Waihao community dinner

This year’s Christmas festivities were the best and most memorable to date. Waihao whānau and long standing friends from the local community came together to enjoy an end of year dinner at Waihao Marae.

It was the first time in many years that the wharenui or old hall was used for a Christmas function. Although a few eyebrows were raised, it was quickly remembered that the precise reason the hall was constructed was so the Māori people of Morven and Glenavy and their friends in the wider community could meet to celebrate and socialise together. The hall was also used to assemble for more important and significant reasons such as seeing soldiers from the Waihao community off to serve during World War II.

This year there was a sense of the past and our friendship with the wider community was rekindled. I am sure that within us all a special feeling existed, which was created by the spirit within the hall and the trimmings it was decorated in.

The decision to use the wharenui was based on the large numbers and the lack of room in the usual dining hall.

The hall was decorated beautifully and the table laid out in a very professional manner with candles and all the trimmings.

The meal consisted of a large range of hot and cold meats, salads and other vegetables followed by desert, pavlova, fruit, ice cream, jelly, cream and plum pudding. Due to the limited number of helpers available in the week prior to the dinner it was decided to call in caterers. This proved to be most cost effective and was tremendous value considering the range and amount of food supplied.

Before dinner Sarah and Rebekah Thomas took the rangatahi for games. The tamariki played swing ball, vortex, ladder golf and other games, while the adults socialised and rekindled old friendships.

A very special thanks must be given to our manager Steve Boyd and his wife Derylie for the very hard work they put into the end of year function. Also to Graeme Lane and Lynne Davis for their hard work in preparing the hall, and the PD workers who assisted.

The success of the evening can be measured by the large number of extremely positive comments and the friendly atmosphere. Numerous people stood up during the hui and presented short speeches, many of which paid tribute to the organisation of the evening, and others likened it to the get-togethers of the past.

The local community was represented by Murray and Lorraine Bruce and their sons Gary and Geoff, Owen and Lorraine Richardson, Peter and John Hughes and Elizabeth Rollinson. These families have a long association with Waihao, which goes back several generations. Murray Bruce spoke and mentioned his family associations with the people of Māori Road noted that Dave Thomas (who was at this years end of year function) is listed in the Bruce families farm wages book for the year 1939!

Both Graeme Lane and Dave Thomas made speeches acknowledging and thanking those for attending and those who assisted with the preparations for the weekend.

After the dinner everyone sat around talking about times past, absent friends and how enjoyable the evening had been.

Graeme Thomas.

Waihao Christmas dinner.