History of The Royal OPOTIKI Backpackers

The Royal Opotiki Backpackers Church Street
 
 

This photo is looking down Church Street with the Royal Hotel on the right (now The Royal Hotel Backpackers) A lady in white is walking past. Photograph taken by William A Price in early 1900s

Occupying a prominent position on the main street, the Royal Hotel was first run by John ‘Big Jack’ Parkinson, son of John P. Parkinson (a local entrepreneur). Another son, Arthur Parkinson, owned the Masonic Hotel (1874). Council and Masonic Lodge members favoured the hotel for their meetings, while as a venue it has also played a wider role in the social life of the Opotiki community.

Original construction dates 1878 - 1880. Construction was overseen by the professional Thomas H. White (1843 - 1923)

White was born at Birmingham and began his education there, he also studied in Paris before coming to New Zealand in 1863. He was responsible for the design and construction of a concrete flour mill store at Ngaruawahia (1878), Firth Tower, Matamata (1881-1882), the original Bank of New Zealand building, Hamilton (1882) and St John's Presbyterian Church, Opotiki (1907). White was an architect of some regional importance and was a pioneer in concrete construction in the 1870s.  He also remodelled the hotel in 1909.