Future of Former US Marine Hall – Titahi Bay

This page describes the decision process by Porirua City Council around the future of the historic former US Marine Hall at 20 Whitehouse Rd in Titahi Bay.

This photograph shows a view of the former US Marines Hall in Titahi Bay


Latest news

1 October 2015

Porirua City Council voted on 30 September 2015 to give Porirua Little Theatre until May 2016 to pull together the funding needed to restore and repair Marine’s Hall in Titahi Bay.

The Council had earlier decided to seek a resource consent to demolish the hall because of the condition of the building and the significant costs to the ratepayers to restore it.

The structurally unsafe Marine’s Hall, which previously housed the theatre, has been closed since August 2012. Rather than have it demolished the theatre is trying to raise $800,000 needed to restore and repair it.

Porirua Little Theatre put a business case to Council seeking to use the Council’s Shared Responsibility Scheme as the major source of the funding required.

However the theatre did not have enough funds to meet the funding criteria under the scheme and needs to raise about half a million dollars.

Also there were concerns about Porirua Little Theatre’s ability to keep up the level of annual payments required to service the proposed loan over 15 years.

The Council has agreed that if the theatre should secure funding it would give them the building.

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Former US Marine Hall future uncertain

Key issues:

  • The Council is considering options for the future of the US Marine Hall in Titahi Bay, which has been closed to the public because extensive water damage has made it unsafe.
  • It requires expensive repairs that Porirua City Council alone cannot afford.
  • The Council has been seeking funding partners for repair or restoration of the building.
  • The Council has consulted with the community to find out what residents want for the building and its reserve site.

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Historic value

This image shows a view of the hall in the 1950s after the Marines Camp around it has gone.

This image above shows a view of the hall in the 1950s after the Marines Camp around it had gone. (Titahi Bay c.1950s (detail). Pataka Museum collection. F 2.22)

Group B heritage building

The former US Marine Hall was constructed in 1942, purpose built as a recreation hall for the Marines camped temporarily at the old Titahi Bay golf course.

Although the Marines used the hall for less than a year, it has remained a community hall since, with Porirua Little Theatre use of the hall dating back to the 1950s. The company has had sole use since 1976.

The hall has significance as one of the few surviving structures from any of the US Marine camps in New Zealand. Despite extensive internal modifications, the hall still has most of its original structure and fabric. It is also an early example of New Zealand standardised building technology, being pre-fabricated in the South Island then shipped to Titahi Bay for quick assembly.

The building is owned by Porirua City Council and is listed as a Group B building in the District Plan Heritage Schedule.

Read the PCC heritage report and the Russell Murray heritage report.

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The challenges

This photograph shows some of the water damage to the former US Marines Hall in Titahi Bay. This photograph shows some of the water damage to the former US Marines Hall in Titahi Bay.

The hall, particularly the southern third, has numerous structural problems caused by water damage, resulting in:

  • Rotten connections between roof trusses and supporting walls,
  • Rotten exterior wall studs,
  • Compromised concrete foundations and reinforcement,
  • The west wall in particular is not sound and could collapse at any time.

NB: Further investigation is expected to show more extensive damage

Take a look at the engineering reports from Roy Taylor Engineer Limited (PDF 1MB) and from Silverster/Clark Consulting Engineers.

Juggling responsibilities

Porirua City Council is faced with a difficult challenge as it juggles its role as:

  1. Heritage leader. The Council has Resource Management responsibilities, which discourage demolition for Group B buildings. The Council has made significant investments in other heritage buildings in the city, such as Gear Homestead, The Woolshed, Mungavin House and Taylor Stace Cottage.
  2. Responsible building owner and land manager. The building is on reserve land, and must be managed for community purposes. Reserve policy promotes multipe use of community buildings where practicable. Where Council buildings are in public use, they must be healthy and safe.
  3. Place maker. Porirua City Council wants to work with communities to provide for connected and distinctive villages, with spaces, amenities and character shaped by the people who live in them.
  4. Prudent manager of rates. Council faces many demands for spending and must prioritise how it allocates ratepayer funds.

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The options

  • Demolition: Minimum cost of $30,000 - and there are likely to be more costs for Resource Management Act consenting process and rehabilitation of reserve site,
  • Basic repair: $330,000 approx. Repairs sufficient to lift Dangerous and Insanitary notice to allow public use. Includes weather-tightness, building compliance and partial internal fit-out. Further expenditure will be required in the medium term, for example re-roofing,
  • Comprehensive repair/restoration: $700,000 to $820,000 for complete repair/restoration - retaining some original material.
  • Demolish and replace with new building: $1million plus.

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Action to date

  • 30 September 2015 - Council voted to give Porirua Little Theatre until May 2016 to secure funding to meet criteria for the Shared Responsibility Scheme.
  • 4 December 2014 - Te Komiti support a recommendation that the former US Marine Hall in Titahi Bay be demolished and memorialised on the site.
  • November 2014 - Results of consultation presented to Councillors. Report prepared for Council.
  • October 2014 - Feedback and results of phone survey analysed.
  • September 2014 - Statistically representative phone survey carried out for Porirua and Titahi Bay. Consultation with key stakeholders. Funding Partner work.
  • July 26 to September 5 - public discussion paper and freepost survey distributed to 3000 Titahi Bay households, and other locations. Online discussion paper and survey available on this website. Approximately 175 responses received.
  • July 2014 - Work begun to explore funding partner options and public consultation process started.
  • June 2014 - Work completed to make the building weather tight and a permanent security fence erected.
  • March 2014 - Council agreed to explore the options for funding partner involvement in the possible repair and/or restoration of the hall.
  • January 2014 - Estimates for simplified repair obtained from 3 building companies,
  • April - June 2013 - Demolition application made and subsequently suspended on heritage grounds
  • October 2012 - Estimates gained from Quantity Surveying companies for remedial and replacement work.
  • August & September 2012 - Engineering inspections in August and September discover extensive water damage. Dangerous and Insanitary building notice issued. Building closed, a perimeter fence erected and internal walls supported against collapse.

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Consultation Documents


To find out more contact your local Councillors, or Lisa Gooch (Senior Policy Analyst, Heritage and Environment): phone 04 237-3841 or email lgooch@pcc.govt.nz.


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