Waitomo News : 20 February 2014
Waitomo NeWs Thursday, February 20, 2014 5 WAITOMO’s iconic Curlys Bar is rising from the ashes and patrons are getting ready to quench their thirst again at the popular watering hole. The roof is on, the walls are going up and the plan is to be open for Easter. Te Awamutu property valuer Vance Wini- ata, who is managing the tavern rebuild project on behalf of the land and building owners – Tanetinorau Opataia Whanau Trust – says there were a number of com- pliance matters to satisfy with the insurer before the rebuild got underway. “There were some pretty big hoops for us to jump through, but that’s behind us now and construction kicked off in early Decem- ber,” he says. “The roof’s on now and it should be closed in by the end of the week.” BACKGROUND Curlys was razed to the ground on No- vember 21, 2012 in a spectacular inferno attended by 12 fire trucks from Te Kui- ti, Otorohanga and Te Awamutu and the Hazmat Command Centre from Hamilton. (Waitomo News, November 27, 2012) The chip vat caught fire and within minutes fierce flames tore throughout the wooden building. It was beyond saving by the time firefighters arrived. Luckily part-owner Ian ‘Curly’ McErlich, the chef and four patrons were the only peo- ple inside the bar when the fire started. He and his business partner Christen ‘Crusty’ Dimond were forced to watch the building burn to the ground. Standing in the ashes the day after the men vowed to rebuild. “People were consoling us, saying they were sorry for our loss, as if someone had passed away,” Mr Dimond said at the time. “Curlys had been the centre of their uni- verse. We ran the country from here. We’ll be rebuilding and Curly should be pouring the first beers within a year.” PROGRESS Although it’s been a more than a year, Mr Winiata is pleased with the progress. “The hardest part was getting off the ground, but once the insurer was satisfied, we’ve rolled on quite smoothly,” he says. “Given that it was an insurance claim, the trick was getting release of the full funds for the rebuild. “The building was insured for replace- ment value so obviously the insurers wanted to make sure the rebuild is an equivalent structure. “Te Awamutu commercial construction company Livingstone has the contract and is doing a fantastic job. We’re ahead of sched- ule at the moment.” The new tavern has a rustic country de- sign in keeping with other projects the trust is considering for adjoining land, and Kiwi Paka backpackers behind Curlys. It will be made of colour steel and alumin- ium joinery with polished concrete floors, double glazing and exposed trusses. Mr Winiata declined to put a value on the rebuild, saying the numbers are sensitive to the trust. “The tavern is almost ready for Curly and Crusty to dress up and theme as they wish. They’ve had a fair bit of input into the new Cheers all-round for iconic bar rebuild OPEN BY EASTER: Vance Winiata (left) manager of the rebuild of Curlys Bar for land and building own- ers, Tanetinorau Opataia Whanau Trust, checks on progress with business partners Ian ‘Curly’ McErlich and Christen ‘Crusty’ Dimond and Livingstone site manager Caleb Jacobsen. design which I’m happy about. “There is huge community support for the bar and the trust is very pleased to be reinstating it.” He says there’s been a huge industry shift from the “booze barns” of the 1970s when the old Curlys was built, to the more family- oriented restaurant/cafe bars of today. He says it became apparent the old design no longer fitted with changes in the hospital- ity industry. “We’ve tried to move with those trends so the internal layout is very different from the old bar. And the boys have put their own touch on it. “It’s taken a little time, but I invited Curly and Crusty to participate in the de- sign because, as tenants, I wanted them to be happy. “Obviously I had to stick to a budget, so there aren’t any gold-plated taps, but in saying that I believe they’re very happy with the end result. “Workers are more likely to pick up the family after a hard day and go out for a drink and a meal so the new tavern will satisfy a much wider cross-section of patrons.” A new long lease has been put in place to reflect the investment by the trust and the tenants.
18 February 2014
25 February 2014