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Summer loving at the Whakataki

The Whakataki [also known as the Castlepoint Hotel] is flying through its first summer operating under new ownership.

The three new owners – Jason Le Grove, Jason Osborne, and Ash Thomas – told the Times-Age in October that they wanted to have fun with the investment, and Osborne confirmed yesterday that’s exactly what the summer weeks have brought.

He said their New Year’s event with a live band playing at the pub brought nearly 300 people to the spot and that the time since had been buzzing with locals and holidaymakers.

“We were aware that Christmas through to the first weeks in January would be the busiest time of year, which they’ve proved to be,” Osborne said.

“We’re trying to create a nice atmosphere and vibe, a family atmosphere. People can enjoy a lovely meal and a chat and a couple of cold beverages.

“Our regulars are really important to us. When they walk in, we want them to be greeted with their drink.”

He noted it “definitely didn’t hurt” that the road out to the coast was tidied up before Christmas, making the trip more inviting for those coming in from out of the area.

“The road is 100 times better than it was, they did a fantastic job – it was all pretty much cleared up by Christmas,” Osborne said.

“Prior to that, there were three to four areas where you had to stop and wait.”

Chuffed that the menu has been on the receiving end of a raft of compliments, Osborne was quick to credit their team working in the kitchen.

“We’ve got some fantastic chefs in there, and they’re doing a superb job, so we’re really proud of that.”

Looking forward, Osborne said it will probably take a year before they know what direction the business will take them.

“While it’s pretty busy at the moment, we’re aware winter will be a really tough period for us,” Osborne said.

“So we’re just trying to make the most of summer with a lot of people here.”

For the rest of the hotter months, this includes supporting Castlepoint’s fishing competition, the Battle of the Babes women’s fishing competition, and the Castlepoint Races.

Osborne said they also want to keep focusing on showcasing local musicians, with a festival-like scenario potentially on the horizon featuring multiple performers on the same day.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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