The Historic Waipoua Lodge
The main lodge is a kauri wood villa which has accommodated guests since the early 1900s. This original pioneering homestead is a rich piece of New Zealand history and character, enhanced by the memorabilia and historic pieces set within the lodge.
The four acre property is set on a ridge overlooking the vast Waipoua Forest and farmland. There are extensive gardens to explore and a bush walk with native birdsong to fill the silence.
The four uniquely appointed suites are set in the historic farm buildings adjacent to the lodge, overlooking the forest and gardens.
History of Waipoua Lodge
Katui (the name of this area) was originally called ‘Te Puke o te Kaitui’ which means ‘the hill where the tuis feed’.
Around 1900 it was all native forest and then the government decided to push European habitation further north from the already existing settlement of Kaihu. They promised the first 10 settlers (to be decided by ballot) that they could have, free of charge, a 100 acre block already fenced and with part of the bush cleared for a house site.
Around 1906, the Newman family from Taranaki successfully won a 100 acre block of land, but when they arrived they were disappointed to find just a dense and wet forest. Under difficult conditions they built their first shed just to the south. They then purchased additional land and proceeded to fell and mill the kauri timber to build the homestead which is the main guest lodge you see today. It is thought that the home was finished just after the first world war (appx 1918-20) and William and Albatina called the homestead Lilydale.
The Newmans also built the outbuildings for their animals and storage. As well as sheep, beef and dairy farming, William Newman had a carting business transporting cream and kauri gum to market. His wife Albatina also ran a small shop on the roadside catering for locals and passing travellers.
The forest road was very dangerous after dark and travellers would knock on the door at all hours seeking refuge. The homestead therefore became a popular boarding house as well as being the Newman family home and farmhouse. William Newman sadly died in 1930 aged 55, but Albatina continued taking in guests until her death at the age of 71 in 1953.
After this the lodge sadly fell into disrepair as their son Dick inherited the property. Dick was a bachelor and did not want to have anything to do with guests – in his childhood it was his bed that was often given up to strangers seeking refuge! Rumour has it that Dick even used the ballustrades around the front porch for firewood. The property then passed to Dick’s nephew, Brian Newman and his wife Janice in 1978 who extensively renovated the homestead to bring it back to its original condition and then opened the Katui Homestead Teashop in 1983.
In 1990 the homestead became Waipoua Lodge under the ownership of Raewyn & Tony Lancaster who developed the outbuildings and created The Stables, The Woolshed and The Calf Pen for guests to stay at the lodge. Raewyn was a great cook winning many New Zealand Beef & Lamb awards and the restaurant and tea rooms were very popular with visitors and locals alike.
In 2004 Waipoua Lodge again changed hands and this time Nicole & Chris Donahoe greatly refurbished all the suites and extended the facilities including the addition of the separate owners’ accommodation. Significant maintenance and improvements were under taken by Nicole and Chris making the lodge eligible for its current Qualmark 5 star status.
In November 2010, Ian & Fran Farrant purchased the lodge – they always saw themselves as custodians of this very special and unique place. Ian and Fran undertook improvements to add environmentally friendly and sustainable enhancements to Waipoua Lodge. Over six and half years they went on to achieve many other industry accolades, both in New Zealand and worldwide, for their commitment to ‘creating a memorable guest experience’.
In September 2017, Waipoua Lodge welcomed Phil, Lily & Grace Berge who made many improvements to the lodge and surrounding gardens. Having put in a brand new spa pool for guests and doing extensive work around the gardens to create a truly luxurious place for guests.
February 2020 saw the current owners Ann Sissons and Fiona Carter arrive, they relished the opportunity to become part of this stately homes history.