Mill Stream Walkway Historic Features
From Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 21: NEW CENTRAL HOTEL WAIHI By Stella Wills.
First built at the turn of the century, one of many in the town that catered to miners and travellers.
It was one of the finest hostelries in town.
Built by Mr E. Morgan, it had 75 rooms and was called originally the New Central Hotel.
With Waihi continuing to prosper the hotel could not help but do likewise and it soon became well known for its superior qualities. Visiting mine officials enjoyed the hospitality shown by the first proprietors, Mr and Mrs M.G. Power [Maurice Goggan or Groggan Power - E] and many distinguished names were to appear in the guest book. Waihi was the railhead in those days, and visitors to the Bay of Plenty would stay at the Central before leaving for Tauranga by coach.
After the district was voted "dry" in 1908 (Ohinemuri "no license", 1908-1926), the hotel was run as a private hotel. During the 1912 strike, the hotel housed the extra policemen sent from Auckland.
With a declining population the Central lost even more trade, but once again a tragedy brought it temporary relief. When the influenza epidemic hit Waihi after the First World War the hotel became a hospital. Patients who recovered may have appreciated their elegant surroundings but all too many were taken down that curved staircase in coffins.
Not long after the epidemic it was decided to move the hotel to Rotorua where it would be suitable for tourist accommodation.
Mr Joe Ashby, who still lives in Waihi, was the man who carted the sections of the hotel to the Waihi station in his horse-drawn wagon. It was taken to pieces board by board, and every nail taken out as well. A Waihi builder, Mr N. Rowe, supervised the operation.
The timber and fittings were taken to Rotorua by rail and it is believed that the original builder, Mr Morgan, was again employed to reassemble it.
The structure remained almost unchanged and when finished was named the Prince’s Gate Hotel to complement the gates at the domain.
Today, if one looks carefully, the joins can be seen but the twice-built hotel is as solid as ever.
In Waihi children’s playground at the corner of Kenny St and Barry Rd marks the site where the hotel stood a lifetime ago.
Fred Carbutt, in Journal 22 says: Today half of this Hotel is in good repair in Rotorua, known as the Prince’s Gate Hotel, while the other half of the Central Hotel was also shifted to Rotorua in 1921. This portion was known as the "Rising Sun" Hotel which has since been destroyed by fire.
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
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