Blackball District Community Center.
Blackball District Community Centre was the old Mine Managers homestead, built in 1910 -1912. We are now running it as a community house, we also have camping facilities, with showers, toilets, washing machine and drier.
The history group has fired up again with lots of new members, joining the original crew to make an awesome group dedicated to preserving the history of our fantastic town. We are working with the Community Centre as well so between us, we have lots of hands on board.
We now have a Facebook page with nearly 300 members. Come join us, everyone is welcome, it doesn'tmatter if you are born and bred, or are imported like most of us living here now. This is our town, come and learn all about it, one day you too will be part of its history.
Do you have any old photo's hidden away you can share with us, we would love to see them.
You can contact us at Blackballhistorygroup@gmail.com
Meg Fulford, Chairperson
Lynne McKenzie, Secretary
Our children are supported to become confident, competent self-directed learners through play based around their interests. Our children gain knowledge through play, participation and positive guidance.
Our Children’s curiosity and creativity is nurtured through the fun range of experiences provided … no two days at Playcentre are the same.
Our children develop nurturing and social skills which have lifelong benefits. Siblings attend together, allowing older children to mentor younger children and practise empathy and caring.
Our parental relationships developed through Playcentre provide support from parents and help them develop new parenting and life skills.
Our parents are actively involved in providing our children’s learning programmes. The high adult to child ratio allows a good balance for group and individual support during each session.
There is no other organisation for early childhood education and family development quite like it in the world. Thousands of kiwi children, and their parents too, have grown up with Playcentre … book in for your three visits today and come and join the fun.
Hours: Friday 9:30am -12pm
Blackball Residents Association
Meetings are held at Formerly the Blackball Hilton on the first monday of every month at 7pm.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Club Hotel Blackball Social Club has been running for around 20 year's we meet the first Friday night of the month from 5 pm till 11 pm to run raffles and have a few drinks and laughs our goal is to get to the Kumara races each year.
Blackball Swimming Club
The miners of the community spent many years going to the site after having a day in the pit, to give the foundation of a pool which the locals community is proud of today.
The land was cleared in 1915 and the digging started. Local children also took picks and shovels and wheelbarrows to the site during playtimes and lunch hours.The rubble was carted away by horse and dray.
Progress was halted when WW1 broke out. It was finished late 1920s - early 1930s.
Over the years there have been many upgrades to the pool. Now encased by a liner due to the leakage, flush toilets new changing sheds etc.
12 months of fundraising ensures we are open mid december - till march.
Costing at least $10,000.00 for the season the small committee is greatly assisted by the local community. Used by the Paparoa Range School Blackball and Dobson sites. This pool has helped many children to reach their potential in swimming.
Casual swims and season tickets are available. Any inquiries can be made to Kathryn Cox Ph 7324766 or Teresa Pownceby 7324811.
Community Led Development Group.
Blackball, is a small, historic, coal mining town that has rich social and political roots, nestled on a plateau in the Grey Valley, 24 kilometres north of Greymouth we are the southern gateway to the Paparoa National Park. Blackball is a tight knit and resilient community that has survived and changed significantly through the waves of boom and bust that have characterised a district reliant on extractive industries.There is a colloquial saying that you hear in our town "Blackball the Centre of the Universe - the place where nothing moves" which clearly demonstrates the high regard we hold for our town, while trying to disguise a well-kept secret, the fact that we are a dynamic, rather than a static community.
According to the last Census in 2013, the population of Blackball was 291 people, of which, 46.4% were female and 53.6% were male. Since the 2006 Census there has been a 36% decrease in residents – a significant drop in numbers most likely attributable to the Pike River disaster, and associated loss of substantial, reliable incomes. Ethnicities represented in Blackball at the last census were as follows: 92% European, 10% Maori, 2.3% Asian, 1.1% Pacific Peoples, and 3.4% registered as ‘Other’ (It should be noted that some people had identified with multiple ethnicities, hence why these percentages don’t add up to 100%).
All statistics were sourced from Statistics New Zealand.
Blackball is a community that has a number of strengths and assets, history is a common theme throughout the town, and a theme that its people are passionate about. Once a bustling coal mining town, Blackball reached a peak population of 1200 in 1928, following the establishment of a strong unionist movement that arose after a great workers strike in 1908. This action allowed an extended lunch break for all workers in the local coal mine, which gave birth to the New Zealand Labour Movement and eventually the New Zealand Labour Party, making Blackball a political icon, and place of political pilgrimage! Associated with this former industry, a number of historical buildings and houses remain in Blackball, which in synergy with its hard working people act as bold reminders of how unique our town is, and why a large degree of Blackball’s future lies within the achievements of its past.
The natural environments that surround Blackball are strong assets, and are a massive part of what characterises Blackball as a community to call home by its residents, and to be in awe of as one of our visitors. Whether it be a short stroll with the many resident Keruru and Piwakawaka over the Kingstop Post Lookout track through scenic beech and broadleaf native forest, a meander through the breath taking Ford Creek Gully, or an overnight tramp up the Croesus track to vistas of the Tasman Sea and Southern Alps – being the front door to the Paparoa National Park is a privilege.
Social diversity and community spirit are strengths and key characteristics that exist in Blackball, and are well highlighted by its 30+ community groups that keep the community buzzing with activity. These volunteer groups and businesses work together all year around to maintain key services and experiences within the Blackball community, to ensure the engagement, enjoyment, and well-being of its residents. Key relationships that exist between and within these groups are what keeps our community going, and provide a meaningful visitor experience. The community supports these groups through tireless volunteer hours, as well as making use of and supporting local business to ensure a sustainable future for all community stakeholders.
Another point of strength that characterises Blackball is its enormous resilience. Economic downturn and central government policy throughout the years have lessened the ability of small rural communities such as Blackball to subsist. Attempts have been made throughout the years to remove key services from our town, however the community has fought back against these attempts. The school was saved from closure in 2004 with community lobbying and protest, our emergency services (Fire and Ambulance) remain in Blackball through the strength and commitment of its long term volunteers and their outstanding leadership to inspire new volunteers, these services are needed now more than ever. Our latest challenge is fundraising for a community vehicle shed to house our Community Van (kindly sponsored by the local coal mine) and the Ambulance as the local station has been sold by St Johns and is not being replaced.These stories show that our community does not sell out, and never gives up when it is our people and places that constitute our community are on the line – these being only a few examples of what we have worked together to succeed in.
Blackball now has a new challenge, following the Pike River disaster, the local economy was turned on its head, and Blackball was cast back down the road of downturn with the average household income at the last census being $17,300.00 indicative of our lower socioeconomic class. However, with the announcement of the 9th Great Walk, 'The Paparoa Track' and ‘The Pike 29 Memorial Track’ , Blackball will become the southern gateway to the Paparoa National Park one of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural environments. Through tourism, opportunity has come again for Blackball, but with it a number of challenges. These challenges are associated largely with a degraded and ill-resourced infrastructure within our town that cannot currently deal with the proposed increased in visitor numbers when the track reaches completion. The fact that this major attraction is on our doorstep means there is a certain amount of pressure for Blackball, and its community, to succeed by delivering a world class experience and service for the many visitors who are going to want to use these facilities. We recognise that some residents have a different perspective towards the track and oppose this form of economic development as it conflicts with their Blackball lifestyle of peace, quiet and small town freedom.
The most recent phase in Blackball’s journey has involved the coalescence of many members of its community to form the Blackball Community Led Development Steering Group. The voices heard within this group represent many different stakeholders from within the community, and by following a transparent consultation process, we intend to meet these challenges head on for the benefit of our whole community. We will ensure as many voices as possible have the opportunity to be heard! We need resources in the form of connections, training and leadership and financial support. We strongly believe that this partnership with The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) will offer us, and our community this support.
Paparoa Wildlife Trust
We are a community conservation initiative dedicated to running effective conservation projects in the Paparoa Ranges near Greymouth. Our goal is to halt the decline of our wonderfully iconic but highly threatened native species.
To date our main focus has been on management, research and advocacy for great spotted kiwi (roroa) in the south Paparoa Ranges.