Residents keen to make pub hub

The Pateoroa Hotel will be the focus of a meeting next week to see if there is enough interest...
The Pateoroa Hotel will be the focus of a meeting next week to see if there is enough interest and money in the surrounding community to buy the hotel. PHOTO: JULIE ASHER
Keeping a community hub is the reason a group of Patearoa residents are keen to buy the village’s pub.

But it comes with a hefty price tag amidst tough times in the rural sector.

Returned resident Peter Jopson, who married his wife Doreen in Patearoa "40-odd years ago", moved back to the area about three years ago after living in Australia and other parts of New Zealand.

The Jopsons are part of a group in the village, about a 12-minute drive from Ranfurly, who hope to get enough local interest and money together to buy The Patearoa Hotel.

The tavern closed its doors late last month.

In December, Patearoa Tavern 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 having a 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.

The group looking to take over the pub are planning a meeting for next week.

While there was a rugby and a bowls club it would be good to have a centre where people could get together, Mr Jopson said.

The community had no shop and lacked opportunities to catch up with others in the area.

It would take some work to upgrade the tavern, which has a sale price of $480,000, but the group wanted it to become a place for families to come for a meal and serve as a hub for the community.

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

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

Times were difficult for farmers just now and that flowed through the community so they would have to see how the meeting went.

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.