The Tavern and its History
At 153 years old, The Riverhead is thought to be New Zealand’s oldest riverside tavern and holds New Zealand’s second oldest liquor licence.
Nestled on the shores of the upper Waitemata, The Riverhead is steeped in local history and was a vital part of the development of early New Zealand.
Prior to The Riverhead being built on this site, Thomas Deacon, the original owner, owned a pub on the point just below where The Riverhead now stands. The early Maori used this landing point as the place to disembark and portage their waka across land to the Kumeu River to get easier access to the lands in the Far North. Early immigrants then used this same route to travel north, disembarking at Helensville and continuing by ship north via the Kaipara Harbour.
Deacon wisely built his ‘new hotel’ on this site where the deep channel allowed for a dock at the base of the knoll.
The Riverhead was a vital stop for these early pioneering travelers as well as a local meeting place for the local gum diggers and traders.
The Riverhead has always been an integral part of the Riverhead community.
The Riverhead was originally named Deacon’s Hotel, but has had a variety of names over the years including The Riverhead Hotel, The Forrester’s Arms and the Riverhead Tavern, and is now simply ‘The Riverhead’.
Having been extensively renovated and reopened in 2011, the emphasis is on providing a meeting place for the local community and tourists alike by providing fresh New Zealand food with flair, great beers, local wines and bloody good coffee. It will be a venue for watching sport and providing a unique and popular destination for special interest groups. The variety of options throughout the venue is extensive, from our wide open air decks, cosy indoors or lawn under the historic oak trees overlooking the water which has been a favourite gathering place for more than a century.
While the renovations include some updating in line with modern demands, the heart of The Riverhead – its tradition, history, and the physical building itself – is being kept and carefully restored to its former glory.
The local community was fully behind the restoration of The Riverhead and was keen to see the establishment again become a hub for both them and for tourists to enjoy. Many members of the community have contributed stories, information that takes pride of place in The Riverhead.
Located just off the Coatesville Riverhead Highway, The Riverhead is on a favourite loop road between State Highway 17 (Albany Helensville Highway) and State Highway 16 (Auckland/Kumeu). This unique location is a perfect drive from the city with stunning scenery on the way and just far enough that you really feel you’ve left the humdrum of the city behind.
What’s even better is the option of making a day of it and coming up by boat.
Site developed by Right Hand Man.