An historic Levin pub with a chequered history has shut the bar and is being converted into apartments.

The notorious pub has made headlines over the years for many varied misdemeanours, such as:

• A sheep being kept in the bar with a diaper on
• Dogs being kept in upstairs rooms
• Human and animal excrement strewn about the premises
• A noisy Che Fu gig which outraged surrounding resident, forcing the plug to be pulled on the concert.

The hotel shut its doors about a month ago and the building's owners since 2007, John and Adrienne Powell, have been converting the building into self-contained apartments to rent.

The memorial wall at the hotel harkens back to more glorious times.
The memorial wall at the hotel harkens back to more glorious times.

Tenants will also have access to a communal lounge area with a pool table and a large garden.

Viewings were held on Monday with a Harveys property manager for two upstairs apartments - a four-bedroom and a two-bedroom. A downstairs apartment has been let.

The hotel, a prominent and attractive old building near SH1, has over the past few years had multiple operators and been in the news repeatedly for a range of controversies.

In early 2014, media reported on human and animal excrement found in the building, dogs kept upstairs, a sheep wearing nappies in the bar, and the leaseholder letting the building interior fall into disrepair.

In mid-2014, media reported that new leaseholders left after just three months in business, with allegations of unpaid bills and interference from the hotel's owner.

Last December, its then-new operators held a gig by well-known rapper Che Fu shut down early due to multiple noise complaints. The licensing authority subsequently clamped down on their licensed hours.

Che Fu performs to a packed Manakau Hotel in December, 2016.
Che Fu performs to a packed Manakau Hotel in December, 2016.

A subsequent leaseholder ran the hotel for about six months before calling it quits last month, Mr Powell said. He said country pubs all around New Zealand were struggling.

Mrs Powell said multiple leaseholders had not been able to make a success of the hotel and running it as rental accommodation would give people the opportunity to live in an iconic building with a lovely garden.


"It will make a very enjoyable home for people to live in. We are sad we have let people down who liked to come in for a meal, but it's a sign of the times and we are looking forward to having people get enjoyment from living there," Mrs Powell said.

Hotel neighbour Judy Webby, who had spoken in opposition to hotel leaseholders at licensing hearings, and who had been kept awake by music from the venue, said it was a good idea to turn the building into residential accommodation.

"It could be a magnificent home to live in, and I really hope it works," she said.

Meanwhile, Manakau residents wanting a drink or meal can still walk to a neighbourhood pub - as long as crossing SH1 after a few beers does not concern them - with the highway-side Deer Story Museum opposite the village offering a bar.