We are a small tight-knit team that manages the properties various aspects. To learn a little more about the 'family' that will be taking great care of you please see below.
Bill & Carol Foley
They came back to NZ in 2010 to buy a vineyard, and subsequently fell in love with Wharekauhau and left with a lodge and vineyard. The Foley family are deeply involved in Wharekauhau, our community and our small team of long-standing staff.
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: March 2005
Hometown :: Rotorua, New Zealand
Previous experience of significance :: As well as completing Hospitality Management studies this is the third New Zealand based luxury lodge I have been involved with in the last 17 years that are at the SLH or R&C level.
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: The deep and rich history here, that comes through in how we use the past to guide the present and shape the future. We are a luxury lodge that champions the experience above all else, and we want you to feel like you are part of our extended family in a place that you truely feel connected to the people and the land.
What is your favourite season at the property :: Summer! Days start with the most amazing pink and orange sunrises that you can enjoy your coffee on the beach with not another soul for miles. Days are a sublime warm dry heat that makes mountain hikes under the tree canopy perfect! Evennings are warm, long and light, with the sun, the stars, the mountains and the sky doing this wonderful dance before doing it all again the following day!!
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: August 2011
Hometown :: Lower Hutt, Wellington
Previous experience of significance :: I left the city life in 1999 to pursue a career in sheep and beef farming. I started my training at the Taratahi training farm and once graduating I built up my farming knowledge working on farms in the Central and Eastern area's of the North Island until starting at Wharekauhau in 2011.
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: The journey of taking over a piece of land and being able to build it up to a high standard has been incredible. Taking guest through that journey of progression during farm tours is a real reward.
What is your favourite season at the property :: Autumn is the quieter time of year on the farm and also the time when I take the time to do a bit of hunting, both on the farm and the surrounding hills and wetlands.
Jackie & Audrey
Front Office & Reservations
Jackie and Audrey have formed a dynamic duo over the last few short years. Jackie is on her second stint at Wharekauhau, and has nearly amassed 9 years in total working for the company (From F&B Manager to Front Office Manager). Jackies role is to head up the Front Office, and Audrey provides a wonderful supporting role. Jackie also takes responsibility as the Assistant Lodge Manager
Almost every single guest will be greeted or farewelled by one of these wonderful women, and they are both experts in planning the ultimate itinerary when staying with us.
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: October 2015
Hometown :: Capetown, South Africa
Previous experience of significance :: I worked for Gordon Ramsay at The Savoy Hotel London for 2 years. Worked with one of South Africa’s top chef’s George Jardine and opened a restaurant called Jardine on Bree.
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: I enjoy telling stories about the property and of what I have seen and heard over the years. Remarkable history with a spectacular landscape an unforgettable place with special memories. This unique part of paradise is magical and offers so much it’s truly a bucket list destination.
What is your favourite season at the property :: My favourite season would be Winter. It’s warm and cosy with fireplaces burning in every room. Candles everywhere, a great place to unwind and relax. Watching the storms come rolling in can be quite dramatic and so worth it. Even our menu would be adapted to suit the setting with hearty food, local ingredients with flavours out of this world.
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: December 2018
Hometown :: Bordeaux, France
Previous experience of significance :: Chef Sommelier for a Relais & Châteaux Michelin Star Restaurant in Bordeaux France, called Le Saint-James for 10 years.
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: Explain the story behind a bottle. It's not only alcohol in a bottle. Wine is beautifuly complex, rich and harmonious, and a good wine should capture a part of his environment. Make the guests to understand things like weather, climate, soil, region, varieties... this is the magical part of my job, and the smile on their face because of the good taste of the wine, this is the dreaming part of my job.
What is your favourite season at the property :: Autumn, beautiful sky morning and evening in front of the Lodge, cold outside, cosy by the fireplace inside, perfect excuse to have a glass of wine, or two.
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: June 2017.
Hometown :: Negros, Philippines
Previous employment of significance :: I worked on a cruise ship for 24 years, in Star Cruises, Costa Crociere and Cunard lines, with several positions like Cabin Steward, Butler, Laundry manager, Executive Housekeeper. Every year we have a world cruise and visit New Zealand. Every time we departed from Wellington, I can see the lodge from a distance as we sail away from the Palliser bay without knowing I'll end up working here.
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: I like the long staying guests; they arrive at the lodge as guests and depart as friends. I like it when they ask why I work here- the view, the serenity, the calmness of the place, I have worked from 300 staff in the cruise ship and now with only a handful of staff, everything got is more personal, more meaningful!
What is your favourite season at the property :: I love the spring- all the sounds and colors are just so bright. The blooming flowers, the pink sky at sunrise, the newborn lambs, the birds. My favorite time of the day is opening the lodge in the morning. I always stop and just stare at the bewitching beautiful sunrise.
Head Walking Guide / Fireside Snuggler
When did you start at Wharekauhau :: July 2017
Hometown :: Taupo, New Zealand
Previous experience of significance :: I guess you could say I was 'born for this role...'
What part of Wharekauhau resonates the most with you :: Probably the beach and the ponds...and in winter the underfloor heating! Any chance I get to help a traveller that is missing their canine friend by heading out for a walk, or just sitting by the fire with them. I guess you can call me the Chief Hiking Officer. I shared little of my life via Instagram @adventuresofmerlot if you ever wonder what a lodge labradors life looks like!
What is your favourite season at the property :: Spring!! Im a black Labrador so summer can be a little warm for me, and winter a little wet. However, those Spring months are perfect!!!