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Help keep Cambridge
Town Hall alive

Your support is critical

Cambridge Town Hall is run by Cambridge Town Hall Community Trust – a charitable trust with a mission to breathe new life into and enhance this iconic heritage facility.

Waipā District Council has tasked the Trust to actively promote, manage and preserve the Town Hall. But to do this, the Trust needs a sufficient operations grant from the council.

The Trust receives a grant as part of its agreement with the council, but based on the Draft Enhanced Annual Plan, we face a $100K shortfall for 2024/25. The $500K grant we require would allow us to continue to manage and maintain the hall so it remains open, compliant and available for community use, with the community discount rate preserved.

You can help

If you enjoy using the hall and wish to see its activation and increased use continue, please let Waipā District Council know by making a submission on the Draft Enhanced Annual Plan by 5pm on Friday 26 April.

About the Town Hall and its operations

Why does the Town Hall get a grant from the council?

When Cambridge Town Hall Community Trust took over the running of the Town Hall, it signed a Lease and Service Agreement with Waipā District Council, under which the Trust receives an annual grant from the council.

Does the council grant cover the cost of operating the Town Hall, so it’s free to hire?

Unfortunately, the council grant doesn’t cover the $630K-$640K required to run the hall. As a result, each year the Trust has to raise up to $140K, some of which comes from hireage.

How does the Trust raise the extra money it needs to run the Town Hall?

Revenue from hireage, donations to an annual appeal, events sponsorship and grants all help to cover the costs of running the hall. Other revenue streams are being explored, and the Trust is also actively fundraising in order to restore the building.

The hall’s hireage (and usage) has increased significantly this financial year (2023/24) – the first full financial year staff have been employed to run the hall. With some months remaining, the Trust has already more than achieved its 2023/24 target to increase income from hireage by 20 per cent, and is looking forward to sharing the full year’s figures once the financial year ends.

The Trust wants to balance community and corporate use of the hall, and is investigating options such as increased corporate use of the hall. The increase in rates for commercial and private events hireage from 1 July 2024 will also provide extra income.

Have the costs of operating the Town Hall increased, and why?

Before the Trust started running the hall, it was underutilised and suffered from underinvestment for many years. The building was not well maintained, and assets within it were not regularly renewed. The Trust is now having to ‘catch up’ on these years of underinvestment.

As the Hall is becoming busier, the costs of running it are also increasing. For example, the increase in bookings this financial year also increases the:

  • need for staffing, to manage and monitor the bookings and increased activity

  • wear and tear on equipment and consumables within the building

  • cleaning, maintenance, and health and safety budgets.

Who is the Town Hall for?

While the hall is still hired mostly by the community, corporate hire is starting to increase, and the Trust has been activating performances and civic events at the hall.

The Trust wants to provide a balance of the following uses:

  • community

  • performances, events and exhibitions

  • life events such as weddings and funerals 

  • business and corporate hire.

Have upgrades to the Town Hall been paused?

Major work to restore and earthquake strengthen the entire building is currently on hold, but renovations of its side wings – the Edwardian and Victorian rooms – will occur from November 2024 to April 2025. The renovations include installation of a new commercial kitchen for the Edwardian Room.

How to make a submission

You can:

You can view more information on the Enhanced Annual Plan on the council’s website.

Writing your submission

  • Your submission can be as short or as long as you like.

  • If you use the submission form, you don’t have to answer every question or go into lots of detail.

  • State that you support Cambridge Town Hall receiving its required grant of $500K so it can continue to operate, and give reasons why.

If you have the time, please also share:

  • any positive experiences you’ve had using the hall, such as attending an event or hiring the hall

  • what you value, and what you think makes a thriving community.

Ideas of what to include

  • As a member of the community, I support ...

  • If the Town Hall had to close, our communities’ cultural and social wellbeing would be impacted.

  • Having access to facilities in my local community such as the Town Hall is important to me because it helps me to connect with other people.

  • Events at Cambridge Town Hall attract people from outside the district, and in doing so benefit local businesses.

  • Investing in community organisations contributes to the vitality and vibrancy of local communities.

  • As our district’s population is predicted to increase by 18,000 by 2050, investing in the Town Hall is important.

  • With petrol prices increasing, having venues such as the Town Hall in my local area is more important than ever.

Statistics you could use

  • Enter your content...In Waikato, those who report being highly engaged with arts, culture and creativity have 5% higher overall wellbeing as compared to those with little or no engagement. 1

  • Research has shown that recreational arts can support mental wellbeing. ‘Those who engaged in 100 or more hours/year of arts engagement (i.e. two or more hours/week) reported significantly better mental well-being than other levels of engagement.’ 2

  • 67% of New Zealanders agree it is important that where they live is recognised as a place that supports excellence in the arts AND 66% believe that major arts facilities are important to create a vibrant place to live. 3

  • ‘Being highly engaged with arts, culture and creativity means that residents are also more likely to have stronger connections to community and to land and place.’ 4

  • 61% of New Zealanders agree that “the arts contributes to the resilience and wellbeing of their community.” 5

  • 64% of surveyed New Zealanders say that ‘The arts help define who we are as New Zealanders.’ 6

  • 66% of surveyed New Zealanders agree: ‘Arts and culture have a vital role to play in the future of where I live.’ 7

Thank you, we appreciate your support

1 Huber Social, ‘Wellbeing and Arts, Culture and Creativity in Waikato’ (Sydney: Huber Social, 2022), p.22, advocacy/researchandreports.

2 Christina Davies, Matthew Knuiman & Michael Rosenberg, ‘The art of being mentally healthy: a study to quantify the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental well-being in the general population, BMC Public Health, vol.16, https://bmcpublichealth. s12889-015-2672-7.. s12889-015-2672-7.

3 Creative New Zealand, New Zealand and the Arts: Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi (2020), https:// and-resources/new-zealanders-and-the-arts----ko-aotearoame-ona-toi, p.12.

4 Huber Social, ‘Wellbeing and Arts, Culture and Creativity in Waikato’ (Sydney: Huber Social, 2022), p.28,

5 Creative New Zealand, New Zealand and the Arts: Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi (2020), p.16, new-zealanders-and-the-arts----ko-aotearoame-ona-toi.

6 Creative New Zealand, New Zealand and the Arts: Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi (2020), p.16, new-zealanders-and-the-arts----ko-aotearoame-ona-toi. p.15

7 Creative New Zealand, New Zealand and the Arts: Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi (2020), p.13, new-zealanders-and-the-arts----ko-aotearoame-ona-toi.