South Rakaia Hotel
This old hotel is still situated at what was originally termed ’
As I understand it, the main township was first situated on the northern bank of the
where the Canterbury Provincial Railway, the first locomotive railway in had
its terminus. New Zealand
During the early 1870’s, the first Rakaia bridge was constructed; this was to eventually change the township for ever.
Even though Ashburton was to later steal much of Rakaia’s thunder this little village still retained some prominence.
At about the same time as the new bridge was built, I think in 1872, Mr B. Robinson, for the cost of eight hundred pound, built the first part of this old hotel at
I am led to believe that the foundations came from the tops of the bridge piles when surplus sections were removed. Timber for hotel’s construction however, was milled on
Peninsula and floated across ,
to be carted the remainder of the journey by horse and dray. Lake Ellesmere
It is said this is one of five hotels and accommodation houses to be built on either side of the
in those early years. Rail and road travellers stayed over at the
South Rakaia Hotel, also those who waited for the floodwaters of the
treacherous Rakaia to recede. Rakaia River
Some of the more colourful moments in the hotels history are a delight.
It has been known for an occasional saddle horse to breast up to the bar, ridden in there by a thirsty rider, or perhaps it was just for the devilment. But then the dining room was not to be outdone, once hosting an impromptu blade sheep shearing contest, where they say Kiwi and Aussie shearers battled it out.
One of the South Rakaia Hotel’s colourful owners was a man by the name of (Flash) Jack McKendry. He is said to have taken his racehorse to
contest the Auckland Cup, where his horse, against all odds, won the Cup. Auckland
On the way home he celebrated his win by purchasing the South Rakaia Hotel. He must have been well and truly taken with the place, for he stayed all of thirty five years.
Rakaia was definitely renowned for its fishing all over the world and probably for its fishing stories. One story had me in stitches. See, it went something like this: -
One of the local identities was in the bar this hot day partaking of a cool beer, when a stranger walked in.
The stranger ordered his beer and stood there supping away, until a local sidled up to him, ‘Gidday! I caught twenty fish in the Rakaia yesterday.’
The stranger turned and looked the local up and down for a minute.
‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Nah, I don’t mate.’
‘Well, I happen to be the District Fisheries Ranger!’
‘Get away,’ smiled the local, plonking his beer on the bar. ‘Good to see you,’ he said puffing out his chest. ‘Well, I bet you don’t know who I am,’.
‘You’re right there’ said the Ranger pulling a notebook out of his pocket. ‘Tell me your name.’
‘Me! ____ Mate, me names Ron Mead, and I am the biggest bloody liar in Rakaia.’
Have a nice day