Last call for the Tin Hut pub

By Hayley Gastmeierhayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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The Tin Hut in Tauherenikau has closed. PHOTO/FILE
The Tin Hut in Tauherenikau has closed. PHOTO/FILE

The popular country pub in Tauherenikau -- The Tin Hut -- is shut for business.

The pub is one of the oldest in Wairarapa, at almost 160 years old, and has provided a livelihood for well over 50 publicans.

A sign on the door reads: "This business is now closed and the premises and grounds are now occupied by residential tenants."

Marcus Darley bought the dilapidated hotel 11 years ago and completely refurbished it inside and out -- transforming it into a popular family-friendly venue which attracted clientele from throughout the Wairarapa Valley, the Hutt Valley and Wellington region.

Mr Darley was the licensee for seven years, and Matt Pearce and Lisa Ewart, both from Masterton, had been the publicans since late 2012.

On The Tin Hut Facebook page a message was posted by Ms Ewart on December 16, 2015.

"Matt and I are moving on and cannot thank everyone enough for the support you have given us over the past 3 years," the message read.

"It has been an incredible journey we will never forget, or for that matter want to."

The Times-Age attempted to contact Mr Darley regarding the old hotel's future, but he could not be reached.

Where The Tin Hut stands was originally the Tauherenikau Hotel, which opened in 1857, three years after Greytown -- New Zealand's oldest planned inland town -- was established.

In 1923, the pub was destroyed by fire and a temporary licence was granted for alcohol to be sold from a premises over the road while The Tin Hut was rebuilt.

It was one of several pubs built along or near rivers in Wairarapa, operating with what were known as "bush licences", which were partly designed to cater for early day travellers who became stranded because of floods.

For nearly a decade, The Tin Hut has been home to the Cross Creek Blues Club, which holds regular club meetings and gigs there, making it a major musical attraction for Wairarapa.

Spokeswoman for the Cross Creek Blues Club Linda Sorensen said the closure of The Tin Hut was a loss to the whole community.

She said the club was in the process of looking for another suitable South Wairarapa venue to hold meetings and gigs.

"But it has to be very special -- The Tin Hut was very special."

The club is set to host American guitarist Ruth Wyand in March and blues and roots guitarist Nick Charles, from Australia, in April.

"I'm sure we'll have a venue for them," Ms Sorensen said.

"We had nine wonderful years there and it's been an absolutely wonderful venue. It will be a big loss not just to the blues club but will be for the whole Wairarapa region."

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