Pub closed after owner-lessee feud

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 06:41 06/08/2014
Manakau Hotel

BAD RUN: Manakau Hotel owner Adrienne Powell outside her pub in Manakau, which has been closed for the second time.

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The Manakau Hotel has closed again after becoming the pub with no beer for the second time in a year.

The old country pub, built in 1920, closed about four weeks ago, after owner Adrienne Powell evicted Riwai McGhie, who leased and ran it for three months.

Powell said there had been reports of family parties, family staying in the guest rooms, and of the pub getting beer from a supermarket when it ran out.

McGhie admitted owing Powell money, and occasionally getting his mother to buy supermarket beer. But he denied holding parties in the pub, except for the day he was due to leave, and accused Powell and her husband of unnecessary interference.

"From the first day [the Powells] did not leave me or my partner alone . . . they were there every day trying to run the business," he said.

The pub first closed around Christmas last year when Powell's niece was running it. Guest rooms were found fouled with dog, sheep and human excrement. At the time, police said there had been a big "leer-up" that got out of control.

A pub patron told The Dominion Post a lamb had been running around in nappies, and it and two dogs were kept in upstairs bedrooms, later found littered with excrement.

Powell closed the pub, saying at the time she was determined the "grand old lady" should reopen.

After bedding was replaced and a major clean-up, it opened again about three months ago.

But tensions escalated between Powell and McGhie, to the point at which he trespassed her from her own hotel.

A patron said family parties were held at the pub and, when it ran out of keg beer from major suppliers, someone would go to New World in Otaki to get bottles.

Powell said she and her husband realised their errors in choosing lessees.

"We apologise for letting patrons and businesses down . . . we made errors in judgment . . . we cannot afford to do this any longer."

They were looking at selling the hotel unless they could get a manager so the pub could reopen.

McGhie denied holding parties, but said the day he was due to leave he and his family "had a drink, but it wasn't anything excessive".

He admitted owing the Powells money. "I am in debt. I have to start ticking away at that."

He said his mother did runs to the supermarket for stock, and occasionally they ran out. He ran the taps dry the night before he left, he said, as he had planned to change suppliers.

He enjoyed his time at the pub, and the community support he received, but said he would investigate owners more carefully before running another hotel.

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- The Dominion Post

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