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Creating Community

What makes a good pub? For most it's cosy nooks and crannies, a fantastic wine and beer selection and a good pie or fish and chips.

Well the Matakana pub does more than that. It is a staple for a small community to get together. It's homely, charming and very much award winning.

The pub has won a 2013 Hospitality NZ Award for New Zealand's best new bar and restaurant and in 2015 it was awarded Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence. Most recently however, it won a National ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Award for the work architectural designer Peter Were of Peter Were Architecture | Interiors completed during its much needed refurbishment.

A Professional Member of ADNZ, Peter Were says he helped turn a once bedraggled village eyesore into a landmark destination.

"The old pub was a mixture of ad-hoc services, odd rooms and taxidermy. The new owners wisely chose to save some of the taxidermy, and replace and refresh everything else. The pub refurbishment features a completely rebuilt commercial kitchen and bathroom facilities, a dining room worthy of its new "gastro pub" menu, and a reenergized garden bar."

Peter said great care was taken at the design concept stage to keep the homely and domestic-scaled proportions of the old rooms while creating spaces that function as gathering spaces.

"Patrons are now greeted at a new horse-shoe bar area opening onto the central hallway, which was gutted to create a generous entry and easy flow between bar and dining areas. The interior architecture preserves and plays on existing ornamental detail, and a muddy Edwardian colour palate complements an archetypal pub-cum-"Nanna-chic" carpet."

As part of rejuvenating the old pub, bathroom facilities have been treated as an essential part of the interior design rather than mere service areas, with period detail and decorative motifs in abundance. As a nod to the pubs old life, an albino possum and her joey rescued from the former pub now sits in a double-sided glazed wall cavity between the Ladies and Gents bathrooms, while several of her mates adorn walls around the pub.

To finish, new courtyard "holding pens" with custom-built seating and an outdoor fireplace optimise outdoor spaces around the pub, giving patrons a choice of privacy or communality.

ADNZ CEO, Astrid Andersen, said that the pub appealed to judges on many levels and that they recognised what the pub meant to its locals.

"Judges said that Peter brought out a very strong sense of what it is to be a pub both in this community, and as a destination, through a bold and unusual combination of materials. I think the judges' comments are just right and a fantastic assessment of a wonderful project", said Astrid.