New life for old pub
How do you turn an old pub into a community hub?
That's the question the Helensville District Health Trust is asking residents after acquiring the Parakai Tavern.
The tavern was opened in 1972 by deputy prime minister Robert Muldoon and was leased to a variety of operators by the Parakai Licensing Trust which has now disbanded.
It has been handed over to the health trust along with two rented houses, all valued at around $1 million.
Former licensing trustee Gail Oxton is pleased to see it destined for good use.
"It's the most wonderful thing for everyone. Instead of alcohol and gambling, the new project will work for the benefit of the health of the community," she says.
"The Parakai Tavern had dwindling numbers but now it can be used for more people."
Health trust chairwoman Dianne Kidd says the former tavern has already been dubbed the Parakai Community Hub.
She says the first task is to get ideas from residents about how it should be used.
"Our challenge as a community is to help steer this so we can create an enterprise hub with a range of compatible and sustainable activities to serve the well-being or whanau ora of our community."
She says youth, health, age care and support for those with disabilities are health trust priorities to ensure the economic, social and physical well-being of the district.
Mrs Kidd says it's been a big 12 months for the trust which has also acquired sites at 1 Porter Cres for health and community services and the Kaipara Medical Centre.
The tavern building is a real bonus.
"We have a very valuable strategic asset at a very substantial size. We have to be quite wise and prudent about the way forward."
Herewaka Rata of Ngati Whatua Nga Rima o Kaipara is enthusiastic about the development. "The best thing is we all get a say on what happens."
Rodney Local Board member Brenda Steele also looks forward to seeing what ideas eventuate. "If there's opportunity for community training at any level to assist the locals that would be wonderful. It will be the community that determines what works and what doesn't."