Sunday, 05 April 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Hahei happy hour has been bringing people together for almost 30 years

The Hahei Village Community Hall is the epicentre of community social interactions in the beautiful small village. Opened in April 1991, the venue was funded and built by local volunteers and plays host to various community activities including weddings, funerals, birthdays for the young and young at heart, church services, play groups, yoga and much more.   

One such event, which started soon after the hall opened, is the Hahei Happy Hour, or “First Friday,” which occurs on the first Friday of each month and has done so continuously for 29 years.   

Born out of a successful local birthday party back in 1991, the monthly event is open to locals and visitors alike with numbers attending ranging from 20 to 70 plus, including people of all ages.

Multiple generations of Hahei residents and visitors have attended over the years, each bringing a platter of food and some drinks and the event is a wonderful way of welcoming new folk into the village.  
Two ladies who have been attending since 1996 and 1997 respectively are Lois McDonald and Anne Costello who say that the event has changed in demographics over the years, as those young children who used to come along have grown into adults, and cultural habits like smoking at parties has changed. The ladies both agreed that Hahei Happy Hour continues to provide an amazing way to meet lovely people since there is almost always someone new to introduce, especially with holidaymakers visiting the area.

For Pauline and Sam Verran who used to run the village store, the happy hour has been a great way for them to meet the people who they would see day to day, but never have the opportunity to interact with socially during the busy hours of trade.

A relative newcomer, after clocking up 15 years attending First Fridays, Peter Hawley is also a convener of the event, sending out emails to at least 200 on his list who ask for reminders and generally publicising the event each month with flyers and word of mouth. When asked about the structure of the event, Peter says that there is an unwritten rule that there is to be no speeches, sales of raffle tickets, or similarly intrusive activities. The get togethers are solely social in nature, bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company.

There is no membership involved and everyone is welcome, and there are always some first timers so there’s no need to be shy about taking up this great opportunity to get to know your neighbours or, even if you are just passing through, say hello to some of the locals.

Pictured: Residents catching up at Hahei Happy Hour which takes place on the first Friday of every month.

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