Purchase exciting ‘culturally and commercially’

Treated wastewater will no longer be discharged on the beach near the Moeraki Boulders. Photo:...
Photo: Roy Sinclair
Coastal North Otago’s distinctive Moeraki Boulders Restaurant and Gift Shop has been sold to investment company Moeraki Ltd, which is owned by Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.

In a statement on Wednesday, Moeraki Ltd chairman Trevor McGlinchey said the business appealed as an investment "because it sits above our taonga, Te Kaihinaki (Moeraki Boulders)".

"It’s exciting, both culturally and commercially. It will enable us to deepen the connection between the boulders and mana whenua and empower us to share our stories. We’re growing our cultural footprint within our takiwā," he said.

It would be Moeraki Ltd’s first active business purchase since being established in 2002 and focusing on investment.

Takeover is this Friday.

Vicki Waaka, co-owner of Nosh Cafe in Ashburton, would manage the business while the current owners would stay on for four months to support the transition.

She was looking forward to refurbishing the space to reflect the cultural significance of the place.

The restaurant was built and opened in 1986 by Hampden identities, the late Hugh and Trixie Muldrew, after a long battle to get planning approval. They ran it for about five years before retiring and it has since had various owners, including Ngai Tahu.

Barry and Patsy Johnston bought it in 2006, and their son and daughter-in-law Scott and Sarah joined them in 2008 to operate the gift shop and cafe. In 2022, Mr Johnston said the business was on the market as the family was looking to a new chapter in their lives.