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20 years ago at Poronui

The transition from rustic lodge to elegant accommodation…

How time flies! With the start of the fly fishing season just around the corner, it reminds me that this time 20 years ago it was touch and go if we would have the ‘new lodge’ ready for opening. I can remember the late Simon Dickie’s calming influence as he assured me it would be finished in time. We had closed the old lodge for the last time in April 1998  and it was full steam ahead to get the current lodge open for the beginning of the new season.

Choosing the site was key. It had to meet a list of carefully chosen criteria, not least of which was space and a deck overlooking the Taharua River.Then the fun and hard work began. 

Watching the lodge being built in a big shed in Taupo was a first for me. You can imagine the excitement the day it left the shed, bound for Poronui. In no time it was lowered onto it’s piles, closely followed by the individual cabins. A once grassy paddock was beginning to take shape. Bit by bit the buildings transformed into our very comfortable lodge. Timing was down to the wire as the finishing touches were being done as our first guests arrived! Simon’s dream was a reality. 

Two years later phase two began with a very clever makeover and additional luxuries added. We have many guests who still remember the rustic days and were pleasantly surprised by the new lodge. For them ‘Poronui today’ is a far cry from its rustic beginnings.

It’s been an exciting journey and plenty of new skills and new friends acquired along the way. We hope to see many of you visiting again this year for another great season, if you haven't booked yet, we have limited dates available.

Chris & Charlotte’s Unplugged Wedding

Chris and Charlotte really were a match made in heaven for a luxury, unplugged wedding at our sporting lodge. Their beautiful nuptials took place in front of a captive audience at a venue close to their hearts. Read more about their magical day below…

How did you meet?

Through a mutual friend, but the first time we really started connecting was on a hunting trip in the Kaimanawa’s we did together, along with another friend.

Why did you choose the location you did?

Chris is involved in fly fishing and we both hunt, so the neighbouring Kaimanawa Ranges has always been a pretty special place to us. Even more so when at the end of the very first hunting trip taken together, right before we became a couple, we hiked out of the public land and past Poronui to get back to the car. We both remember seeing Blake House in the distance and it seeming so magical, all the way back then. When we got engaged it just seemed like there was nowhere else more suited to us.

Did you have any concerns about the day beforehand and, if so, how were they overcome?

We were aware that the logistics of getting all our guests to somewhere remote like Poronui might be tricky, but it became evident pretty quickly that Claire and the team are total pros and the operation ran like clockwork.

Who helped you organise your big day? Who was involved in the planning?

We didn’t have a wedding planner or stylist, so really it was just Chris and I liaising with Claire and all the other incredible vendors we had involved. What was your favourite part of the planning process? The ‘research’ trips we did to Poronui in the year prior. It was amazing visiting Blake House exactly a year before the wedding, so we could see what the property/trees/landscape looked like at that time of year. Oh, and doing wine tastings to choose our alcohol wasn’t too bad either!

What’s your most precious memory of the day?

Wow, where to start. Probably right after the ceremony when we, along with our photographer, escaped to take photos around the property. It was really nice to have some quiet time together in the midst of the wedding, and do so in such a dramatic landscape.

What did Poronui contribute to the memories of your wedding day?

Other than the place itself being so beautiful and providing the most stunning backdrop, it was really precious being to take all of our loved ones somewhere so remote – but also be somewhere so luxurious. Also, the guidance and assistance from Claire and her team was invaluable.

Do you have a favourite wedding photograph, and where was it taken?

We love them all, but the photos taken in front of the stand of pine trees are pretty special. Also, overlooking the valley in front of Blake House.

Was there anything you would change? E.g. the one thing you might have done differently?

It would have been nice to stay an extra night at Poronui the night after the wedding, just to unwind a little and take it all in without the pre-wedding nerves getting in the way.

What sort of feedback did you get from friends and family?

People were blown away by the location. So many guests said to us afterwards ‘now we understand why you guys spend so much time in this part of New Zealand’. It was like sharing a little secret with all of our nearest and dearest. People also actually loved having some time off the grid, with no phone reception. We had a captive audience!

Would you recommend Poronui to other couples?

Absolutely. There’s nowhere else like it on earth.

Are you in love with the idea of an unplugged wedding? Contact Claire and the team today on 07 384 2080 or email info@poronui.com to book your special day in our remote slice of pure New Zealand wilderness.


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