Historic tavern in new hands

by Andy Bryenton

Dargaville’s iconic and historic Northern Wairoa Hotel has seen many eras come and go, from the colonial age to the time of the gumdiggers, through to the end of sail and the rise of steam on the river that lies only a short walk from its doors.

Now another era draws to a close, as new owners are set to take up the title deed mid-February.

As a publican and restauranteur with experience all over New Zealand, outgoing Northern Wairoa boss Darryl says that he’s been particularly fond of his tenure here. During five years he’s made friends, refurbished the grand old building, contributed to charitable appeals, such as helping provide a new ambulance for Dargaville, and hosted some memorable parties.

That’s why, as new owners come to take up the legacy of this grand old monument to Kaipara hospitality, he says that he’s planning to bow out gracefully, but in style. First of all, putting on a classic Valentine’s Day dinner for local lovers; Darryl says that there are few fine dining options available for couples to enjoy on Cupid’s big day and that bubbles and silver cutlery will definitely be ready at the Northern Wairoa for the 14th.

Secondly, he’s booked rocking covers band Zefferluv for a final-night blowout, a big party on the 15th which will send off his tenure with some last pints, some live music and good times. Not that the gregarious publican is going far. Despite handing over the reins to fresh talent, he’s been won over by the charms of Dargaville and will return (after a brief holiday) to build his family a new home here. For now, Darryl insists that his plan is to relax and enjoy the sherry for a while. There’s no knowing what this community-minded entrepreneur may think of next. In the meanwhile, he and his team would like to offer their heartfelt thanks to all their patrons over the past half-decade. Come along on the 15th and celebrate new beginnings!