evenings and much more.
Mrs Newman, who grew up in a small town, knows first hand the importance of community halls, while Miss Frey has always had a strong affinity with the notion of community.
"The book provides a wider knowledge of New Zealand small towns; insight into how life was lived in previous decades and understanding of the lives of our parents and grandparents. Readers will be entertained as well as informed, says Mrs Newman.
The book will be launched at the Tai Tapu Hall near Christchurch on November 11.