Along the Esplanade stands a building with unique beginnings and special significance to Kaikoura.
Fifty years ago the YHA Kaikoura Maui was fundraised for and built by volunteers so that the community could accommodate domestic and international travellers.
At the time the hostel was built, in 1962, New Zealand still had the "closed weekend".
Other than professionals such as doctors, police and firemen, people worked 40-hour weeks from Monday to Friday.
Pubs closed at 6pm and television was not yet widespread, so there was ample time at the weekends for YHA Christchurch branch members to build YHA Kaikoura Maui.
A location for the hostel was secured at the old limestone quarry on the Esplanade and work began.
The Vaughan family offered free accommodation for volunteers in their rental bach on Ramsgate St. Branch members drove up from Christchurch on roads still unsealed in places, especially through the Hundalee hills which were notorious for causing travel sickness.
However, none of these obstacles dampened the volunteers' enthusiasm.
The hostel was opened on December 1, 1962, by dignitaries including the Commissioner of Crown Lands and the newly elected county council chairman.
Since opening its doors, the hostel has expanded to accommodate the growing numbers of travellers, welcoming young and old from all over the world.
Now it is opening its doors to the local community to celebrate the 50 year milestone.
Hostel manager Kuini Broughton invites everyone to join in and celebrate with them on Saturday December 1, from 5.30pm onwards.
Celebrations will go ahead, rain or shine.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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