Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Pub's owners vow to rebuild after fire

It is believed the blaze began at the Waitomo pub when a deep fryer caught fire.  Photo / Zara Hammond
It is believed the blaze began at the Waitomo pub when a deep fryer caught fire. Photo / Zara Hammond

The owners of Waitomo pub Curly's have vowed to rebuild after it was destroyed by fire.

Christen "Crusty" Dimond and Ian "Curly" McErlich, who are still in shock over the fire which started when the deep fryer caught fire due to a suspected thermostat fault, were yesterday coming up with a plan on how to fill the gap while the landmark pub was rebuilt.

Mr Dimond, who also owns Kiwi Paka Backpackers with Mr McErlich, said they were looking at a temporary site such as the rugby club to run a pub from so they could cater to the local market. In-house guests would be catered for in the hostel's Morepork cafe.

"It's probably going to affect Waitomo ... because people will maybe not stay here as long because there's no pub or drinking and eating spot," Mr Dimond said.

"Like any country village - whatever you want to call us - it's the hub of the community really. We've had messages and condolences and best wishes from all around the world.

A huge amount of tourists go through there and there's some bloody good times and people have got 40-odd years of memories."

Fire investigators were on-site yesterday determining the cause of the fire and the insurers were also assessing the damage.

- NZ Herald

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