In 1934, the Taupo RSA Club was established by a group of servicemen who had returned from the war. Taking a break in 1939 due to World War 2, the club resumed in 1948 and got a permanent home due to member generosity and patronage. Over the next few decades, the club organized Anzac Day services, and then in 1962, opened some new club rooms in Horomatangi Street.
In 1983, members saw the need to establish the Taupo RSA Trust, to protect its assets should the club ever go the same way as many others around New Zealand and close due to declining numbers of WWI and WWII veterans. During the 30 years that followed, the Taupo RSA grew in leaps and bounds, adding more facilities and amenities for its members to enjoy, before itself falling on tough financial times andeventually having to close its doors in 2017.
With the clubrooms closed and there no longer being a physical building for members to socialise in, membership decreased from over 800 members down to 150 members. The next few years were spent trying to find a shared facility for the Taupo RSA to re-establish itself, whilst also being forced to largely shift their main effort from being a social club, into support services. This meant transitioning from a brick-and-mortar building, with staff to assist in the delivery of welfare support, to becoming an organisation solely run by volunteers and operating from a small, donated office space in the Taupo industrial area. The change in circumstance has forced the Taupo RSA to completely change how they function, and the use of remote access to online filing has meant that except for some paper archiving, the RSA can now operate from anywhere.
This has resulted in the clubs’ overheads being significantly reduced and the day-to-day operation of RSA matters able to be dealt with quickly and effectively by a small group of people.
The 1983 establishment of the Taupo RSA Trust had meant that proceeds from the sale of the Horomatangi Street clubrooms and the Taupo RSA flats remained protected and were available to the RSA in Trust, for all former service persons in Taupo.
Despite closure, the Taupo RSA proudly maintained control and administration of the local RSA cemetery and continues to do so today, being one of only 3 RSAs in the country to do so. In addition to this, a welfare committee manages a fleet of mobility aids, including scooters, knee scooters, wheelchairs, and walking frames for eligible personnel, as well as administering the Poppy fund and managing an effective network of Local Support Advisors (LSA’s), who provide support where required.
On the 1st of May 2023, after discussions with the Taupo Bowling Club, it was agreed that each Taupo RSA member would become a social member of the Bowls Taupo, and in return, the Taupo RSA would be allowed use of their facilities, to the benefit of both clubs. As a result, the Taupo RSA is now in a phase of refreshment, seeking out and trying to connect not only with past members, but also the younger generation of servicepersons who have served in New Zealand and abroad in modern times and will take the Taupo RSA forward, to ensure longevity of the club for the benefit of future service persons.
The Taupo RSA meets every week on a Thursday evening between 5.00pm – 7.00pm. RSA members of all ages, their guests, visitors from affiliated clubs, and those interested in joining an RSA are invited to attend.
Please get in touch if you would like to Join the Taupo RSA or become a volunteer to assist with the support of Returned and Service personnel in the Taupo district.