North Waikato pub rises from the ashes
After being gutted by fire in 2014, the popular Muddy Waters Irish bar and restaurant was reduced to a charred log-frame skeleton.
But the Mercer pub’s owner James Oliver was determined to get the business back up and running, spending months scrubbing the logs by hand to restore the bar to its former glory.
Now after more than two years of rebuild, the Muddy Water in the north Waikato is back in business. It reopened its doors on Friday.
James and his wife Liane have had to re-build their lives after losing both their business and home in a blaze that required more than 80 fire fighters and 15 fire appliances to extinguish in June, 2014.
‘‘The night it burnt, it’s a situation when you look back on it where we were probably stunned mullets really - it takes a long time for it to sink in to be honest,’’ James said.
Liane said the couple escaped the blaze in the middle of a cold, wet winter’s night with just the clothes they had on their back.
The couple’s living quarters above Muddy Waters contained all their possessions, photographs and family mementos.
‘‘We would hate it to happen to anyone, you don’t realise how traumatic it is,’’ Liane said.
The couple bought the business in Mercer in 2001, when it was bankrupt. However, over the years they were able to turn it into a successful and profitable business, James said.
‘‘It was quite successful at that stage, then right at the height of your success it’s blown away from you - it’s hard to take.’’
The fire was caused by a hot-
‘‘The night it burnt, it’s a situation when you look back on it where we were probably stunned mullets really - it takes a long time for it to sink in to be honest.’’
water cylinder fault in the back of the building. Insurance covered the damage caused by the fire and despite the lengthy process to rebuild, Jamie said they had invested too much into the business to let it go.
‘‘To walk away from that would’ve been soul-destroying, we would have lost all we fought for.’’
The building had to be re-built with a new toilet block, ceiling, roof, kitchen, floors and living quarters.
Liane and James Oliver have rebuilt their business more than two years after it was destroyed by fire.