Sep 13 2016

We invited Peter Parkin and Jo Williams, owner-operators of Jack Tar Restaurant on North Wharf, to tell us what they think the new ASB Waterfront Theatre will bring to the Quarter

The theatre opening is incredibly exciting for us as we know it’s going to add another dimension to the Quarter, and in a precinct like this you need diversity. You just can’t rely on one or two activities. The theatre has its own café, but we expect theatre-goers will want to make an evening of it when they attend a performance, and so we are already thinking about what we can offer in the way of special menus.

When we first opened in 2011, the North Wharf building was basically a concrete and tin shed. The council was very precious about keeping its rustic, marine integrity, its rawness, seeing it as the development’s prize piece, and I do believe that it’s key to North Wharf’s success. It had a very clever fit-out, so behind the old sarking it’s lined with acoustic panelling, which has made a huge difference to absorbing sound. It’s also insulated throughout, even the roof, something you’d never suspect when you look up at its tin underside and exposed beams.   

I’m celebrating my 40th year in the hospitality industry this year. Before Jack Tar, I ran pub restaurants in Wellington for more than 20 years, sometimes several at once, including Flanagans in Courtney Place and The Back Bencher. But coming here has seen me settle in to running just Jack Tar over the last five years alongside Jo. We both absolutely love the area, and wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else. We arrive in the morning to the sun rising and see it setting. All our staff say it’s the best place they’ve ever worked…looking at the harbour and seeing all the marine activity – fishing boats,  sea planes and car ferries coming and going.

We are really looking forward to the next few years bringing even more growth and diversity. We can see such a lot of change happening. The theatre opening, GridAKL’s Innovation Hub developing, residential developments coming on stream, more corporates moving in, Mason Bros opening later this year, and the Park Hyatt Hotel further down the track – it’s wonderful to be a part of it all.