The Waikaka Hotel is officially open.
The pub, which was built in 1872, went on the market last year, prompting community members, concerned they might lose their township altogether after losing the Waikaka Store a few years ago, to put their heads together and come up with a plan to buy it.
To make it work, the Waikaka Hotel Enhancement Company, which includes six directors, was formed.
The company determined it would only employ managers or leaseholders at the hotel to ensure it would not be sold again and would be kept in community hands.
Carmen Pocklington and her partner, Daryl Meikle, are the new publicans.
Ms Pocklington said they had already celebrated a soft opening in December when the purchase was finalised.
Since then the cabins had been refurbished and painted, so it was ‘‘all new accommodation’’.
It was very important to keep the hotel open as it was ‘‘the hub’’ of the community, Ms Pocklington said.
‘‘It’s where everybody comes.
‘‘It’s not just for men, it’s for families.’’
Ms Pocklington, who is originally from Waikaka and previously served at the hotel for 12 years, said it was a great feeling to be back in the community.
‘‘It feels like we’re coming home.
‘‘It’s nice to be back and see the people happy knowing they have a pub and seeing the pub open.
‘‘We have had lots of locals and families come and visit, too. It’s been amazing,’’ she said.