The hotel trade became increasingly sophisticated with better transport links in the last two decades of the 19th century, with regular steamers calling at Tolaga, and from 1893, the introduction of a coach service between Gisborne and Tolaga Bay.
Even before the introduction of the regular coach, facilities were improving, if the advertisement placed by Franklyn Hodges in 1883 is to be believed. Archibald McMillan installed shower and plunge baths in 1888
Running a hotel was also a means of increasing one’s wealth and status in the community. For example, Enoch Kirk was a bootmaker in Pahura Street, Tolaga Bay, from around 1883. He also ran the Uawa river ferry until 1893, and was credited with ferrying 2400 sheep in one four hour period. His wife and three youngest children were lost in an accident on the river bar in 1887, but he managed to re-establish himself and was the lessee of the Tolaga Bay Hotel by 1891. Kirk bought land in the Tolaga township and later established his sons in business in Port Awanui and Gisborne.
There had been a hotel on the bridle track at Waitotara, just north of Gable End Foreland from the early 1870s. When the track took an easier route further inland, this was relocated to the mouth of the Pakarae river. F.H. James was the first proprietor of the Montrose Hotel, embracing “a splendid sea view” from January 1886. By 1889, renamed the Pakarae Hotel, this had “telephonic communication”
More advertisements and photographs will be added as they come to hand.