Graham Hotel Tararu

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This is picture of the
The hotel was renovated from The GRAHAM HOTEL that was shipped from Tararu approx 1875/6

Courtesy of Timeframes, Alexander Turnbull lIbrary
Reference number: 1/2-040419-F
1 b&w original negative(s).

Known as the developer who established GRAHAMSOTWN, Graham also owned and developed the plans for TARARU. Naming many of the streets after family members, details of these can be found in the Street Index via the Directory page. A plan of the township 1869 can be seen at Auckland Libraries Map 4498.11 Maps available from Auckland Libraries:

"Graham laid out public gardens at Tararu, where he built a two-storey hotel, and also a wharf where there was deep water at any turn of the tide." 
(Cruikshank 1940) The Tararu gardens were laid out on the hillside of the present day DICKSON Park. Newspaper reports of the time show that the gardens were a real attraction, with family gatherings and outings happening at the park. There were summer houses, tea rooms and the famous Strawberries and cream. Admission price sixpence.
Unfortunately several storms left the area badly damaged. "The fine new hotel was badly strained, the wharf was gone, only some of the piles left; the tramway was so wrecked as to be unusable. It was a sad blow to Graham, who had done so much to make Tararu attractive."
(Cruikshank 1940)
Graham decided to leave the area and take the Hotel to Waiwera where he already land and  business dealings. "It was ferried in a scow across the Gulf to Waiwera Beach, and was erected as a substantial addition to the small building already there. This TARARU HOTEL, so shifted, did good service until a few months ago it was destroyed by fire."
(Cruikshank 1940)

This must have happened sometime around 1875 based on newspaper reports that to date have been located.

  • Daily Southern Cross Vol XXXII, 5 Dec 1876 Page 3: Mentions a previous hotel, and the opening of another nest to it just as big. "The new hotel formerly stood at the end of the Tararu Wharf at the Thames, but was taken down and has been removed to Waiwera. To this two-storey structure another storey has been added, so that it is now an imposing looking three-storey building, capable of accommodating 70 or 80 visitors."

There several reports of severe storms at Tararu 1874 and July 1875 including:
  • Evening Post, Volume X, Issue 190, 29 September 1874, Page 2  
GRAHAMSTOWN. 29th September.  A slight gale blew during the night. The Tararu wharf suffered, but not to a serious extent. A high tide flooded the streets and damaged the gardens along the beach.
  • Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXX, Issue 5169, 16 March 1874, Page 3
NARROW ESCAPE OF LIFE.  Grahamstown, Saturday. A storm from the north east blowing up the harbour all day, accompanied with heavy rain. A section of the Tararu Wharf, for a length of 70 feet, and the tollhouse, were carried away
Cruickshank, G. Robert Graham. Wellington, 1940
Papers Past

For further info on
Click here to read the biography that was online at