The land, building, and going concern business sustaining a classic country pub showcasing an iconic bovine statue outside its front doors, and well patronised by classic car clubs and genuine motorcycle riders, have been placed on the market for sale.
The Te Poi Tavern in the settlement of Te Poi some 10-kilometres south-east of Matamata in the Waikato has been trading for nearly 30-years and is now well established as a stop off for automotive enthusiasts driving or riding between the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty at the base of the scenic Kaimai Ranges route.
The building housing the Te Poi Tavern was built in 1980 as the main office block for what was the Sunny Park Hinuera Cooperative Dairy Factory. The premises was sold in 1993, and conversion work undertaken to reconfigure the venue into a licensed hospitality operation.
Looking for a marketable point of difference and something which would not only make the Te Poi locals feel proud of their newly established watering hole, but would also promote the venue to a wider audience, a six-metre tall black and white friesian cow was installed outside the front of the Te Poi Tavern in 1994/95. In recognition of the huge statue, the licensed venue soon became colloquially known as The Big Cow.
Later in 1995 a smaller cow calf was installed beside the big cow outside the pub so that visitors could sit on the baby beast and have photographs taken. Sitting on a 1,549-square metre of rurally zoned section, the freehold land, building, and going concern Te Poi Tavern at 11 Te Poi Road in Te Poi are now being marketed for sale at auction on December 8 through Bayleys Whitianga. Salesperson Josh Smith said the Te Poi Tavern really was a true country pub whose clientele predominantly comprised the surrounding rural population and industrial workers in town, enhanced by a steady stream of tourists and visitors.
“The Te Poi Tavern and its famous cows are now very much on the ‘tourist circuit’ with the likes of motorcycle and classic car clubs, as well as self-contained motorhome and caravan owners who take advantage of the ability to park up at the premises free of charge,” said Smith.
“The large, sealed, off-street car park in front of the Te Poi Tavern is a veritable arena where up to 100 motorbikes or 60 classic cars have been known to park up and go on display while their proud riders and owners enjoy a country pub lunch and a refreshing handle of beer or juice.
“The open plan atmosphere inside the Te Popi Tavern is replicative of many Kiwi country pubs with a plethora of leaner tables and stools – where you’ll turn up and find a family with young kids enjoying a lunch of burgers and chips, beside a table of local farmers discussing beef prices and Fonterra’s forecast pay out on milk solids over a jug of beer, or factory workers having a quiet pint or two at the end of the day.
“The Te Poi Tavern’s menu is stereotypical of a country pub – consisting of short order staple items such as chips, nachos, wedges, steak, fish, and chicken dishes, which can all be efficiently cooked by domestic level chefs working in a commercial standard kitchen.
“Being the heart of the local community, the Te Poi Tavern regularly hosts birthday parties, wedding anniversaries, and community group meetings. After 11 great years under its current ownership, the pub has firmly cemented itself as the heart of the area, however the owners are looking to retire and pass on reigns to the next generation of hospitality operators who can bring in new vibrancy and enthusiasm to the venue – perhaps by adding additional guest amenities.”
Under-cover seating at the front of the Te Poi Tavern allows punters to watch the passing traffic from the comfort of the pub environment. Meanwhile, an outdoor seating area with multiple wooden picnic style tables is located immediately to one side of the pub, with a large grassed beer garden type area at the rear of the tavern – which has been used for hosting bands over the summer months. For several years during the early 2000s, the pub had a mini-pitch and putt golf course on the grassed rear area.
“The rear grassed area could quite easily be developed into more of an accommodation amenity – through the installation of portacabins for example which could be let to truck drivers or budget travellers, or through the addition of powered sites to expand the venue’s appeal to motorhome and caravan users,” Smith said.
The classic country pub comprises 303-square metres on a single level, and runs six days a week along standard trading hours from Tuesday to Sunday. The business employs two permanent equivalent staff. Commercial foodservice equipment within the pub’s kitchen includes a deep fryer unit, ovens, and grillers under extensive extractors, along with refrigeration units and stainless-steel benching.
The Te Poi Tavern’s man bar area is separately located away from the venue’s dining room with pool table – allowing for clientele to choose their preferred ambience for socializing. Both carpeted rooms sit under a low exposed wooden beam ceiling which adds to the cosey environments within both spaces.
Smith said that in addition to dine-in clientele, the Te Poi Taven also operated as the town’s take-away retail premises, which did a solid trade on weekend nights. To the rear of the building, the pub’s owner/manager’s accommodation consists of a two-bedroom residence with living room and bathroom prime for remodelling and extending.
“The Big Cow is to Te Poi what the towering L&P bottle is to Paeroa, the corrugated iron dog and sheep buildings are to Tirau, the big carrot is to Ohakune, or the big gumboot is to Taihape. The structures are literally all part of the ‘must see’ list of small-town cheesy monuments to visit in the Central North Island,” he said.