Today, we’re a community-owned & operated non-profit cinema situated in the upstairs auditorium of The Regent Pahiatua.
We are staffed by a part time manager & a team of cinema-loving volunteers.

In addition to our weekly screenings of contemporary films, we are available to the public for fundraisers, private screenings & school or special interest-group sessions.

We proudly serve the entire Tararua District and are the oldest, continually operated cinema in the region.


Built by Kerridge Theatres (to replace the previous King’s Theatre built in 1897) & opened on 23 February 1940, the Regent Upstairs Cinema was “nearing its end” in the mid 1970s. That’s when the current owners, the Pahiatua Repertory Society, purchased the building from Kerridge-Odeon.

In 1977, the rep society raised debentures & donations to finance its redevelopment of the space, altering the original, 600 seat auditorium into two separate auditoria – a 220 seat theatre for live performances downstairs in the former stalls & a 230 seat cinema upstairs in the former circle area.

Kerridge’s existing Erneman 5 projection system, which originated in The Regent Theatre in Palmerston North via the St James’ Theatre on Queen St Auckland, was a two-projector change-over system with Kaylee carbon-arc lamps. The sound system was a monaural Western Electric double amplifier valve system from the Embassy Theatre Wellington. 

Extensive alterations were made backstage with the addition of changing rooms, ​a make-up room, a green-room as well as wardrobe & property storage facilities.

In the 1980s the old valve sound amplifiers were replaced with a solid state system & a new electric fan-heating system was installed in the auditorium to keep guests warm.

In the late 1990s, the rows of fixed seats in the downstairs auditorium (originally from the Odeon/Mayfair Theatre in Palmerston North) were removed, the floor level was raised & the raked floor was stepped to allow for tables & chairs. A flat area at the front was added to allow for dancing, part of which could be removed during stage productions to access an orchestra pit.

With the help of local donations, sponsorship, & with a grant from the Eastern & Central Community Trust,
in 2000, we were able to restore the theatre façade, the main entrance & foyer layout & decorative neon, as well as install new art-deco-style carpet, a replica neon Regent sign on the outdoor canopy, & a spotlight on the exterior.

A new, 35mm fully-automated 3 tier platter projection system replaced the 65-year-old dual projection system which had become incompatible with the new (at the time) cyan-dye optical film soundtracks. To remedy the change in sound, a Dolby Digital 5.1 system replaced the analogue system.

We launched a fundraising project in August 2011 in an effort to completely refurbish the auditorium & upgrade our projection system to digital. Donations & sponsorship from local residents & community groups enabled us to purchase & install comfortable new seats, insulate the auditorium ceiling & line the walls with acoustic panels & drapes. Thanks to a generous grant from the Waireka Community Trust, patrons with disabilities, wheelchairs, or mobility scooters can easily & safely access to our auditorium via a lift from the street-level foyer.

A cheque for $1100 towards the auditorium up-grade, was presented by the Friends of St Anthony’s School. The money was raised by St Anthony’s school students selling potted daffodils.

​In December 2014 we received $80,000 from the Central Energy Trust. This enabled our transition to a fully compliant, digital cinema projection system. Almost 75 years to the day the cinema opened on 23 Feb 1940, Hoyts Cinema Technology Group ushered us into the digital cinema era. There were no more reels of 35mm film to haul up the stairs, thread onto the projector & re-wind after the show. The “film” is now a file which arrives on an encrypted portable hard drive.​​

In May 2015 a new energy-efficient heat-transfer system was installed and made heating and cooling the place far more effective and efficient. In August 2015, hand-rails were installed on all stairways.Today, all screenings are in DCI compliant Digital Cinema Prints (both 2D or 3D). Thanks to Hoyts Cinema Technology, our certified Dolby Digital Surround Sound has been calibrated & set to the highest international standard & calculated to fit the exact shape & acoustics of our re-furbished auditorium.

​The process of fund-raising for up-grading the auditorium is continuing. On 2 May 2022, renown street artist Mike Swift (Swiftmantis) painted a giant, cinema-themed mural along our Tui Street wall, bringing new life and energy to the place. Stairway lighting is planned as well as repairing and repainting the front facade and the auditorum ceiling and lighting.


– Stadium-style seating for 110 plus 3 wheelchair spaces & lift
– Air-conditioned auditorium
– DCP compliant Christie Solaria CP2215 projector with a Doremi Showvault server 
– 8.5 metre CinemaScope screen
​- Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
– Pennywise DA22 Cinema Automation system
– Screening facilities for DVD/Blu-ray, PC Hard Drives, or HDMI connected devices
– Volfoni Edge-2 Infra-red 3D system with active shutter 3D glasses
– High quality QSC amplifiers and speakers

NOTE: Our projection & sound system is maintained to the highest industry standards by Hoyts Cinema Technology