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Local Art, Jazz, and Tapas Mark the Opening

Press Release

Wednesday 3 December 2003

Local Art, Jazz, and Tapas Mark the
Opening of the Poverty Bay Club

Vibrant artwork by Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Toihoukura 2003 top student Michael Tupaea has been selected to grace the walls of Gisborne’s newest bar and functions venue.

The Poverty Bay Club on the corner of Childers Road and Customhouse Street will officially open on Saturday and Tupaea’s artwork will be one of the first things visitors see as they enter the grand foyer.

Tupaea was named this year’s Ruanuku or top student for Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s School of Maori Art and Design.

He said he was honoured when some of his work was recently chosen to hang in the Poverty Bay Club.

“These particular pieces are acrylic on wood and their appeal is that they set the mood, they are deep, textural and wonderful to touch.”

Tupaea said he was particularly pleased to be involved with the Poverty Bay Club as its new owners are passionate about the future of Gisborne.

“They have a vision for the region which I share.”

Dan Witters of the Witters Family Partnership said he and his colleagues want to promote Gisborne as a lifestyle destination and create employment opportunities for the skilled and well-trained.

“We are very aware that Gisborne is a special place so it is our intention to provide Gisborne residents and visitors with an experience that is on par with other parts of the world.”

The Witters Family Partnership, comprising of Dan and Samantha Witters, and Dean and Lesley Witters, bought the historic Poverty Bay Club in October.

Dan Witters said with developments such as the Poverty Bay Club, the growing trickle of young and well-qualified people returning from overseas, could be encouraged back to this region.

“We need more employment, but we also need this type of facility to encourage those people to choose Gisborne, say over Hawkes Bay or Queenstown.”

Dean Witters said the building’s association with early settlement in Gisborne makes it an incredibly significant landmark in the city.

“We have undertaken minor renovations in the building but have aimed, to intervene as little as possible with original aspects that make it intrinsically valuable.”

The Poverty Bay Club is 105 years old and a classic example of late nineteenth century provincial architecture.

It has been owned for the past century by the Poverty Bay Gentleman’s Club which still uses one of the refurbished rooms, The Club Room, for its meetings.

The Club Room boasts original Poverty Bay Club memorabilia from the past 130 years including club trophies, caricatures and a letter from Sir Winston Churchill.

Saturday’s official opening will be held in the Club Room, the refurbished Bar, and in The Dome Room, magnificently overlooked by the three large stain glass domes set in the ceiling.

Auckland jazz trio Caitlin Smith and the Fondue Set, waiata, and Gisborne DJs Elm Thorpe and Tim Livingstone will help mark the official opening.

An international tapas menu with a New Zealand twist designed by Poverty Bay Club Catering Director Darryn Clyne will also be available to guests.

Dan Witters said the eclectic array of entertainment for the official opening best portrayed the Partnership’s vision for the future of the Club.

“The Poverty Bay Club will offer everyone, the Gisborne public and visitors, a unique facility for people wanting an exceptional, uncomplicated dining and entertainment experience.”


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