The Palace Hotel

At the recommendation of the local residents in Te Aroha, the team investigates potential hauntings at this iconic local pub and hotel.

History & Background

Palace Hotel, Te ArohaSituated in the very heart of this historic Waikato township, the Palace Hotel is on the corner of Whitaker Street and Kenrick Street, and is close to the famous Te Aroha Mineral Spas.

A historic hotel, it offers twelve affordable guest rooms, a sports bar, gaming lounge, and a family restaurant.

Some locals claim this hotel in Te Aroha is haunted by a spirit known as “Harry the Maori”.

A “clairvoyant” visitor stayed in a room in which a young man had passed away. She knew nothing of the death previous to going in there. Next morning, when asked if she’d seen “Harry” in the night, she answered “Yes, but his name isn’t Harry, its Jimmy and it wasn’t in that room, he died in the room next door!”

A chair in the men’s toilet has been reported to move of its own accord. The owners say that the atmosphere there generally feels positive.

Since the Haunted Auckland team were in Te Aroha for the night investigating a nearby hotel, we thought we’d pay a visit and spent some time researching another allegedly haunted property whilst there.



Palace Hotel, Te Aroha

Members of the Haunted Auckland team (Mark, Barbara, Karen along with Phoenix, who is Karen’s 7-year-old son) visited the hotel on a wintry, rainy night. The group conducted a Class 1 Investigation of all the hotels levels, inside and out.

Haunted Auckland were given a warm and friendly welcome to the Palace Hotel by owner Bruce Austin. Bruce was very helpful and was fantastic as our informative tour guide. He generously gave the team a run down on the Palace Hotel’s history, showed us the entire building (inside and out) and gave us access to all levels.

The bar was closing as we arrived, and it was a dark, gloomy and drizzly night, although not cold.

On entering the building, the team agreed that it felt very much like a normal, everyday pub premises. It wasn’t until we ventured behind the scenes and beyond the typical traditional pub surroundings and decor and headed down into the basement and up into the higher levels, that you started to feel that there might actually be something there and that maybe the stories could just possibly be true.


Observations & Evidence

Palace Hotel, Te Aroha

Mark reported that he definitely felt rather uneasy roaming around the halls of the Palace Hotel – although he said that it could have been partly down to the dim, night-time lighting or maybe the sound of rain outside.

Both Karen and Barbara are “sensitives” and both had personal, possibly paranormal experiences at the Palace Hotel. Upon reaching the landing at the top of the staircase leading towards the bedrooms, Barbara announced that she heard a man’s voice and says that she felt a presence in this area.

Barbara explains “As our group ascended the stairs to the landing area of the guest accommodation I heard a man exclaim and call to us “Hey you!”. There was however no-one there! The area had a sense of a male presence and I do believe that someone was sitting in one of the chairs in the landing. This presence faded however after a few minutes and I could no longer sense him there.”

Barbara reports that she didn’t feel anything in any of the hotel’s bedrooms, but would have liked to have visited the allegedly haunted bedroom (which was, unfortunately, occupied that night).

After investigating the bedrooms and while heading back to the staircase, Karen stopped at a place on the landing between the corridors. She said that she felt ‘strange’ in a certain spot and, standing there for a while, she added that the area made her feel jittery and ‘nervous’.

Barbara, Mark & Karen returned downstairs. Whilst there, and with no knowledge of any of the above, Karen’s son, Phoenix, expressed an interest to go upstairs and see the bedrooms. Karen returned upstairs with Phoenix and showed him around the bedrooms, to which he gave no reaction.

When back down the corridor, Phoenix went ahead and spontaneously stopped in almost exactly the same place that Karen had. He announced that he felt ‘weird’ and ‘freaked’ standing there, that he could ‘feel the energy’ of that particular spot – but moving around the area he also said that places just a short distance away felt absolutely normal to him.

Phoenix described the feeling he had as being “like his stomach had dropped” and seems to have sensed a presence.

The team did not identify any E.V.Ps (Electronic Voice Phenomena) on the audio recordings made during the investigation and no unusual activity was captured on any photos or videos.



Palace Hotel, Te Aroha


The team all agreed that due to time constraints and the spontaneous nature of the investigation, that although it was a rather brief session, we all felt that there was a certain vibe about the Palace Hotel which suggested there might just be something behind the stories and that they possibly aren’t all just urban legend.

Haunted Auckland is keen to spend a night in the hotel. This would give further opportunity for EVP sessions, trigger tests, and audio/video recordings in empty rooms to hopefully identify some of the strange activity that has been reported through the years.

It is felt at this point is that any entities that may reside at the Palace Hotel, would be purely residual in nature and are just going through their repeat playback routines. Team members didn’t report that ‘being watched’ feeling (with only Barbara reporting feeling a presence at one point on the landing), but did report unusual feelings of emotions, and a sense of heaviness in the atmosphere upstairs, which seemed to be focused mostly at certain points in the hallways.

The reactions by both Karen and her son, at differing moments at the same spot at an intersecting hallway is something which the team found intriguing. It has been hypothesized that it was as if there was an unusual increase or change in energy field in the area that caused an identical spontaneous reaction. This is just a theory of course, but definitely an area of the building which would warrant some further investigation and in-depth analysis.

One comment

  1. Lynne Parker

    The man you heard was Jimmy Shine I was best friends with Rin Shine back in the late 60s The Palace is where Erins parents owned it and we use to play upstairs all the time they lived down the end room, it was always dark but good fun Jimmy died in one of those rooms everybody loved him he had red hair

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