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Maranui cafe catches wave of support

Apr 16th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Maranui Main

BACK SOON: Matt Wilson outside the spruced-up Maranui that will reopen next month.

AFTER setbacks and delays, a wave of community support may see the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club and Cafe open by the end of May.

Maranui, at Wellington’s Lyall Bay, was overcome by fire in August last year and is being renovated by tradespeople and volunteers.

maranui mug

Matt Wilson, Maranui cafe co-owner (left), says the restoration process had been painfully slow, but it’s moving along now. “The council bureaucracy took so long.”

Mr Wilson says everyone has played their part. “A groundswell of community support has made it happen: I am relieved.”

He says they have received dozens of emails, phone calls and offers of help, including restaurateur and TV food show host Al Brown, musicians Fat Freddys Drop, Wellington City councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer and local Labour MP Annette King. Some of the help came at a fundraising event staged at Cafe L’Affare in Wellington.

Mr Wilson says the new Maranui will be very similar to the original, with some improvements and “a few little surprises”.

interior mara

PROGRESS MADE: Work continues on the interior.

Maranui club president Jim Warwick and chairman Peter Clark say the fire has been a challenge for the club, but it was never an option to give up and the decision was made straight away to repair the building.

“We were surprised by the level of support received from the community and we were blown away,” says Mr Warwick.

Mr Clark says while the fire was initially devastating, out of the negative experience has come an enormous amount of encouragement for the club. 

In the early stages of repair, Maranui had three working bees that involved dirty, gritty work and the response was fantastic. 

“The fire consolidated the community and club together.”

The restoration work will cost more than the $350,000 council has given the club and so Mr Clark says Maranui will need to continue to rely on public support.

About the Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club:

  • established 1911, so next year is its centenary
  • one of the oldest Surf Life Saving Clubs in the country
  • 270 members
  • clubrooms built in 1930 and listed as a heritage building
  • runs Junior Surf programme, better known as Nippers for children aged six and up
  • patrols Oriental Bay (the Lyall Bay club patrols Lyall Bay)
  • cafe opened July 2005.
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