The site of Kaikohe's former historic hotel will feature in a university challenge with quiz master Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngapuhi hoping for some creative answers.

The runanga owns the vacant plot on the town's main street, Broadway, and is keen to explore options that might bring new life to the site where the Kaikohe Hotel and its predecessors stood for at least 120 years.

Iwi development leader Tania Pene said that as part of a preliminary study, the runanga has engaged University of Auckland's School of Architecture and Planning to bring some ideas to the bar.

The aim is to ultimately develop a space that reflects the district's bicultural nature and also speaks of its history.


Ms Pene said the runanga also hopes its plan to invite creative ideas and solutions for the run-down site will provide a "buzz" for Kaikohe and its neighbouring area.

"This development, we believe, will contribute to community pride and community spirit in Kaikohe, setting the scene for the community to contribute to what may be an iconic development that reflects the bicultural spirit of Kaikohe."

School of Architecture and Planning students will be out and about on Broadway in Kaikohe on Saturday between 10am-11.30am, gauging public feeling about what might be done at the site.

"There will be further opportunities for the community to share their views as well," Ms Pene said. "We are approaching [Far North District] council, community boards and Kaikohe Business Association for support and input."

The hotel's glory days included the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip waving to the crowd from the veranda in 1953.

The derelict pub with no beer sat slumped in its prime location for several years until bought in 2013 by Te Runanga-a-iwi o Ngapuhi for $287,000.

It was declared a dangerous building early in 2014, and "deconstructed" plank by plank.

Since then a volunteer group has attempted to turn the site into a youth zone, and it has been party central at the culmination of the town's Christmas parades, housing a bouncy castle and ferris wheel.

The runanga envisages an inclusive wider process staged across a four to five-year period, looking at the vision, relationships, research, consultation and development options, Ms Pene said. As an interim measure the unglamorous eyesore on Broadway will be tidied up.