Canterbury’s oldest liquor licence was issued to John Hastie on 1st July 1860 for the Hurunui Accommodation House. The building that we know today was erected in 1869 by John’s widow. It is unclear whether it actually took the Hastie’s nine years to finally open a business or whether the current hotel replaced a more modest abode.
As early as 1855, the Canterbury Provincial Council had strict rules for those who wished to attain a licence to open a public drinking establishment. The publican was called to also think of the accompanying animal stock as well as serving the two legged consumers.
A weather tight shed with the ability to house six horses was a must. Horses also had to be on hand for river crossings and strangers were to be advised of the safest routes to cross. Stockyards that could hold up to 50 cattle and 1000 sheep were to also be available. Stock feed (such as oats) had to be in supply for purchase and a good water supply accessible. If the Hurunui (as it is called these days) was like other rural hotels of its day, two outside lights had to be left burning all night.
In 1982, the Hurunui was taken over by a group of enthusiastic locals who restored the old place back to its prime. Today, her history continues of being a rest stop for Canterbury’s weary and history curious travellers.
* Image courtesy of Pub Location – http://publocation.co.nz/*