Built in 1886, this classic timber Victorian homestead like building with two levels of verandah, sits on the corner of Devon Street West and Queen Street, New Plymouths cultural precinct including the neighbouring Clock Tower, the Len Lye Centre, the Govett- Brewster Gallery and the stunning coastal walkway, featuring Len Lye’s Wind Wand.
Those who are familiar with the city will know the White Hart for its infamous reputation. Some of this notoriety lends itself to a highwayman, Robert Wallath, whom in 1893, stalked into the White Hart and bailed up the barman, commanding, “Bail up, give me money, for money I’ll have”. He pointed his pistol at the barman and added, “Stand aside or I’ll blow your bloody brains out”, then rode off on his horse with a haul of change and a bottle of whisky, firing a shot as he rode past the police station.
During the 1970’s, the White Hart sat at the vanguard of hotels as a music venue, creating Taranaki’s own rock and punk music scene that attracted a line-up of Kiwi musicians, including Midge Marsden and the band Sticky Filth. In 1977, it became home to the notorious Magog Motorcycle Club who mingled with people from all walks of life. The dozens of bikes parked outside the historic façade became a feature along with its unruly reputation for “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”, heightened by a good many drunk and disorderly related court cases and worse.