Hastings architect John Colin Scott, who was of Maori descent, designed this building. Scott was commissioned by the Raukawa tribal executive in 1954 to design a community centre that would be a national memorial to the 28th Maori Battalion and recognise the close connection between the battalion and the city. Costing between £25,000 and £30,000, the Maori Battalion Hall was officially opened on 27 June 1964. Of some 2,000 people present, around 800 had been members of the 28th Maori Battalion.
The building originally functioned as a meeting hall – with a stage, offices and toilets on the ground floor, a kitchen and dining area on the first floor, and a sleeping area, smaller hall, and caretaker’s quarters, on the top floor. Kelly Kereama, of Feilding, carved the fourteen (8ft x 18ins) panels on the building’s exterior, while tukutuku panels were used inside and intricate kowhaiwhai patterns adorned the exposed beams. Since then it has had a range of occupants, and as a result, much of the original interior decoration has gone.