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Meet Eve Reilly, Lodge Manager
– About

Eve Reilly has helped transition Poronui from its humble beginnings into a world-class sporting lodge. In that time she’s tackled obstacles as big as mountains and experienced as many successes as there are fish in Lake Taupo. “Those obstacles were merely challenges and great were the celebrations as each was conquered,” she quips.

She says that Poronui often offers a first for guests – first fish, first helicopter ride, first canter, seeing their first native falcon… “The excitement is infectious,” she says.

The best thing about her job? “The people.”

 

Do you ever wake up wondering how you got to be the manager of Poronui? Often. Little did I realise that a spur-of-the-moment decision made in 1981 would shape my life for the next 30-plus years. Add to that a combination of seeking adventure and being in the right place at the right time and I found myself at Poronui. Having run a family country house in Ireland, hospitality was in my blood. I felt very much at home.

In those days Poronui consisted of three guest rooms and no electricity, a small team of passionate guides and a clientele of avid fly fishers who quickly became friends. It took a tremendous effort to turn it into what it is today.

Perhaps it just evolved that I became manager of Poronui. (Or perhaps each owner feared the wrath of the Irish!) However, I like to think it was because of my personality, my passion for the property, and my understanding of the essence of hospitality, which transcends countries and cultures. I enjoy the challenge of “making it work”, and surrounding myself with a like-minded team.

You meet many people in the course of your job… what’s the best way of starting up a conversation? Ask a question about their day or their journey so far. Making people feel comfortable is the key, and this is an easy place to start.

What cheers you up? Fresh air.

What have been the highlights of the past year? Seeing the business expand, particularly from a seasonal operation to one that has evolved into the winter months. To get this rolling we took on some key full-time staff, in particular our head chef Steven Patterson. Poronui’s reputation for its epicurean experiences and its farm-to-table focus has meant the lodge has become a sought-after place to work and as a result we are attracting passionate professionals to join the team.

I’ve also enjoyed seeing the increase in the number of guests coming to Poronui for equestrian and hiking holidays, as well as fly fishing and hunting.

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Pan-fried hapuka à la menier, new potatoes, fresh garden peas, roasted vine tomatoes and a tossed green salad with a glass or two of Church Road Grand Reserve 2014. Chocolate mousse with raspberries and a glass of port to finish. I’m happy!

What most motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? The dawn chorus.

What do you do in your free time? Free time can be limited, but seeking the moment is important to me – whether that’s riding, walking, biking, fishing, spending time with friends or just listening to music.

If you won the lottery, would you still work? This is a hard one. I’d do some guiding (hiking, foraging) and a lot of travelling… the bucket list is full, starting with South America.

What is a skill you would like to learn? Become a better fly fisher.

What would be harder to give up, alcohol or coffee? Fresh produce would be harder than either alcohol or coffee.

When do you find yourself singing? When out and about or driving in the car.

What are you most looking forward to about next year? Working with our great team, and lots of adventures for our guests.

Get In Touch

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