Tawa’s Hall Warming

Moving to a new club venue is not an easy thing, as Johnsonville club found when we moved from Johnsonville School Hall to Johnsonville Bowling Club in 2020 and then to Khandallah Town Hall in 2021, when this lovely, larger hall became available.

Once we’d settled in, we wanted to celebrate with our dancing friends. We were full of excitement when we held our first Tartan Night at Khandallah Town Hall in April 2021.

This year, Tawa club has made the big move from the Redwood Hall, where they’d been for many years, to Tawa RSA, and they too held a celebration.

I thought I’d have a quick look in old NZ Scottish Country Dancer magazines to see where else Tawa might have danced over the years.

Tawa club seems to have started out at the Scout Den in Oxford St in the 1960s, in 1968 discussed the possibility of changing their meeting-place to the (still under construction) Tawa College gymnasium but instead moved to Tawa Primary School in 1969, then to St Luke’s Church Hall (now Tawa Union Church, Redwood Centre) around 1997.

Interestingly, I did find a reference to the RSA Hall, in Tawa’s notes in the 1969 NZ SCD Dancer. It gives a picture of a time when Scottish Country Dancing was booming in the Wellington Region:

Last year’s (1968) formal saw 150 in the RSA Hall at Tawa. A good time was had by all, even by the people who had to stand all evening. … No major hitches unless you call catering for 120 when 150 turned up a major hitch!

Tawa didn’t get (and I’m sure wouldn’t have wanted) 150 dancers to their Hall Warming at the RSA hall last Thursday. It was however a very successful evening of celebration.

Robert Vale is a member of both Johnsonville and Tawa, and tells us all about Tawa’s big night.

Kristin Downey

Celebrating a new venue

On 7 April this year the Tawa Club departed from their old venue, the Redwood Hall, at the Johnsonville end of Tawa, which they were finding a bit restricted. They moved to the RSA Hall in Oxford Street at the Linden end of the village, a much larger hall with a good floor for dancing.

To celebrate their move, and introduce other dancers to their new venue, Tawa invited other clubs to join them on their regular Thursday club night on 19 May.

The Ngaio club who, like Tawa, dance on a Thursday, often share special event nights. Ngaio shifted their club night to Tawa for the occasion so they could all attend the Hall Warming. Quite a few of our members dance at Ngaio or at Tawa, meaning Johnsonville was well represented.

Pat, Robert, Maureen and Fiona were among Johnsonville members at Tawa’s Hall Warming

Tawa members decorated the hall with balloons for the night to give a ‘special occasion’ feel, and Catherine McCutcheon, the Tawa tutor, had chosen a programme of dances with appropriate names for a Hall Warming.

We started with the round-the-room jig Welcome to the Dance and later danced A Lovely Hall and Ways in New Hall. Some familiar names had been changed for the occasion, we danced Shiftin’ (Bobbins) and Best Set in the (New) Hall. Dances were walked to encourage everyone to take part.

Five sets, including Johnsonville members Isabelle and Bruce dancing in the centre, took to the floor

The Cranberry Tarts, a.k.a. Aileen Logie (on accordian) and Hilary Ferral (on fiddle), provided the music, dressed of course in cranberry colours.

The Cranberry Tarts, Aileen and Hilary

All the people I chatted with over the generous tea that followed the dancing had had a good time. It felt like a real celebration, not too formal, and a great chance to try out the new hall with five sets on the floor.

Watch Pat Reesby’s videos:
A Lovely Hall
Ways in New Hall
The Bucket Tree

Secretary: Robert Vale

Robert Vale
26 May 2022

Photos: John Patterson

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