Author(s): Michele frey and Sara Newman
On a Saturday Night is a warm and colourful celebration of the strength and spirit of small towns all around New Zealand. From Whakapara in the north to Mossburn in the South, community halls have been the focal point of small towns for as long as the towns have been on the map. These halls have hosted school classrooms, general elections, stag parties, birthday parties, film screenings, Rabbiters’ Balls, flag euchre evenings, farewells and welcome-home parties for servicemen from both world wars, memorial events for those who did not return, farm auctions, clearing sales, weddings, Christmas parties, Civil Defence teams, mayoral celebrations, church services … Some halls have been demolished and rebuilt over the decades, others have been lovingly restored several times and are still going strong. Some halls have been transported on the backs of trucks to new locations as towns have grown and changed. Fires and floods have taken their toll in more than a few cases. Michele Frey and Sara Newman visited these halls with photographers John Maillard (North Island) and John O’Malley (South Island) to talk to the locals and try to capture the essence of what each hall has meant – and means – to its community. In these stories and pictures they have recorded an aspect of New Zealand’s unique culture that seems to be passing into history.