Three things Robyn Renouf loves: the beach, travelling, meeting people and cooking. Sharon Stephenson discovers that all of these coalesce at Atahuri, the boutique Peka Peka lodge Robyn opened in 2012.
- Sharon Stephenson
A little piece of paradise.
Set across 7850m2 of beach-front land, the four luxury guest suites were designed by Auckland architect Ron Stevenson and each has a separate entrance and patio, offering guests complete seclusion.
Sitting low in the sand dunes, Atahuri was designed to blend into its natural environment. Inside, it’s beachside chic-meets-modern luxury: concrete floors, sculptural lights and banks of windows to capture the coastal views.
There’s also a touch of nostalgia about Atahuri, including doors recycled from the former Dannevirke Hospital and bathroom vanities made from thick hunks of Black Totara, recovered from the Manawatu River where they were believed to have lain for up to 2,000 years.
A lot to do...
If swimming in the sea isn’t your thing, there’s also a pool and spa or, if you’re feeling more active, bikes and kites are included.
“We’re also lucky to be situated to so many attractions and activities,” says Robyn. “There are three golf courses within 15 minutes of Atahuri, you could take a trip out to Kāpiti Island or Ngā Manu, go wine tasting at Ohau Vineyard, the privately owned Southwards Car Museum, the largest in the southern hemisphere, outlet shopping at Ōtaki or ride a horse along Waikanae/Peka Peka beaches.”
Or guests can chill out and enjoy the views to Kāpiti Island as well as the serenity of Atahuri which, fittingly, means ‘beautiful, calm and restful place’.
“There are lounging areas dotted around the property which guests can use.”
Although dinner is by arrangement, breakfast is included and this is where Robyn’s love of cooking really kicks into high gear. Using fresh, seasonal produce sourced from Atahuri’s gardens, a typical breakfast could include honey-roasted pineapple with pistachios and coconut yogurt, pecan filo sheets with fried apples or Shakshuka, the middle eastern dish of poached eggs served in a spicy tomato sauce.
Around 75% of Robyn’s guests are international, mainly from Europe, America and Australia, who enjoy a slice of “modern luxury in a laid-back seaside setting”.
It’s a long way from Christchurch-born Robyn’s former career as the owner of a Wellington legal research agency and New Zealand’s first female Landbroker. At one stage, she employed 12 staff who scoured paper-based records of courts, companies and land-titles for clients who ranged from law firms and accountants to finance houses.
But with the move to computerisation, much of that work disappeared. After fighting, and winning, a landmark court battle to allow non-lawyers to do conveyancing work, Robyn felt it was time to do something else, preferably something that incorporated her love of meeting and feeding people.
Location, location, location
She spent three years trying to find the perfect location, which turned out to be the Tasman Lakes sub-division in Peka Peka which was developed in the early 2000s.
The rest, as they say, is history. For Robyn, owning and sharing a piece of paradise is as enjoyable as it was when she flung open Atahuri’s doors eight years ago.
“I feel privileged living here and to be able to share it with others.”