The Ophir pub offers a new adventure for the Manawatū couple


Chris and Saskia Trembath left Fielding in Manawatū to take over the Blacks Hotel in Ophir. Photo / Supplied

From ManawatÅ« to Timbuktu …

OK, Ophir is far from Mali in West Africa, home to the medieval Timbuktu commercial center.

But the Blacks Hotel is quite far away by New Zealand standards and it does a roaring business every night.

This will be the new home for former Manawatū couple Saskia and Chris Trembath when they take over the pub in the coming weeks.

In transit when Rural life in the south Caught up with them last week, they had loaded the last of their gear from their Feilding home into a container and were heading south for green pastures and new adventures.

They take over the hotel from the Stoddart family, in one of the most rural locations in Central Otago.

And they can’t wait.

For former dairy farmer and trucker Chris Trembath (50), it will fulfill a lifelong dream of being a chef.

“When I left school, I tried to get an apprenticeship as a chef.

“But at that time you had to do it in a restaurant.”

He couldn’t get one in his hometown and moved to Auckland, he said.

He ended up returning to Manawatū and dairy farming for 25 years, which included a move to milking in Nelson. For 10 years, he has worked in transport.

But the dream of being a chef and having a stuck restaurant.

Saskia Trembath (51) was born in the Netherlands and came to New Zealand at the age of 12. She has spent much of her professional life as a registered nurse, doing district nursing assignments in remote areas of the central North Island, such as Waitomo and King. Country.

She and her husband only met a few years ago, although they attended the same high school in Feilding and met in biology class 37 years ago.

“Three years ago we started to think about what we could do, but we couldn’t really implement any of the ideas,” Saskia said.

“We bought a house in Feilding, but in February we went down to Queenstown and realized how cool it was [the area] was.”

“We saw the [Blacks Hotel] property and we were blown away, ”Chris said.

The hotel, owned by Sandy, Sam and their son Alex Stoddart and his fiancee Jaz Campbell for five years, has become renowned for its quirky decor, much of which will remain at the request of the new owners.

“Yeah, we were blown away. It’s original, and we loved the themes, and I kinda like that, it’s kind of my style,” Saskia said.

“But we’re going to mix it up with our own style to make it a bit more our own.

“It’s always been my dream to do something like this, and I’ve collected stuff for years.”

Some of them were from the era of gold mining, so it would all be back home in central Otago, she said.

“As much as I love nursing, I hate the management side as much as it has kept it from being so fun, but I love my patients.”

She could imagine keeping an eye on the palliative side of care.

“I also can’t wait to get started in my art, because I didn’t have time to do it.”

During a previous visit, they had met many residents of Ophir-Omakau.

“We met about 50 people and we had a great time. I was quite blown away by their kindness. We felt very accepted and we can’t wait to meet other people.”

There will be a transition period with the Stoddarts scheduled to depart in mid-October, with a departure party scheduled for Saturday October 2 starting at noon.

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