Grand Tav­ern marks town’s for­tunes

Matamata Chronicle - - Property -

The his­toric Grand Tav­ern in Te Aroha is de­scribed by the His­toric Places Trust, now known as Her­itage New Zealand, as re­flect­ing the town’s for­tunes over more than a cen­tury.

Records show the pub was built in 1881 shortly af­ter the dis­cov­ery of gold in the nearby Waioron­go­mai Val­ley to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for min­ers.

Four years later af­ter the short-lived gold rush boom had sub­sided, the prop­erty was en­larged to take ad­van­tage of its lo­ca­tion next to the geother­mal hot springs in Te Aroha Do­main which were quickly be­come a tourist mag­net.

The springs drew thou­sands of tourists from across the Auck­land, Waikato and Bay of Plenty re­gions, and in 1902 the two-storey wooden pub was re­named the Grand Ho­tel.

With the de­mo­li­tion of the Hot Springs Ho­tel, in 1971, the Grand Tav­ern is now Te Aroha’s only sur­viv­ing ho­tel from those gold min­ing and ther­mal spa boom pe­ri­ods.

Her­itage New Zealand’s back­ground notes on the Grand Tav­ern out­line its his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance to the town.

‘‘It is par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant as part of a larger his­toric and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal land­scape, which in­cludes the ex­ten­sive his­toric area at Te Aroha Do­main.

‘‘Te Aroha was the first geo- ther­mal re­sort in New Zealand to ben­e­fit from large-scale tourism for leisure and health, be­ing over­taken by the more fa­mous spa at Ro­torua only at the turn of the cen­tury.

‘‘The ho­tel re­tains strong town­scape value for its po­si­tion along the street front, and makes a sig­nif­i­cant aes­thetic con­tri­bu­tion through its long bal­cony and ve­ran­dah.

‘‘The Grand Tav­ern is of his­tor­i­cal and ar­chi­tec­tural sig­nif­i­cance for demon­strat­ing changes in the use of ho­tels dur­ing the late nine­teenth cen­tury,’’ state the Her­itage New Zealand records.

‘‘It is a no­table ex­am­ple of Vic­to­rian ho­tel de­sign in New Zealand, with char­ac­ter­is­tics typ­i­cal of the build­ing-type such as a sweep­ing ve­ran­dah, hipped roof and street corner lo­ca­tion.

Now the ma­jes­tic Grand Tav­ern land and build­ings at 81 – 83 Whittaker Street, are be­ing mar­keted for sale by ten­der through Bay­leys, with ten­ders clos­ing at 4pm on Septem­ber 14.

Bay­leys Hamil­ton sales­per­son Josh Smith said the Grand Tav- ern still re­tained the ve­ran­dah and or­nate wooden fret­work which made it so pop­u­lar more than a cen­tury ago, while the venue’s food and bev­er­age oper­a­tions were pop­u­lar with town’s lo­cals. The build­ing’s cur­rent own­ers – pas­sion­ate about New Zealand’s her­itage - had spent $100,000 on restora­tion and re­fur­bish­ment work over re­cent years.

The Grand Tav­ern’s 980 square me­tre build­ing sits on some 1,172 square me­tres of free­hold land on a corner site.

The prop­erty gen­er­ates net rental of $69,000 + GST from the pub’s food, bev­er­age and ac­com­mo­da­tion busi­ness.

The tav­ern’s op­er­a­tor is on a lease ex­pir­ing in April next year with a fur­ther 10-year right of re­newal.

Smith said it was ironic that some 110 years af­ter Te Aroha first be­come renown as a tourist des­ti­na­tion off the back of a rail con­nec­tion from Auck­land, the town was cur­rently un­der­go­ing it’s sec­ond re-in­car­na­tion as a tourism des­ti­na­tion.


The 136-year- old Cat­e­gory 1 listed Grand Tav­ern in Te Aroha has been placed on the mar­ket for sale.


The land and build­ings housw one of the grand­est coun­try pubs in the Waikato.

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