The Motu Hotel

The first accommodation was built by Christian Hansen in 1888. It was a slab house and had beds for three to four people.

Bed - two shillings
Meal - a shilling
Horse - two and six. (There was no grazing and oats were purchased from Gisborne.)

He then built a much larger place with room for ten people with local timber from his sawmill.

Motu became so popular he built an even larger hotel with accommodation for at least one hundred people. He even built all the furniture in the hotel himself.
They would come for weekends, a stopover on their way to Opotiki, or just a holiday away from the extreme heat in Gisborne. There was fishing, boating on the reserve, tennis and the gun club

People stopped coming to stay in the hotel for the following reasons:

  • A much better road had opened through the Waioeka Gorge.
  • The service car now took the direct route through the gorge.
  • It was “The Depression,” so people couldn’t afford holidays.

One third of the hotel was moved to Matawai in 1933.





It has been well maintained and still looks the same with the original verandas and timber.

By Richard