Wednesday, 3 March 2010
There's been a wharf here since 1915, primarily to ship out the pip-fruit harvest from the orchards in the area.
The Fruitgrowers Chemical Company was also located in Mapua and between 1930 and its bankruptcy in 1988, it proceeded to comprehensively turn the area into the most polluted site in New Zealand if not the planet.
It's 3.4 hectares in area and contained 20,000m3 of contaminated soil. Agent Orange appears to be one of the more benign contaminants.
In a massive restoration effort, the Tasman District Council set up a soil treatment plant to reduce the nasties to acceptable levels and everything's pretty much back to normal
Except - quite understandably - there's no great rush to use to site commercially.
Or even go anywhere near it.
But apart from that...
The Smokehouse Cafe (formerly Nature Smoke), a fish restaurant specialising in smoking fish over a manuka fire, has been on the wharf for yonks and was joined by Flax, a very fine restaurant run by Karen Greenhough.
In the way that things happen in New Zealand, both restaurants went through a series of owners, chefs and name changes with corresponding variability as far as quality was concerned (from excellent to dire and back to OK), and the most recent iteration appears to be the latter. (Hope so - we're going to Harbourside (ex Flax, ex-Pukeko, ex-whatever) on Monday with the neighbours).
There's Hamish's, (named after the white heron which visits Mapua for 6 months of the year) which does real fruit icecream and the usual cafe stuff.
Plus the excelllent fish and chip takeaway.
And the Golden Bear Brewpub, run by Jim Matanga (shown here, regaling a captivated audience), a relocated Californian.
Really nice concept and the people who turn up there are nice, but I've yet to find a beer that I REALLY like.
Either too fizzy (often) or too sweet (last night) or over-hopped (the other night)
Keep trying, though.
The things we connoisseurs are forced to do.....