Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

18 November 2009

The Rat Trap Re-visited

I wrote and illustrated ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. It was published in 1995 it 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.

The book contained 37 pubs, inns, taverns or hotels (call them what you will). This is the final page.

On 19 May 1994 The Upper Takaka Tavern, for years affectionately known as ‘The Rat Trap’, suffered the same fate as many other pubs in New Zealand’s history.

At the time I wrote and illustrated this book, the latest such fires had been on 26 October 1994 at the Burkes Pass Hotel, the central portion of which was 133 years old, and on 4 February 1995 at the New Empire Hotel, Hamilton. Perhaps ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ may serve as a reminder that the old pubs, which, like old soldiers, seem fated slowly to fade away, were much more than drinking holes; they played a big part in the social, economic and geographical development of the New Zealand we have today and so deserve a valued place in our history.

Don Donovan, Albany, 1995 [Re-published 2012]


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By Don Donovan