Patearoa locals hope to buy village hotel

The Patearoa pub. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Patearoa pub. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Why buy your mate a beer when you could buy him a pub — and he could return the favour?

Patearoa residents began a series of meetings this week to preserve their community hub by forming a company to buy the local hotel.

Peter Jopson was part of a group in the village, about 12 minutes’ drive from Ranfurly, who hoped to get enough local interest and money together to buy the Patearoa hotel, which closed its doors late last month.

In December, its co-owner, Lewis Norman, told the Otago Daily Times he was looking to close the doors of the tavern but was talking to locals and hoped they would want to take over the running of the hotel.

Mr Norman and his partner, Sophie Newbegin, had owned the business for three and a-half years.

The couple had three children, all of primary school age and running a tavern was not conducive to family life.

The pub, in its current form, dates from 1928 and is on the site of the original hostelry — built by Thomas Newton in 1887 — which burnt down in 1927.

Mr Jopson said while there was a rugby and a bowls club in the village it would be good to have a centre where people could get together.

There was no shop and few opportunities to catch up with others in the area.

It would take some work to upgrade the pub, which has a sale price of $480,000, but they would like it to be a place for families to come for a meal.

Country pubs were less about alcohol consumption and more about social connection, he said.

A meeting was held on Monday to see how many people were keen and how much money they would be able to chip in.

More meetings will be held before any decision is made.

The plan was to form a board to manage the business and lease daily operation to someone with "skin in the game", he said.

Last month the Waikaka Hotel, in Southland, reopened under a similar business model.