Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

20 October 2009

Marumaru Tavern, Eastland

I wrote and illustrated ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. It was published in 1995 and was a snapshot of some New Zealand pubs as they were at the end of the 20th century. I have decided to share some of the entries from the book from time to time on this blog.

I came down from a visit to the Tuai Power Station, just below Lake Waikaremoana, at a height where snow flurries had made me keen to seek a better climate at sea level. I had turned at Frasertown to take the inland road to Gisborne and soon, at a point exactly where a traveller in times past would have welcomed food, drink and warm shelter, I found the Marumaru Tavern.

It lies among peaceful hills north of Wairoa, a little time-worn hut with all the characteristics of a good old Kiwi pub. It was once an accommodation hotel that was able to serve not only travellers and farmers but also, having one hundred acres of its own grounds, drovers moving cattle along the Wairoa valley. Supported, these days, by loyal locals, hunters, fishers and passers-by, the tavern is a popular meeting place, especially at the time of the Easter Pig Hunting Competition.

The Marumaru Tavern was built by James Archibald Fletcher in the 1890s just a few years after Captain Preece, with his Arawa Flying Column making the last expedition of the New Zealand Wars in pursuit of Te Kooti, passed through on his way to Wairoa to obtain rations and clothing for his men.

The inland road to Gisborne is also famous, farther north, for Te Reinga Falls and the breathtaking Poverty Bay panorama from Gentle Annie Hill.


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By Don Donovan