Tavistock Hotel Waipukurau Investigation 25th of August 2010

Plus 1 crew member
1 Staff Member Lou


Originally built in the late 1850’s as the stopover for the Porangahau Coach, the Tavistock Hotel consisted of a small accommodation block that also served meals.  It was situated about half a mile away from the present railway line.

In around 1900 the hotel was moved to its present location and expanded.  It was extended to be a double story wooden structure, and two dining rooms and commercial room were added.  Expansion was made so the facility could seat up to 100 diners, with a billiards out room, stable and small farm attached to the endeavor.

Currently the building has semi-permanent accommodation upstairs, and houses both Rosie O’Gradys Bar and Breakers Restaurant downstairs.  The farm and the out buildings are long a thing of the past.

Recent Haunted History

Former Matron and Owner Ma Bartram (sp) is said to still reside upstairs, taking care of the guests she doted on while alive.  Although she died on the premises of a heart attack some time ago, misplaced items, strange occurrences and odd feelings are still attributed to her.

Many staff agree that in the Breakers Bar area there at a couple of men who pace the area directly behind the bar, and possible out back into the kitchen areas.  These ghosts seem to be benevolent, and general consensus says they are mates, returned to their favorite watering hole in search of former ‘good times’.  Bar staff here have often felt they are not alone, felt flicks to their backs or back of their head, seen movement out of the corners of their eyes and taken photos showing dark shapes they can explain and the outlines of people they don’t recognize.

Further back behind the bar are the kitchen areas and staff room.  There are several spaces where staff feel uncomfortable and the entire area has been a hot bed of various unexplainable activity.  Several staff members prefer not to work in these areas, some have left the kitchen scared and upset and most staff do not like the staff room at the back of the building.  This room in particular emanates a much colder temperature, even than that of the cool stores just outside the door.

Activity in the kitchen area includes feelings of not being alone, being touched or ‘walked through’.  Objects have been lifted and moved around in front of staff, lids and utensils.  Movement and lights have been seen out of the corner of eyes and directly in front of staff faces, shadows and forms of people walking past doorways.   Many pictures have been taken showing the faces of unidentifiable people.   In one condiment storage room footsteps appeared in a bag of salt that fell forward from the back of a shelf and spilt on the floor.  This was witnessed by several staff.

Further back in an original part of the building is the aforementioned staff room.  While also being colder than all the other rooms in the building, this room is also the source of unexplained movements, figures have been seen passing the doorway and the bathroom off the side of the room permeates a foreboding feeling.

Rosie O’Gradys Bar occupies the other side of the building and has its own reported haunted history.  Bar staff say they sometimes feel someone is trying to trip or unsettle them as they enter and exit down one side of the bar.

On one side of the room where the small stage is located there seems to be a bit of reported activity.  This includes strange lights being seen with the naked eye and a man’s voice has been heard in this area trying to talk to staff.  Across the other side of the room is the men’s toilet where there are said to be encounters with a timid young boy.  Encounters with him are said to leave staff emotionally drained and somewhat upset.

Off the poker machines room are toilets that some staff refuse to clean, particularly the men’s room.  The eerie feelings, not being alone - being watched, are too much for some staff to take.

It’s interesting to note that the building has had its share of sordidness in its past also.  Female staff would have had their share of male admirers coming and going and there was also a stabbing murder in the hallway of the restaurant toilets, both activities could have added to the spiritual charging of the building.


Investigators arrived at around 5.30pm, had a meal and looked around the place.  Resting readings were taken and the cameras were placed in the following spots:

DVR Cam#1:  Breakers Staff Room set at 9.30pm
DVR Cam#2:  Breakers Bar set at 9.30pm
DVR Cam#3:  Bathrooms off Poker Room set at 11.30pm
DVR Cam#4:  Rosie O’Gradys bar towards stage set at 11.30pm
Night Shot:  Hallway to Restaurant Toilets set at 11.00pm

Resting readings with EMF meters and thermometers were taken upstairs and downstairs between 8-9.15 pm.  The points these were taken were upstairs near Ma Bartram’s room, the top of the stairs, the bottom of the stairs, both Rosie’s and Breakers Bars, the kitchen areas and staff room.

Excluding the kitchen and staff room the average temperature for all places remained between 14 and 16 degrees C.  The kitchen was slightly cooler at around 13 to 14, and the staff room the coldest at between 11 and 12 degrees.  Although only resting readings, it showed the pattern of colder temperatures in the staff room that continued throughout the evening.

Overall the EMF meter readings remained low to static; there was an exception upstairs in the game lounge where the ping pong table had a slightly higher reading for no obvious reason, there is a neon singe outside, but upon ivestigation it was not the source of the EMF we were getting.  Its interesting to note that this room also made one of the investigators feel quite uncomfortable.  There was one interesting EMF spike upstairs however at around 9.00pm.

While returning to our base room with the manager, Victoria measured a large EMF spike off her meter which also set off its alarm.  This was followed almost immediately by a telephone call to the manager and he was called away to the kitchen, at the same time as the EMF spike that caused the manager to be called away, George's Tri-Torch seemed to surge and stopped working, on inspection afterwards some components and solder connections were chard, these needed replacing, It had not been dropped or banged against anything as he was holding and using it at the time - although it cannot be said that the broken components are directly attributed to the spike it seems very coincidental, and why would a electricity spike affect and hand held torch.

Several recorded vigils were made during the evening.  Two in the staff room and one on the stage in Rosie’s Bar.  Neither resulted in immediate reaction, however at the time George and a crew member were holding the vigil in Rosie’s, a couple of the staff members there reported seeing some strange lights in the room. On viewing the DVR footage it seems to back there claims up.

While on investigation for the evening, things seemed fairly quiet, although some interesting things of note did happen and were found on review of still pictures and DVR footage later.  These are listed on the following timeline:

*  9.30pm
George is setting up the DVR camera in the staff room.  Located in the far left hand corner as you walk in - he approached it to connect wires.  On turning he tripped over a pair of black shoes neatly placed together on the floor behind him.  They were not there when he walked in, in photographs taken previously of that spot they are also not present.  They appear to have been silently moved over a meter from where they were under the staff room table to where he tripped on them.
*  10.32pm
Brand new batteries, inserted at 9.00pm die in crew members Camera.
*  11.05pm
Glasses in trays behind Breakers Bar start rattling in front of Victoria and Tavistock staff member Lou.
*  00.46.55
While crew member and Victoria were doing a vigil in the staff room the temperature started dropping dramatically, bottoming out at around 8 degrees C around Victoria’s legs.  Several pictures were taken on still camera at this time.  In one picture taken by crew member of the wall near the entrance to the bathroom three small green orb shapes appear.  In none of the other pictures taken in the room entire, or on that angle do any other orbs show.
*  01.10am
Strange squeaking noise heard in Rosie’s Bar (not unlike noisy floorboards).  Only George, Victoria and crew member present. No immediate cause found on investigation.
*  01.15.01am DVR Footage
Lights shoot across the top and then bottom 2/3’s of screen on camera #4 in Rosie’s Bar.  Seem to direct right to left, about 1 second apart.
*  01.16.18am DVR Footage
Same as above, again seconds apart.
*  01.26.18am DVR Footage
Again Camera #4 in Rosie’s Bar.  This time lights appear to shoot left to right.  On pause there appears no obvious cause to light flashes; however shadows from furniture and fittings don't appear as one would expect if the entire room was being illuminated.
*  02.33am to 02.40am
Movement seen out doorway to kitchen of Breakers Bay by crew member.  Staff member Lou, George and crew member present.  Temperature fluctuations behind bar, between 13 degrees C immediately behind bar, to a spike of just over 30 degrees C at the end of the bar in the small glasses room.  Lou feels a tap to the back of her head, and demonstrates what it felt like to crew member and George.  The feeling is not unlike she has experienced in that area several times before. This feeling is not caused by natural chattel EMF saturation, as lou and other staff  members are not affected by any of the natural residual EMF emitted by ant of the fittings
*  03.40.11am
George follows an anomalous stream of over 1. EMF readings down the length of the Breakers Bar and into the small glasses room at the end.  It disappears from there.
George mentions that he feels that he is been followed by some one or something, even though he is by himself  he keeps on turning around  expecting to see some one.
It is also worth noting that Victoria and crew member were feeling much the same way.
*  04.27am
Having packed up gear and being ready to leave George takes one last walk down to the staff room behind the kitchen.  On returning to the rest of the team at the bar he reports the distinct feeling he was physically being ‘pushed’ to leave the staff room area.  While he didn't feel ‘physical’ hands on him as such, he felt the presence and reacted by wanting to look over his shoulder to see who was there.


It’s definitely fair to say that the evidence collected by staff members, stories, experiences and pictures are enough to conclude there are strange things happening at the Tavistock Hotel.

Pictures taken by staff alone and shown to the investigation team are impressive, and go beyond the scope or what may be explained as pareidolia or matrixing.  Their clarity and the number of witnesses is impressive.  This can also be said about the incidences such as footsteps in the spilt salt, and lights in Rosie’s Bar.

The main incidents that come from the investigation also point to things happening at the Tavistock which cannot easily be explained away.  Lou was able to identify the shoes in the staff room that moved behind George while he was setting up the camera.  Like the investigators believe and still pictures show, they were not at that spot when he had walked into the room.  But in the moments it took to set the wiring they were placed neatly together behind him.

The lights recorded moving around Rosie’s Bar are interesting in so far as, while crew member and George held vigil on the stage, staff members Ma and Jamie reported they saw some light flashes.  These were not seen by crew member and George at the time, although clearly show up three times on the camera set in the bar.

On reviewing all of the DVR camera footage, continuous strange movement was noted on Camera #2 behind Breakers Bar.  Here the pixilation of the camera seems to swirl in the same spot, estimated to be roughly four meters from the glass room end on the bar on the floor.  On discussion of activity and watching the film the conclusion was reached that this may in fact be a portal or Vortex ?, and potentially the source of a lot of the activity in the hotel.

(One school of understanding states a portal or vortex may be explained as a ‘chink’ in the plain between the living and deceased whereby ghosts and spirits find easy entrance to our realm.)

It almost seemed like whatever or whoever is present at the Tavistock, they are happy for the regular staff members to know they are there.  While it seems almost certain there is activity occurring regularly the mischief makers themselves were not too keen on letting the investigators get to close to them.  What was caught on film and witnessed is enough however to warrant the belief more people reside at the hotel than just those to have rooms upstairs
Copyright Core Paranormal NZ 2009
The Tavistock Hotel in the 1850s
Tavistock Gardens in the 1850s
This is Victoria standing in the place just before George set up one of Our IR Cams,
After George finish setting up the cam he triped over a pair of shoes that were placed neatly behind him, he was alone at the time.
Breakers This is a pic of some jugs behind the bar that Victoria took, its an interesting pic no matter what we tryed we can't recreate it, this is in one of the very paranormally active areas of the hotel.
This pic is of interest as it is a different angle of the area in the pic above for two other reasons, 1 the coffee machine at the end of the bar
(on the right) when George was standing midway, behind the bar taking EMF readings, there was a loud crashing noise, on inspection parts of the machine were on the floor, they seemed to fly of the machine by them self's, 2 At the very end  of the bar we have recorded to what looks like a Vortex ?.
Breakers, Pic of the doorway to a long narrow passage, leading to rest rooms, this area use to be out side, back in those days a while back there was a stabbing, resulting in death (murder), We set up cams over night in this area and recorded a black shadow almost figure like, it seemed to move down the passage and disappear through the wall at the end of the passage.
Another angle of the door way to the Breakers rest rooms, just to the left of this pic, the Breakers side of the building is quite big.
What a gem this Rosie O'Gradys is, one can feel the history in this bar, we held quite a long vigil with one of the staff members Lou up on the small stage, the only thing we noticed at the time was the temperature around Lou would rise and drop dramatically. The DVR footage afterwards on viewing tells it all, it looks like the staff and the patrons are not alone, as the bright light anomalys and moving shadows are clear to see on the footaage.
We have included this pic of Rosie's to show that it is a dark bar, the dark wood paneling swallows most residual light, even our flashes have trouble lighting the bar, flashing lights with no apparent source would have to be quite strong, and these flashes do happen as we have recorded them.
Internal &external Investigation