Waverley Hotel reopens and welcomes new face

By John Maslin

Mareta Kahukaka is the new face pulling pints and dispensing good humour at the Waverley Hotel.

This is the fourth week since the hotel's re-opened its doors with Ms Kahukaka reviving a business which had previously been closed for some months.

She is leasing the hotel - owned by her mother-in-law - but getting behind the bar is not new to her.

Before taking on the lease she was working part-time at the Oasis Hotel in Waiouru, which is owned by her father, and part-time at the Waiouru Army Museum. Some years earlier she had worked for about 11 years in the hotel she is now looking after.

"I was working for so many other people I thought I may as well take on something for myself," she said.

"It was also a chance to help my mother-in-law out because the doors had been closed."

Ms Kahukaka works every day the hotel is open, getting some help in the bar from a friend, a chef, who is in the process of getting the restaurant up and running.

The restaurant will open on January 7.

"It won't just be counter food. She's got some very good ideas and will be putting on meals that people would usually travel through to Wanganui or Hawera to enjoy," she said.

She said the re-opening had been embraced by the locals. "They're just happy to get their pub back."

Waverley is not a big place yet it has two hotels on opposite sides of SH3 which runs through the township.

But Ms Kahukaka said both establishments had their dedicated customers.

"The farmers go to the Clarendon and the farm workers come to our place," she said.

She said generations of people have made the Waverley Hotel their watering hole and said each week since she re-opened business has improved.

Looking ahead, Ms Kahukaka said the possible construction of the wind farm on the Waverley coast would be good for business.

The Waverley Hotel is also on Facebook and Ms Kahukaka said anyone was welcome to post their comments.

"If we get enough 'likes' for one thing we'll look at doing it or introducing it," she said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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