Free House owners Eelco Boswijk, left, and Mic Dover in front of the Mongolian yurt.

Nelson’s iconic yurt is on the move


True to form, The Free House pub’s massive 12m-wide nomadic style yurt is on the move.

After five years on Collingwood St, Free House owners Mic Dover and Eelco Boswijk have decided to sell the yurt as they prepare for the next stage of the pub’s development.

yurt2“The yurt is for sale to the highest bidder,” says Eelco.

“Although we did think it would be great if the council or some other local organisation came forward to buy it and pop it on an empty site in the CBD somewhere, for community use. Or maybe one of the yurt user groups could crowd fund its purchase, we’re open to suggestions.”

The yurt has already been up on Trademe for two weeks with over 500 views and 20 people watch listing the iconic yurt.

However, no one has bidded on the auction yet, which starts at $30,000.00.

Since its arrival from Mongolia in 2011, the yurt has been used for hundreds of gigs, movie nights, book launches, beer tastings, birthdays, weddings and all kinds of community meetings by the voluntary, arts, sports, education and other sectors.

Mic and Eelco say the yurt’s removal will allow for a big expansion of the beer garden, now that the pub is installing its own professional kitchen facilities for the first time. There are also plans to have a transparent roof over the rear part of the garden.
Mic says locals have definitely changed their tune since the yurt was first arrived.

“They thought we were mad when we first got it but know some people arequite dissapointed it’s going.

“Regular yurt users have expressed dismay at the loss to the community of a free meeting place in the centre of town.

Mic says it has certainly had a lot of use over the years and hopes to see it stay as a local hub in Nelson.

“It would be great to see the yurt in a new place so we can all carry on using it, but to be honest, as Nelson gets busier and busier, some nights people leave the pub because there’s literally no place left to sit or even stand.”

Click here to see the Trademe listing.