Thursday, 09 July 2020


The Whitianga Hotel celebrates 150 years

An open invitation has been extended to the community to come along and celebrate the 150th anniversary of one of Whitianga’s most iconic landmarks.

The Whitianga Hotel is hosting a family-friendly event on this coming Saturday (7 September) and operations manager, Arron Bartrum, is hoping as many people as possible come along to share in an afternoon of celebration and nostalgia.

“Almost anyone who has lived in Whitianga for any length of time will have memories about The Whitianga Hotel. This is a great opportunity to come along and share those stories. It’s also a chance for us to say thanks to the community for the support they have given the hotel over the years,” Arron said.

The hotel has been owned by Tony and Lisa Dowse since July 2017, but has had a total of 19 publicans in its 150-year history.

“It has burnt down twice, it’s reportedly haunted, but there are lots of stories that aren’t in the history books, couples who have met here, special family events - everyone has a story about The Whitianga Hotel,” Arron said.

As well as complimentary nibbles, liquid refreshments and giveaways, the hotel will host a number of guest speakers on Saturday, including Peter Grant who will share some history about the hotel and the role it has played in Whitianga through the years.

The Whitianga Hotel was first established by Thomas Carina, an eastern European immigrant, and originally had its own stone wharf which had been built to accommodate logging ships and the local milling industry. As a licenced establishment, the hotel was a natural place of meeting and entertainment for those who worked in logging and milling. In the mid 1900s, as the logging and milling industries were replaced by dairy farming, the hotel became more of a holiday destination attracting groups of eager fishermen and later the growing numbers of local visitors wanting to holiday in Mercury Bay. Now, 150 years on, as the summer season approaches, the hotel’s staff will grow from 25 full-time to 80 full-time and part-time employees as this landmark destination once again becomes the place for locals and visitors alike to meet.

“We’re really looking forward to sharing celebration on Saturday with the community. We’ll be open from around 12:00 noon so come along, bring the family and enjoy some great hospitality. We’ll also be officially opening our newly-renovated garden bar and we’ll follow it all with the All-Blacks taking on Tonga live at 2:30pm. It should be a great day,” said Arron.

Pictured: An earlier version of The Whitianga Hotel (in the background), before it was destroyed by fire.


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