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A fitness instructor is devastated by the closure of a “well utilised” Auckland community hall due to a fire.
The Takanini Community Hall suffered significant damage following the blaze on January 3.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand crew were called to the structure fire just before 9pm, and while the crew were able to contain the fire to the front of the building, the front storage area and roof were severely damaged.
A FENZ spokesperson said their investigations ruled out arson, with the fire deemed accidental, likely due to an electrical fault.
The hall has been forced to close for five months while Auckland Council assessed the damage.
Manurewa resident Jay Fleming (Ngati-Wai Iwi/Uafato, Fagaloa Bay, Samoa), a personal trainer and fitness group instructor, said the closure of the facility was a huge loss to the community.
She’s been running a range of fitness classes at the hall for about three years.
“I was a actually planning on running my January zumba classes from there,” Fleming said.
“When I heard about the fire I was disappointed, angry, upset, all the emotions. It’s such a well-utilised hall by the community.”
Fleming said she’s had to look elsewhere for places to host her classes, but hoped council reopened the Takanini Hall soon.
“I loved its location, it’s quite central and easy for my group members from south Auckland to get to. There’s a lot of parking and it just feels like a second home.”
She said different groups from the community used the hall, including a kids’ soccer club, a church group, and at one point, an after-school study class for students.
“Most halls are very hard to come by and I have to book well in advance for the Takanini one, which goes to show how well utilised it is.”
Auckland Council manager area operations for Manurewa and Papakura Alex Overwater-Davis said the hall sustained damage to the roof and main entrance.
“The ceiling has sustained damage localised to the front of the building,” Overwater-Davis said.
The building has been cordoned off to prevent public access while council assessed the extent of damage.
Overwater-Davis said they expected the assessment to be completed within the next fortnight.
“To date, Auckland Council have spent $8000 to make Takanini safe. We will not know the full cost until a detailed asset assessment can be conducted.
“Immediately after the fire we have advised customers of the hall’s closure until at least June 30. We have relocated customers with existing hall bookings to other venues in Auckland.”