Opotiki Hotel

130 Church Street, Opotiki

  • Opotiki Hotel. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 1/04/2018.
  • Opotiki Hotel. CC Licence 3.0 Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Ulrich Lange - Wikimedia Commons . Taken By: Ulrich Lange, Bochum, Germany. Date: 1/02/2010.
  • Opotiki Hotel 2007.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: K Pfeiffer .

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 3499 Date Entered 5th April 1984


City/District Council

Opotiki District


Bay of Plenty Region

Legal description

Pt Allots 31 32 Sec 1 Town of Opotiki


The Opotiki Hotel is one of several notable examples of hotel architecture in Opotiki, reflecting the town's role as a major commercial centre in the eastern Bay of Plenty. Located on one of the major thoroughfares in the town, the timber hotel was erected in 1904 as a replacement for an earlier establishment on the same site that had burnt to the ground. The two-storey building was erected within two months of the disaster, and is said to have been imported by sea from the Coromandel Peninsula, where it may have serviced the goldfields. The hotel licence was retained in the meantime by operating temporary premises in a corrugated iron shed on the site. The new building offered accommodation to travellers and residential guests, with the first proprietor believed to have been F. Little. At the time of its construction, the structure was the closest hotel to the main wharves, which lay at the western end of Kelly Street. Long-term residents included the only doctor in the district during the first years of the 1900s, Dr John Hood. Hotels were often the only place in Opotiki where sick or injured bushmen and settlers from outlying areas could be treated and convalesce.

A two-storeyed structure with a hipped roof, the building initially measured 23 x 20 metres (74 x 64 feet). It was erected as a large, square-fronted structure, with a timber frame and horizontal weatherboard cladding. Its ornate balcony and verandah, as well as its main entrance, all faced onto Church Street - the main commercial thoroughfare in the town. This arrangement differed from that of the earlier hotel, which had a plain facade and a corner entrance at the junction of Church and Kelly. The upper storey contained a guest lounge and numerous bedrooms, while the bars, kitchens and dining room were located on the ground floor. The replacement of a plain building with a more refined structure can be seen partly as a response to the growing influence of the temperance movement, which had vigorous proponents in Opotiki towards the end of the nineteenth century. Its emphasis on 'respectable' accommodation also gave it a more acceptable face. Subsequent owners included D. C. Hawkins, whose daughter Yvonne married the prominent band leader, Epi Shalfoon (1904-1953) (see 'De Luxe Theatre, Opotiki'). Modifications to the building have included the addition of wholesale liquor outlet on Kelly Street in the early 1990s. Still used for its original purpose, the building retains many original elements. These include a substantially intact upstairs floorplan, and internal details such as an elaborate newel post to the main staircase which connects the two floors.

The Opotiki Hotel is one of a valuable group of historic hotels in Opotiki, which demonstrate the changing style of provincial establishments in the early twentieth century. It has the oldest external appearance of any surviving hotel in the town. The building has played an important role in the social life of the community for a century, still retaining its original use. It is linked to everyday aspects of New Zealand life, such as recreation and medical care in a pioneer town. The structure demonstrates Opotiki's prosperity in the early twentieth century and may reflect commercial links with the Coromandel at that time. It may also reflect attitudes to buildings as portable commodities during the early twentieth century. The hotel has important streetscape values, occupying an extensive frontage in the commercial heart of Opotiki. The building has associations with other structures in the historic urban centre, including the former Shalfoon and Francis shops, which were erected at a near-identical time. Reflecting the location of a much older hotel, the building is part of an important historical and archaeological landscape dating to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

Registration covers the building, its fixtures and finishes. It also includes recent modifications. The building may be associated with nineteenth-century and earlier archaeological deposits, including those linked with the previous hotel.

Construction Dates

1884 -
Site of first Opotiki Hotel (destroyed by fire)

Original Construction
1904 -
Construction of second Opotiki Hotel (possibly relocated from the Coromandel Peninsula)

1982 -
Chimney removed

One bay of balcony closed in

Wholesale liquor outlet extension

Completion Date

19th June 2003

Report Written By

Martin Jones & Shirley Arabin

Information Sources

Auckland Weekly News

Auckland Weekly News

15 September 1904, p.19; 17 November 1904

Bradbury, 1922

E. Bradbury (ed.), The Settlement and Development of the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 3rd edition, Auckland, 1922

Clark, 1977

Lindsay Clark (ed.), Opotiki 100 Years: 1877-1977, Whakatane, 1977

Connor, 1994

Kath Connor, Narena Olliver and Annabel Allan, Opotiki:the Women's Stories/Nga Pura Kau a Nga Wahine, Opotiki, 1994


Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Reo Shalfoon, 'Shalfoon, Gareeb Stephen 1904-1953' in Claudia Orange (ed.), Vol. 4 1921-1940, Wellington, 1998

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.