Battle continues over Manukau nightclub linked to shooting

This story appears on RNZ.co.nz. RNZ reports are republished by Kaniva News in partnership.

A nightclub which was expected to close for good last year after being linked to a shooting is back in business after a change of name and ownership.

Club reopened under new ownership - renamed Wolf Club
Police outside the Vava’u Lahi Night Club in Manukau’s Cavendish Drive in 2017 after a gang related shooting outside the venue. Photo: LDR

Grant Rimmer, who owns an adjoining commercial property in Cavendish Drive, South Auckland, said that he felt let down by the Auckland Council over the matter.

He said he was concerned the new Wolf Club’s owners were still operating without the necessary consents and still only had a temporary liquor licence.

The new owner said they were “not causing any issues” and were taking steps to avoid a repeat of problems which occurred under the previous operator, when the business was run as Vava’u Lahi Night Club.

Rimmer is representing local property owners who opposed the previous nightclub’s licence renewal last year.

“The new people have come in on the back of the Vava’u Lahi Night Club’s licence and have continued to trade. It should never have been allowed to happen in the first place,” he said.

“It’s been a four-year nightmare.

“A nightclub should never have been permitted here.”

The Vava’u Lahi Night Club’s owners originally sought to renew its licence in 2017, but that was opposed by police following a gang-related shooting outside the club.

Police said there had been incidents involving intoxicated patrons and disorderly behaviour in the 12 months before the licence renewal bid. Documents from last year’s District Licensing Committee hearing showed an ongoing litany of complaints.

Then in August last year the then owners of the club sought a temporary licence so it could be sold.

Under the agreement the new owner could apply for a temporary authority to allow them to keep trading under the terms of the existing licence, giving them up to nine months to get their own licence.

New owners ‘not causing any issues’

The new proprietors renamed the venue the Wolf Club and opened for business in October.

Owner Mavis Wolfgramm said she was keen to make sure she did not make the same mistakes the previous operators did.

“We said to the other businesses ‘if you have any problems, let us know and we will sort it out’. We want to make sure there aren’t any problems like there were with the previous owners,” Wolfgramm said.

“It’s a legal business and we’re not causing any issues.”

She confirmed the club needed to get retrospective building and planning consents to allow it to continue operating.

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The Wolf Club in Manukau’s Cavendish Drive which is operating without the necessary consents and still only has a temporary liquor licence. Photo: LDR / Stephen Forbes

Wolfgramm said she was well aware of Rimmer’s opposition to the nightclub.

“But we want to sit down with him and sort something out instead of using our lawyers,” she said.

“We only operate on Fridays and Saturdays between 10pm and 3am and none of the other shops are even open at that time.”

Wolfgramm said the club has hired extra security to prevent people drinking in the carpark and was paying for cleaners to clean up the site on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Council keeping an eye on liquor licence application

Auckland Council manager of alcohol licensing and environmental health Mervyn Chetty said the Wolf Club’s owners were applying for a liquor licence for the venue.

“As part of this process, the company requires a building and planning certificate which takes into account factors such as fire egress, toilets, occupancy levels and car parking.”

Chetty said the reported incidents related to the previous operator.

“While operating under a temporary licence, applicants must continue to progress with their licence application. If there is deemed to be a lack of progress, council inspectors may follow up with the applicant to get a better understanding of what is causing the delay.

“If the reason given is not satisfactory, it is likely the licence application will be opposed, and the applicant will need to appear at a hearing with the District Licensing Committee.”

He said the Wolf Club’s temporary authority was only valid until 21 July.

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