The Buried Village of Te Wairoa Blog


After 100 years, we think it's time for change

20 April 2015

100 years of hospitality is a tough legacy to improve on, however we are more than confident that the coming revamp of Vi’s tea house will be both well worth the wait and more importantly, a change that brings the tea house cleverly into the 21st century.

Vi's tea house in 1910 at the buried village

The reincarnation of Vi’s tea house is one that is built on the building's strong hospitality past. The façade of the tearooms may have changed from its original state in 1910; however, the heart and essence of this very special place has not and remains unaltered to this day. Many of you will have enjoyed the delightful ambience and hospitality of Vi's tea house which has been serving tea and scones to visitors from all around the world for many years.

A strong legacy to acknowledge, respect and evolve

Having survived fire, the Great Depression and two World Wars, Vi is taking a well earned break and hanging up her apron. While we and many others the world over, mourn the loss of Vi’s famous Devonshire Teas, we are consoled by what the transformation will bring:  namely a room that offers visitors a new and modern experience.

Not wanting to forsake the connection people have with Vi’s tea house, we are embracing the building's legacy of hospitality and approaching it from a somewhat unique perspective, one where visitors are welcomed in to enjoy a place to sit, read, surf the internet, play games or watch AV and guide presentations.

New day, new look, new purpose

In light of this new purpose Vi’s tea house aptly becomes Vi’s Sitting Room.

buried village tea house

With a temporary closure on the 17th April, the Tea Room will re-open in October with a new look, feel and purpose. When Vi’s Sitting Room is opened visitors can choose how they wish to use the space - listen to presentations from guides, watch AV shows, sit and read reference books or use the internet to experience an in-depth understanding of the remarkable stories of the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1931.

Sit back, relax and enjoy

The concept of the sitting room is to deliver a room that is inviting and perhaps even reminiscent of your own living room and it is this familiarity that we hope will allow visitors to enjoy our stories comfortably and also to learn about the history of the Buried Village in a new way - with the aid of modern technology.

With a backdrop of native bush enhanced by the serenading call of native birdlife, Vi’s Sitting Room will be an oasis of calm and comfort – the perfect setting to take-in and ponder that fateful night, the one which changed many people's lives forever.

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