Backbencher gutted by fire

June 8th, 2012 at 8:17 am by David Farrar

Photo by Kent Blechynden, of the Dom Post.

Stuff reports:

Firefighters were called to a fire at well-known Wellington landmark the Pub this morning.

Fire Service central communications shift manager Murray Dunbar said firefighters were alerted at 4.45am when an alarm went off in the multi-storey Kate Sheppard apartment building, next to the pub.

It is understood the fire began in the pub’s kitchen.

Apartment residents were evacuated and eight fire trucks were sent.

Thank goodness no one was harmed, but this is still an awful thing. The Backbencher is an iconic Wellington institution.

Boycie and his staff will be devastated. Seeing the damage will be soul destroying, and their collection of political cartoons and puppets may be irreplacable.

I worked at the Red Cross on Hill Street in 1990 when the Backbencher opened, and went there on its opening day. So I’ve been going there for over 20 years, and it comes close to my second home. I just hope the damage doesn’t see it closed for too long.

On a more practical note, it means the TV show will need a new venue for its final three shows on TVNZ7.

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30 Responses to “Backbencher gutted by fire”

  1. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    There may be a silver lining as they may be able to update the decor to this generation coming through.

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  2. bringbackdemocracy (391 comments) says:

    The bad news is there were no politicians in there at the time.

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  3. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “Seeing the damage will be soul destroying”.
    Please. Get a grip. Living in Syria right now and seeing your family massacred would be soul destroying.
    The unfortunate loss of some paper-mache models of politicians is not soul destroying.

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  4. immigant (950 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero

    Beat me to it. Sad because BB’s was local icon but really a 1st world problem.

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  5. insider (1,000 comments) says:

    Save tvnz7 protest gone wrong? Was the content of the latest edition of backbenchers too inflammatory?

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  6. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Bugger.
    A mate of mine pashed Shane Warne there after a night on the piss with the Black Caps in the 90′s. And I think I had the best game pie I’ve ever had there.

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  7. Mark1 (89 comments) says:

    Yes, any time that something bad happens to us here in NZ we must immediately minimise it and compare it to what happens in third world countries. My friends’ child was kidnapped the other day but I told them to not be so melodramatic – there are far more people being killed in Syria. They took my point and, through their sobbing, agreed that other places have it far worse. I gave them a clip around the head for good measure. (Obviously I jest for those po-faced nobs here)

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  8. Michael Mckee (1,091 comments) says:

    Yeah I love the four yorkshiremen skit too :-)

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  9. Mark1 (89 comments) says:

    Ha – Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o’clock at night, and LICK the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked twenty-four hours a day at the mill for fourpence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.

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  10. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    I’d be pretty distraught if my home was destroyed by fire- I wouldn’t dare say so on Kiwiblog though as apparently much worse is happening in Syria….Strange logic.

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  11. tvb (4,196 comments) says:

    It was always a great place and I went there often. The puppets from an old tv show will be a loss but they were getting a bit jaded.

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,092 comments) says:

    @ Michael & Mike

    You try to tell that to t’young people of today…

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  13. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    On a more practical note, it means the Backbenches TV show will need a new venue for its final three shows on TVNZ7.

    Maybe they could film in the function room at BackBenchers you used for your 40th.

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  14. Ryan Sproull (7,027 comments) says:

    Ah man, I loved all of those cartoons and stuff up on the walls.

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  15. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    Oh dear.
    What a pity.
    Never mind!

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  16. hmmokrightitis (1,506 comments) says:

    Syria, have you seen whats going on in the labour party at the moment, oh the humanity!

    My first day on the job in a ‘large consulting firm’ my boss, lead partner, took me to to the BB after an all day workshop with the Min of Ed. Got there at 5 for a quiet one or two. Staggered in the front door at midnight. Happy daze :)

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  17. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    See what happens when lefty crims lose an argument.

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  18. toad (3,669 comments) says:

    @bringbackdemocracy 8:39 am

    Are you sure Winston hadn’t passed out in the toilet, came to, and tried to light up a smoke?

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  19. big bruv (13,217 comments) says:

    “On a more practical note, it means the Backbenches TV show will need a new venue for its final three shows on TVNZ7.”

    Why not just cancel the last three shows and be done with it?

    No show on the awful TVNZ7 better demonstrates why TVNZ7′s passing will not be missed more than Backbenches.

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  20. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    more griefporn…..’Seeing the damage will be soul destroying’. Its a fire and a few old bits of dusty things got burnt. Everyone knows that the restaurant business is a fashion business and you have to regularly update – or the patrons bugger off to the next hot spot.

    Truth is the owners probably organised a forced refurbishment. They will soon be off air with TV7 going – so its time to update……What better excuse than having a fire to force the issue – and it’ll probably be paid mostly by insurance……..

    Either that or Winston did it ……..

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  21. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Pita Sharples and Peter Dunne were badly damaged and will need to be replaced…art imitating life?

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  22. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    ak…?

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  23. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    and apparantly key is just a pale-shadow of his former self…

    ..and hide ended up..in a trough…

    ..ain’t life funny..eh..?

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  24. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    apparantly it started in dunnes’ hair..

    ..a product-malfunction/clash..?

    phillip ure@whoar.co.nz

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  25. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    Sensible suggestion by BB; the show should be cannedl and nobody would ever miss it.

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  26. Mobile Michael (410 comments) says:

    There are some irreplacable items of New Zealand history been destroyed. The photo of Mallard getting served (joyfully) and the infamous “police” fax on the assassination of Michael Laws fax among them.

    I still remember having a drink with a couple of new minted MPs who believed the assertion of Maurice Williamson that the Parliamentary Precinct included BBs so they didn’t need to be back in Parliament by 7.30pm.

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  27. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    Damage doesn’t look too bad in that photo?

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  28. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    ” Oh the humanity !”

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  29. RRM (9,427 comments) says:

    East Wellington Superhero (877) Says:
    June 8th, 2012 at 8:41 am

    “Seeing the damage will be soul destroying”.
    Please. Get a grip. Living in Syria right now and seeing your family massacred would be soul destroying.
    The unfortunate loss of some paper-mache models of politicians is not soul destroying.

    Absolutely. Just over the road from the Backbencher, a couple is having a funeral for their three 2yo babies. THAT’S soul-destroying.

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  30. Tauhei Notts (1,602 comments) says:

    My sympathy to the proprietors of Bank Benchers.
    To put so much hard work into an iconic establishment and see it go up in a puff of smoke will test their mettle.
    I have always recommended the pub to foreign visitors. I put it ahead of Te Papa with the proviso that if Horiculture is your cup of tea then Te Papa comes first. And if Horticulture is your cup of tea then Wellington’s botanical gardens must not be missed.

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