Dancing goodbye to the Dance-O-Mat

The Dance-O-Mat was installed along The Strand in 2016. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

It’s been jumped on, beat up and hen pecked but now the Dance-O-Mat on The Strand has to step aside.

The purpose-built dance platform, opposite Macau Bar, arrived in 2016, but the last dance has been called.

The mat was donated by Trustpower when it moved back into the city in 2016. The idea is taken from Gap Filler, a Christchurch organisation set up following the Christchurch Earthquakes. It provides a space where the community can gather to have fun in a social and active way.

Construction was completed with the help of volunteers from The Men’s Shed, through Project Tauranga. The jukebox was operated by inserting a $2 coin.

Tauranga City Council community services general manager Gareth Wallis said there has been “many incidents of vandalism” in the time it had been there.

“The coin box has been broken into, the surface of the jukebox damaged and electrical components have been cut.

“Therefore, due to the ongoing maintenance costs, the decision has been made to remove the Dance-O-Mat.

“Signage is in place for two week to notify any users of the upcoming removal. There are no plans to replace or renew this asset,” says Gareth.

Trustpower community and communications advisor, Kathlene Cook, says it has been a pleasure to see the fun and vibrancy that the Dance-O-Mat has brought to the waterfront and the city centre.

“We’ve seen organised dance groups, after school activities, passers-by and even the odd hen’s party have a go.

“We look forward to seeing what the new space has to offer and will continue to support the city centre through events such as the Trustpower Photographic Exhibition and the Trustpower Christmas Parade.”

Work to remove the structure will start on Monday, March 30.

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