Tin Hut tavern gets a new lease on life

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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The Tin Hut in Tauherenikau, one of Wairarapa's oldest pubs, will reopen its doors next month. PHOTO/FILE
The Tin Hut in Tauherenikau, one of Wairarapa's oldest pubs, will reopen its doors next month. PHOTO/FILE

One of Wairarapa's oldest and most well-loved pubs, the Tin Hut, is set to reopen next month.

The pub, which is almost 160 years old and situated on State Highway 2 at Tauherenikau, has provided a livelihood for more than 50 publicans, the last of whom shut up shop late last year.

Marcus Darley bought the dilapidated hotel in 2004 and completely refurbished it, transforming it into a popular, family-friendly venue which attracted clientele from throughout Wairarapa, the Hutt Valley and Wellington.

Mr Darley held the lease on the business until 2012, when he let it to a couple who "decided quite suddenly to not renew their lease" in December last year.

In the months since the Tin Hut had closed, Mr Darley said he had been inundated with comments from people who missed the rural tavern.

He said it was "fantastic" he had found someone who grew up in Wairarapa to reopen the business "as a tavern and restaurant with good country food".

Kate Sullivan, new publican to the Tin Hut, is giving the old hotel a new fit-out before reopening its doors to the public next month.

She said she was looking forward to taking over the iconic pub and was excited for a new challenge.

Mr Darley said the building was in the process of being "totally refitted out with brand spanking new furniture and a paint job".

He said the venue would shortly be "running as it was when I ran it for eight years".

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

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.

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