The White Swan

As WBS celebrates 150 years, we reflect on some of the significant Wairarapa landmarks we’ve been involved in. As we continue our trip down memory lane this month, the next story takes us to Greytown, and a building that now serves as a destination of choice for locals and visitors alike.

When property developer Trevor Pearce came up with a daring vision to build a large new accommodation facility in the heart of Greytown, the nationwide banks of the time were sceptical due to the ‘risky’ nature of the project. Pearce’s ambitious idea was to buy an old railway workshop from the Hutt Valley, cut it into six sections and carefully transport it over the Remutaka Range to be repurposed into a country hotel. Where trading banks were reluctant, WBS could see the potential, committing financial support to the development of what would become The White Swan.

The build was not without its detractors or heart-stopping moments. The grand central staircase from the original building was almost lost off the back deck of a truck enroute, threatening to crash through the flimsy railing and down the steep hill into dense scrub. As the disparate parts of the dirty workshop slowly started to arrive on the back of removal trucks, not all Greytown locals were thrilled with what they could see unfolding, however as the project took shape, they watched as the ugly duckling grew into ‘The White Swan’, an up-market hotel which proved to be an instant success.

The elegant hotel opened in October 2003 and quickly became a focal point of pride for Greytown, a meeting place for locals and destination accommodation choice for travellers. In 2004, it won its category in the Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards and has won subsequent awards for both its cuisine and accommodation. Just last year, it took out the Supreme Category in the Wairarapa Business Awards. In a connection typical of small regions like the Wairarapa, the present co-owner of the hotel, Nick Rogers, is a current board member of WBS.