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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]



The Empire Hotel (A. C. Scrimgeour, proprietor), Waipawa. This hotel was established many years ago, and is a large wooden building, well furnished and fitted up, containing nearly sixty rooms. On the ground floor, to which there are three entrances, are situated two dining rooms (with accommodation for 150 guests), extensive club quarters, four comfortable sitting rooms, a commodious and well-appointed commercial room, and a double bar. A large stairway leads to the first floor, which contains thirty airy, well-lighted, and comfortable bedrooms, three bathrooms, (with hot and cold water laid on), and several lavatories. Only the best liquors are stocked, a good table is kept, and the tariff is moderate. At the rear of the building there are three large sample rooms, several storage sheds, and up-to-date stables. The grounds contain a bowling green and tennis court, and flower and vegetable gardens. The Empire Hotel is largely patronised by commercial men and the travelling public. Mr. Scrimgeour is assisted by a competent staff, and he spares no pains in promoting the comfort of his guests.

Manaia Hotel

Manaia Hotel

Mr. Alexander Cameron Scrimgeour, proprietor of the Empire Hotel, was born in the parish of Methven, Perthshire, Scotland, in the year 1840, his father, Mr. Peter Scrimgeour, being engaged on the Balgowan Estate. He was educated in Perthshire, afterwards learned farming, and in 1863 came to New Zealand under engagement to the Hon. H. R. Russell, of Mount Herbert, Waipukurau. The vessel in which he sailed, the “Rangoon,” became almost a complete wreck on the Ramsgate Downs a day or two after her departure. Putting into Ramsgate, a delay of two months occurred for repairs, and a second start was made on the 24th of January, 1864. After a protracted time at sea the “Rangoon” was almost destitute of provisions when she made Sydney harbour, where another month was occupied in refitting. On the 24th of July, Napier was reached, and an eventful voyage of eight months brought to a happy termination, though the ill-fated “Rangoon” had almost every vestige of her bulwarks washed away in a final storm in the Bay of Plenty. Mr. Scrimgeour landed in Napier, and after four years with the Hon. H. R. Russell was transferred to page 764 the estate of Mr. P. Russell, where he remained for seven years. He then, in conjunction with Mr. Peter Gow, took over the Tavistock Hotel, Waipukurau, and two years later (1877) became proprietor of the Tahoraite Hotel in the Seventy Mile Bush. After being there three years Mr. Scrimgeour purchased a farm of 600 acres at Waipawa, but relinquished agriculture twelve months later, though still retaining the property. Mr. Scrimgeour afterwards purchased the Empire Hotel at Waipawa, which he conducted for twelve years. On his departure for Dannevirke in 1895, his fellow townspeople gave a ball in honour of himself and family, and presented Mrs. Scrimgeour with a beautifully jewelled gold bracelet and Mr. Scrimgeour with a numerously-signed address, splendidly illuminated and framed. Mr. Scrimgeour afterwards removed to Masterton, and took over the Club Hotel, but subsequently returned to Waipawa, and again took over the Empire Hotel. He was for several years a member of the Waipawa County Council, Road Board, Town Board, School Committee, and various other bodies. He married Miss Gow, a sister of his old partner, in 1887, and has four daughters and two sons.