www.poronui.com – Westervelt Company’s Poronui Lodge
An adventure that started 26 years ago for one of us!
Once upon a time, I slung a backpack on my back and headed around the South Pacific. I landed in New Zealand, after 10 days in Tahiti. Having spent most of my money sipping umbrella drinks, I decided I better work a bit in NZ. I took a job with the Howard family who owned Poronui – all 22,000 acres of it. I lived with them for about 6 months and learned to flyfish on this remarkable piece of land. Some 20 years later I returned and my friend/their oldest son, Shamus, took all of us on a helicopter ride over the property, setting down on the spot of the old homesite (the home had burnt to the ground in the nineties). We also went to the spot of the current Poronui Lodge for a tour, and flew over some favorite fishing holes. The memories of my youthful foray in that beautiful country are almost always with me. Poronui is indeed a very special place and the new owners have created a wonderful oasis for many to enjoy this rare spot.
Poronui, a favorite fishing and hunting ground for ancient Maori tribes and early English settlers, started as a rustic fishing camp and has since evolved into one of the world’s finest fishing, hunting, and wilderness lodges. Set in the heart of the Kaimanawa Mountains and nestled in the secluded Taharua Valley on New Zealand’s North Island, this 16,000 acre luxury wilderness retreat boasts true backcountry wilderness for the adventuresome. Poronui is owned by the socially and environmentally aware land resource organization Westervelt Company.
World-class accommodations include the legendary Poronui Lodge aka main lodge and spiritual center which combines a traditional fishing and hunting atmosphere with elements of modern luxury. Guests relax by the fire or on the balcony overlooking the river. Stylish timber and canvas tents at the rustic-luxe Safari Camp on the banks of the Mohaka River, and luxury overnight camp-outs provide back country isolation while enjoying creature comforts of hot running water and flushing toilets. The five-star Blake House sits on a plateau overlooking the Taharua River providing guests with quiet seclusion and exquisite views.
Baby boomer outdoor enthusiasts have over 100 miles of roads and tracks of native bush and wilderness to tramp (hike), bike and explore. Some of the many activities available include fly fishing for notoriously large rainbow and brown trout and hunting for Wapiti Elk, Red Stag, Fallow, Rusa, Sambar and Silka Deer. Enjoy a magnificent cultural hangai feast during The Kai Waho Experience with guide Tom Laughlin, who uses traditional hunting/gathering techniques and cooking methods while regaling you with local lore.
I look forward to another return to this historic location, one that includes horseback riding and fishing…just as I recall my special time there so many years ago.