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Maîtres de Maison Relais & Châteaux

Richard Rooney

Maître de Maison - Relais & Châteaux

Richard Rooney

Wharekauhau Country Estate

Featherston - New Zealand

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Maître de Maison Relais & Châteaux

Can you tell us the story of your property?

This farmland holds a very unique and special energy, good things have happened here in the many years gone by. We firstly sit on a 65metre coastal escarpment that has endless views across the dramatic and windswept Pallier Bay. Behind the lodge we have the towering Remutaka mountain range, and on the pastoral terraces in between we have the Wharekauhau farm. We embrace our isolation, and offer every guest an insight into farmhouse hospitality, and outdoor pursuits that emphasize the location. We are one of the oldest sheep stations in New Zealand and have a very strong farming backbone. 

What is your trademark in terms of the art of generosity and warmth?

I have always said “If you have the financial means, and the right building permits, then you can build a lodge anywhere”. Whilst we have the most amazing dramatic backdrop of Palliser Bay, and the Remutaka mountains, what sets Wharekauhau apart is the relaxed, New Zealand ‘farm-house’ hospitality. All of my staffs have the time to talk and get to know the persons that are staying – I encourage personal connection.

What memories do you want to give your customers?

We want everyone to sit back in years to come and smile as they fondly recall their time here at Wharekauhau. It could be hand feeding the wild eels in the estates ponds, or learning how to shear a sheep. I wish for everyone to take the memory of passion and a true New Zealand experience away with them.


What passions do you share with your guests at your property?

I collect wine personally so often find myself in the cellar sharing a glass of wine, and telling the beautiful story of the wine industry here in New Zealand. I am often on the property with my Labrador, ‘Merlot’, who guests often join us for walks, and general ‘puppy-play’ on the lawn.

Wharekauhau Country Estate

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