Monday, 28 May 2007

New Zealand's Finest Country Cinema

State Highway One runs through the centre of Taihape, so most New Zealanders know where Taihape is. But very few have ever ventured off the main road. I hadn't - until the indicator went on when we arrived with our first car load of possessions to move here. That first trip up the side road Leif and I both noticed a big sign on a beautiful old building - "The Majestic - New Zealand's Finest Country Cinema". Having never been inside a 'country cinema' before, let alone 'New Zealand's Finest' - we were intrigued.

We had heard rumours that there was a group working to save the theatre and kept meaning to do some investigating. Then a couple of weeks ago the Taihape Times had an article about this group asking if there was anyone in the community who was interested in helping out...

One phone call, a pot of tea and some delicious orange cake later I find myself as the secretary of the 'Taihape Heritage Trust'. Leif is the 'technical advisor'. We had our first meeting a last week. A cold night and five of us huddled round a heater in the 'Nibble Nook' - a room off the side of the theatre that used to be the theatre tuck shop.

The theatre itself is wonderful. It is really like stepping back in time. Old leather seats. Native wood interior. A huge amount of work has gone into it already since it was saved from demolition in 1998. We are currently looking to open it within the next year for regular film screenings.

Meanwhile, I have some meeting minutes to write up...


  1. Hey guys, I know the place - Katie & wondered past it earlier this year on a very early morning stroll in Taihape & wondered like you what the status was - there is always so much history & fun stories in old Cinema's. Imagine what the Friday night crowds may have been like there before video & DVD - a great place to meet girls & eat lollies!
    We need many more people like you two, in every village, town & city of New Zealand. You share so much energy & passion doing stuff like this over & above already demanding jobs. You guys are the bomb & are very inspiring - I look forward to a movie night at your place - the Majestic

  2. Kia Ora there Mrs H - its your old FAHS favorite ex head boy here - I hope your husband passed on the congratulations - looks like the love in the air at Meihanas wedding must have been contagious. Now to the nitty gritty - country cinema ...make that Aotearoas best country cinema ... a bold claim I might add - as we speak I am trying to suss out some moolah for a film/doco/tour of some of our (NZ's) finest flick whare's. Based on your write up I think Taihape could be a contender... anyway lets do coffee. I will be swinging through Tai to the hape some time after this term and will stop by kids and all in tow, hoping for a tour of the old girl - anychance the secretary or technical advisor could organize for a looksee?

    Sweet as

    Heoi Ano - Pere (Durie - just so you dont confuse me with all the other Pere's out there)