The final push to raise funds for the Te Ahu Centre in Kaitaia had the full weight of 100 keen bodies behind it this week.
A big crowd braved freezing weather to attend the grand opening of the centre’s new 110-seat cinema after snapping up $75 tickets for the sell-out screening of Billy T – Te Movie.
Proceeds from ticket sales and an auction of donated memorabilia raised nearly $7000 for finishing touches to the centre.
Te Ahu trustee Monty Knight told movie goers at the auction that the trust had enough money to complete the centre.
However, it needed to raise additional funds in the next six to 12 months for extras, including a children’s play area and new curtains and a new sound system in the Far North Community Centre.
“I think you will agree with me that the work we’ve done so far is pretty fabulous, but the next part is going to be absolutely stunning,” Mr Knight said.
He asked those present to be ambassadors for a fundraising campaign that had a precedent in the community effort that went into building the much-loved community centre in 1971.
“We only ask you to do it every 40 years.”
Mr Knight was thrilled to have received a $500 donation from Kaitaia Glass earlier in the week.
“It’s going to a good cause. It’s going to help us finish Te Ahu really well.”
Kevin Wilson from Kaitaia Glass said the firm donated the money because it wanted to set an example to other businesses.
Mr Wilson’s suggestion that others raise funds for the centre by reviving the Kaitaia community spirit that once produced mardis gras and queen festivals was greeted with enthusiasm by Mr Knight.
“We are going to have a mardis gras. We are going to do things. Te Ahu is going to bring people together.”
Far North Mayor Wayne Brown opened the cinema, offering ribbon-cutting honours to his wife Toni.
Mr Brown said the cinema was a special amenity that would reinvigorate the Kaitaia community.
“Enjoy tonight. This is the first step on a journey.”
Having a high-end performing arts venue in Kaitaia as well as Kerikeri (The Turner Centre) would also result in district-wide benefits.
Artists now had two top-notch venues in the Far North, making it more worthwhile for them to tour and perform here, Mr Brown said.
“We’re going to see fantastic things.”