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The Watusi, Wellington, New Zealand (bar)

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Name:The Watusi
Street:6 Edward Street
country:New Zealand
Phone:(04) 385 9610
Status: defunct
The Watusi is a rock'n'roll exotica bar, decorated with a mix of Pacific, Indonesian and African carvings and pictures on the walls. They do a reasonable range of cocktails, and have live music from Wednesday through to Saturday night.

Gig guide listing: http://www.mukuna.co.nz/wellington/central/the-watusi.htm

At the time of writing, this is the closest thing New Zealand has to a tiki bar.

UPDATE 1 August 2011 - the Watusi has now closed and has been replaced by a swanky bar with a clever name and nothing whatsoever to do with exotica.

[ Edited by: Club Nouméa 2011-07-31 03:50 ]

[ Edited by: Club Nouméa 2011-07-31 03:50 ]

Some photos of the Watusi, taken on 9 April 2011:


And an image of The Watusi's sign, rescued from the ether:

Watusi R.I.P.


Paipo posted on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 2:30 AM

Shame the decor was more generic retro kitsch than true tiki, especially with such an enticing poster, but it still looked like a fun place. If anywhere can pull off a bonafide tiki bar in this country , It's Wellington...(or Westport :wink: )

It looks to me as though they are purposely avoiding the "Tiki" connotation as not to draw the attention and ire of local Maori scholars, such as this:


It's a tricky situation, so close to a revived tribal tradition. If it is well executed modern art, like your pendants are, Paipo, it's one thing, but tongue-and-cheek pop primitivism such as garish Tiki revival pop is more likely to be regarded as in bad taste.

I personally am against such uber-correctness, be it political or religious, as I enjoy bad taste, but it is understandable that members of decimated Polynesian minorities are a bit touchy in regards to perceived trivializations of their traditions.

Yes, BigBroTiki has nailed it - this sort of thing is the main reason why there have been no tiki bars in New Zealand to date. The head is considered tapu by Maori, so drinking out of a tiki mug with a moko design (even a generic one), eating off a plate with a tiki design, or wiping your face with a tiki napkin, could be considered quite offensive. I must also admit that this is a contributing factor to why my home bar has a Melanesian theme rather than a Polynesian theme (although mainly it's because I just like Melanesian stuff :) ).

I miss the Watusi though - they had good cocktails and lots of good live bands too.


Toto, j'ai l'impression que nous ne sommes plus au Kansas !

[ Edited by: Club Nouméa 2011-09-30 00:42 ]

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