Friday, 13 September 2013

The Second Tauranga Hotel

Tauranga Hotel, c. 1908
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 99-615
Following the 1881 fire John Chadwick rebuilt his Tauranga Hotel and John Menzies applied again for the licence.1

Like its predecessor the hotel provided rooms for public and club meetings, commercial travellers’ samples, coroners’ inquests, and luncheons and accommodation for important visitors to the town. In June 1883 the Maori King, Tawhiao stayed at the hotel and  “despite his loyalty to the Queen, Tawhiao has decided Fenian proclivities” was not sufficient to put off a welcome by Tauranga residents and school children although some of the leading local Maori were noticeably absent.2

John Menzies junior took over the licence after his father’s death in 1885 and sold to AH Fisher. Because of debts he signed an agreement not to commence business again within seven miles of Tauranga but tried to circumvent this by setting his wife up as licencee of the Star, now the Menzies Star Hotel, in Spring Street. In the colourful language of the day Fisher called Menzies for trying to avoid an agreement by a ‘sidewind’.3  WJ Suiter & Co to whom the debt was owed pointed out that the reason Mrs Menzies had left Tauranga was the great pain occasioned to her remaining eye by being compelled to look at the white shells on the Strand. “Has her eye suddenly got well again?4

Advertisement, The Bay of Plenty Times, 19 Dec 1892
Image courtesy of Papers Past
It was at this time that the Inspector of Nuisances raised the issue of the unsanitary drains from all the hotels on The Strand and Devonport Road whose cesspits drained into the harbour.  In 1891 John Chadwick died and Messrs. Ehrenfried bought the building while David Asher became the licencee. Asher was a popular host and held the licence for fourteen years. In 1903 his son Albert was chosen to play in the New Zealand Representative Football Team for an Australian tour.5

Tauranga Hotel fire, 1936, Postcard
Image courtesy of Tauranga City Library Ref. 03-128
In February 1936 a fire broke out in the staff quarters and once again the Tauranga Hotel and adjacent shops were destroyed. At this fire there was a fire brigade in attendance but they could not save anything and the licencee KJ Rennie escaped with just the cash. One of the shopkeepers intent on saving his stock narrowly avoided succumbing to smoke inhalation.6


1. BOPT 9 May 1882
2. BOPT 6 July 1883
3. BOPT 10 June 1887
4. BOPT 24 June 1887
5. Auckland Star 31 August 1903
6. Evening Post 17 February 1936

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