The Nelsons at Poronui
Janet and Merlin Nelson have been coming to Poronui since 1997, and this summer returned yet again to celebrate Merlin’s 90th birthday with us.
A Personal Memory of Poronui.
Entry in the Visitor’s Book by Janet and Merlin Nelson 28th November 1997 following their first visit:
We’d like to spend the rest of our lives fishing with Steve and being looked after by Eve. You have an extraordinary operation here.
And again following their second visit November – December 1998:
For those who say that Poronui’s
Not the best, then I say phooee!
Fishing’s fab, the foods delicious,
Weather’s not the least capricious.
Should it rain, then we don’t care
‘Cos lovely Eve and Steve are there
Always welcoming and funny.
Encouraging if it’s not sunny.
They simply make us go on wishing
To be at Poronui, fishing.
Guests at Poronui today would never believe how simple the original cabins used to be. Perched on a grassy shelf downstream from the present lodge, and overlooking the Taharua river, were three small buildings with no electricity. There was sleeping accommodation for six guests, a bunkhouse for the guides and the hub where, from the beginning, Eve enveloped everyone in what became the famous Poronui welcome. She produced extraordinarily sophisticated meals all from a tiny domestic cooker and made sure all her guests were completely comfortable. Each evening she saw to it that everyone had dry clothes, heat in their rooms (even hot water bottles in the beds), and lanterns to light their way to bed.
Poronui Station, as it was then known, was planted with eucalyptus trees used for glossy magazine paper, and it was Simon Dickie who had made the deal for the fishing rights on the station with the then owners Carter Holt Harvey. Poronui as a fishing destination had begun, and it advertised as offering “serious fishing for serious anglers”. Soon anglers were accessing rivers by 4x4 and flying by helicopter to the best rivers in the area - and discovering pristine trout fishing unequalled anywhere.
Poronui subsequently changed hands. The expansion and the new lodge was planned for 1998 and the Lodge at Poronui as we know it today opened in 1999.
There have been many changes and developments. The eucalyptus forest is being transformed back to native bush and pasture for beef cattle, and Manuka honey production has begun. There is riding and hunting, sporting clay shooting, mountain biking, hiking and massage. There are dinners in the wine cellar and full-scale barbecues. The fishing, of course, is still top notch. It is still ‘serious fishing for serious anglers’ and today Poronui ranks among the top blue ribbon vacation destinations worldwide. Always there’s that original Poronui welcome, the insistence on excellence masterminded by Eve that causes guests to become friends, and to return here - again and again.
Janet Nelson, February 2012 – latest visit.