A Brief History of Poronui

First Settlement by Europeans

Originally surveyed in 1877 Poronui is one of the many forgotten stories of early New Zealand settlement. It is conceivable that it was once part of the original 75,000 acre Lochinvar block. Even the word means ‘part of something bigger’.

The red hut in our logo was built soon after surveying, and generations of anglers would stay at this humble outpost,  many carving their initials in the kauri timber of the walls.

Black and White inside residence

Poronui has changed in size and ownership many times over the years. Before the First World War it was owned by a Mr. McFarlane. In more recent times, the early 60’s, the Tuhoe Maori Trust Board began a progressive development programme. At that time the property was 17,000 acres. 

>Read more on our blog about the early years, when Poronui was called El Rancho, owned by Mormon missionaries and used to breed quarter horses!

Originally a Farming Project

Poronui New ZealandLater in the 60’s the property transferred to ANZAMCO Limited, an Australian, New Zealand and American Company. Under the supervision of Mr. W. B Mendenhall of Salt Lake City, Utah the company set in motion a remarkable farming project on the then 28,000 acres.

Approximately 2,000 acres of new country were broken in annually, together with extensive aerial topdressing and over-sowing on the hill country. The property really flourished as a farming entity and carried significant  numbers of sheep and cattle.

In the early 80’s the property once again changed hands and the Howard family, originally from the United Kingdom, made Poronui their home. They sold off the northern portion of the property and continued farming the remaining 16,000 acres.

The forestry era for the property began when it was sold to Caxton’s and subsequently Carter Holt Harvey. Some 6,000 acres were planted in Eucalyptus Nitens and Radiata Pine.


Fishing Lodge Added

In 1986 a small fishing lodge was established on Poronui by Simon Dickie, former New Zealand rowing cox  who won 3 Olympic medals - two golds and a bronze. The lodge, perched on an outcrop overlooking the Taharua River, soon became world famous for its outstanding fishing. Simon, a raconteur and expert fishing guide, gathered together a team of people all as passionate as himself about fishing, the outdoors and the New Zealand back country.  The fishing lodge was a huge success story.  The lodge at that time could best have been described as rustic and many guests returned year after year becoming more like family.

Simon was one of the people responsible for putting New Zealand fly fishing on the world map. As the lodge grew in popularity Simon expanded his operation and built the current lodge. The warmth and relaxed hospitality for which Poronui had earned an enviable reputation continued in the new facilities. A number of the current team well remember those early days - namely Grant Petherick, Craig Aspinall and Eve Reilly.

A World Class Sporting Facility is Born

In 1998 the property went on the market and this time the Blake Family from San Francisco not only bought the land but also the lodge business. This was the first time both were under the same ownership and as principal shareholder Mark Blake set about developing Poronui into a world class sporting facility. The Blake House, Stables, Safari Camp and Game Ranch are all legacies from the Blake era.

Wilderness Experience residence

Where We Are Today

Having completed these projects the Blake Family sold to the current owners - the Westervelt Company of Alabama.   Poronui is now one of the Westervelt Sporting Lodges and its natural assets will be grown and preserved for future generations under the stewardship of the Westervelt Company.

To discriminating anglers, Poronui is an historic fly fishing lodge where they go fishing for superb NZ brown and rainbow trout in pristine waters.

To sportsmen, Poronui is a supreme hunting lodge where they can hunt majestic deer in a hauntingly beautiful landscape. To others, Poronui is the ultimate luxury wilderness retreat, a place where they can relax or explore 16,000 acres of timeless wilderness.

To match the premier quality of the outdoor experience, Poronui offers three supremely comfortable accommodation options: the legendary Poronui fishing lodge, luxury camping down by the Mohaka river at Safari Camp or stately Blake House - the choice of celebrities, captains of industry and royalty.

Whether your passion is New Zealand fly fishing, hunting or hiking, our guests talk of the magic of Poronui – the breathtaking location, the genuine Kiwi warmth, and the camaraderie they share with guides and fellow adventurers.

Come and experience the legend of Poronui.

PO Box 1941, Taupo 3351, New Zealand Telephone +64 7 384 2080 Facsimile +64 7 384 2054 ©Copyright Poronui 2012