"Salt of the Earth" Our People

In New Zealand we use the phrase 'salt of the earth' when referring to our authentic, hardy and enduring characters, the ones who would literally go to the end of the earth.  It is not a phrase commonly dished out but revered for folk who have your best interests at heart, without pretence, who genuinely care.  

At the heart of the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand are our people.  Together, with our land, our history and our culture are the fundamentals of our hospitality ethos, the feeling that you are truly welcomed by people that genuinely care and also who are passionate giving you a 'salt of the earth' experience.

Meet our Luxury Lodge ‘family’ locals connecting guests with experiences and creating memories that only those 'in the know' can do.  What to see, when and how your days will be filled with money can’t buy insider adventures of a lifetime. 

Our people know what is happening on the farm, where the trout are basking and the best place to spot a Kiwi after dinner.  They will treat you to the latest vintage wine & whiskey from the barrel, invite you to forage with world acclaimed chef's,  wander with you their meticulous gardens, teach you what to grow and when and take you places you have never heard of. 

Over dinner our locals will plan the best family adventures and the next day make delicious picnics, fly, guide, skipper and hike by your side. 


Read more about Our People 

(as pictured)

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Cape Sanctuary Manager, Lindsay Wilson

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary is one of New Zealand’s largest privately owned and managed wildlife sanctuaries in the Hawkes Bay.  2,500 hectares of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula are protected from predators by a 10.5 kilometre predator proof fence.

Learn more about the kiwi programme & discovery walk Lindsay Wilson, Cape Sanctuary Manager.


Chef Paul Froggatt, Huka Lodge

Executive Chef Paul Froggatt brings a fresh approach to the contemporary fine dining menus he creates for the enjoyment of guests during their stay at this iconic property. New Zealand’s boutique producers and strong focus on free-range and organic production has aligned beautifully with Paul’s own desire to create stunning dishes based on peak seasonal availability. His estate-to-plate ethos has resulted in close relationships with growers, gatherers and farmers, as close to home as possible. Within the magnificent grounds at Huka Lodge this extends beyond an amazing herb garden to their very own beehives. 

Paul is obsessive about the quality of the ingredients he uses and respecting the produce – preparing and presenting it in a way that best defines its very essence and taste. Achieving this may involve hours of preparation behind the scenes, and the final presentation is breathtakingly exquisite, while the textures and the flavour combinations are superb.

Treat yourself, Huka Lodge is an easy drive from Auckland - look out for the dining events & packages highlighting Paul’s cuisine and supporting local producers


The Fishing Guides of Poronui

Headed by Craig Aspinall

Born in Dunedin, Craig started fishing when he was a nipper with his dad and eldest brother who is also a fishing guide. He's been a guide at Poronui since 1998. Fly fishing is more than a sport, it is a passion shared with repeat clients, new clients, friends and family.

Poronui, one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets is not far from Taupo and one massive playground  for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fishing and the very best of the great outdoors.  The lodge style accommodation is casual luxury plus the four-bedroom Blake House perfect for family & friend groups.  In the summer riverside glamping is popular.

Check out their packages for everything and everyone


Richard Rooney, General Manager – Wharekauhau

Richard has been with Wharekauhau since 2006. This is the perfect lodge for Richard who grew up on a farm, has worked across four of the luxury lodges in New Zealand since he was 15 and has achieved numerous global accolades.  Renowned for his welcoming hospitality, passion for Pinot Noir and planning the most amazing guest experiences that extend to walking his black lab, “Merlot” for guests missing their four-legged friends.


Peter & Bobbie - Edenhouse

Edenhouse and owners, Peter & Bobbie Martin, have featured twice in Andrew Harper’s Grand Awards  “Best Luxury Hotels in New Zealand” and “Owners of the Year” (worldwide).

Whether it is five minutes or five days in their company, Peter & Bobbie instinctively know how to create an indelible impression and create an experience to remember.  So much so, that Edenhouse has one of the highest rates for return  visitors in the Collection and when guests travel half the world to get there this says something!


Louisa (Choppy) Patterson

Founder & CEO, Over the Top Helicopters, Queenstown

Over The Top, a favourite heli scenic partner of our guests and luxury lodge’s adventure began in 1986 when Louisa (Choppy) Patterson realised her dream to showcase the secret parts of New Zealand to visitors who desired an experience not normally accessible. To soar amongst mountains, comb a deserted beach, sip pure water from a suspended alpine lake, land on a pristine glacier, meander through a rainforest and enjoy a picnic in a habitat seldom frequented by man.


The Te Arai Lodge Family, Mangawhai

Vince, Kathy, Nicola, Doug & Harry

A family that developed their strong history with Te Arai and nearby Mangawhai into the realisation of a dream and quite literally that is one also for guests that have the privilege of experiencing this home away from home.   Completely off the grid, with an ethos of sustainability and creating positive change this family delivers the most magical of experiences.

For the full story


Levi (and his dogs) - Farm Manager

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Since 2015, Levi has been explaining to guests how hill country sheep and beef farming works in New Zealand and how dogs are used to muster paddocks.   

For many guests including families, it is a highlight is  to participate in the daily working farm activities and engage with the animals.


Maria – The Marlborough Lodge

Maria ails from Waxweiler, Germany and has called Aotearoa home since 2000 joining the lodge in  2005 and has since become part of the inventory.

Trained in hospitality, FOH and fine dining to then discover her passion for gardening.

For anyone who has visited The Marlborough Lodge, the expansive grounds are enchanting and beautifully curated.

Maestro of the grounds, Maria created a knot garden from a design in an original stained-glass window in the lodge.


Brett Michalick, The Landing - Bay of Islands

Brett, a local of The Landing in the Bay of Islands for the last 6 years is passionate about the culture, geography and wildlife on and off the water.  In his own words “my  job is to create experiences that money can’t buy”


Hall & Miles, Otahuna Lodge 

 In 2006, Hall Cannon and Miles Refo bought Otahuna and set about breathing new life into it. After an extensive refurbishment, they opened it as a private luxury lodge, bringing a spirit of hospitality and bonhomie back to one of the country's grandest country houses – and its garden. Food comes largely from the kitchen gardens and from the food bowl that is Canterbury, the wine is sourced from boutique vineyards all around New Zealand, and a spirit of welcome comes from these two Americans, who have so enthusiastically adopted New Zealand as their home. 

Join Hall & Miles as they celebrate 125 years in 2020 of Otahuna with a series of celebratory events.


James & James – Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Oamaru

Well established new New Zealanders, the story of how these two gentlemen from America came to Oamaru and purchased what is arguably the largest wooden structure in Australasia transforming it into an experience of warm welcoming hospitality and comfort makes for fascinating dinner party conversation.

Passionate connoisseurs of the nearby Waitaki Valley, home of some of New Zealand’s oldest grape vines and incredible geography, James & James treat guests to an authentic, warm stay in a little known heritage town making Pen-y-bryn the ideal stopover on a South Island road trip.


Graeme & Kim - Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds

General Managers Graeme & Kim are guardians of this water taxi only accessible paradise deep in the Marlborough Sounds where guests are immersed in birdsong, wildlife, water activities and award winning cuisine.  Bordering the internationally-renowned Queen Charlotte Track, preserving the natural heritage is close to their heart.  A call to Graeme will have all logistics, activities and adventures organised with his recommendation for which of the beautiful suites or apartment style accommodation overlooking the water is best for you.