Until the advent of Covid 19, New Zealand had become a “destination” for international visitors – aggressively supported in the previous 10-20 years by a government push to promote tourism for economic benefits.

The development has been “shot gun” rather than targeted – in the period visitor numbers have doubled to 3.2 million, with 5 million predicted. The funding and infrastructure to handle this in an appropriate manner, keeping residents and visitors happy, is a difficult conundrum. We sincerely hope there is more constructive thought employed as we start to emerge from Covid.

In 2008 Takutai trust invested in an accommodation and horse trekking business at the Pancake Rocks (Punakaiki, West Coast, South Island). This geological phenomenon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in New Zealand (around half a million visitors per year). A surrounding area consisting of rough Tasman Sea coast on one side and 300-year-old forests on the other adds to the experience. Bush walks, surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, gold digging, mining history are just some of the activities.

In 2014 Takutai built a “plywood house on the beach” to support the near full occupancy experienced at Hydrangea Cottages in season. The project was interesting with unique circumstances – nationally, the area is designated “scenic top priority coastal landscape” – this required strict covenants of design to “blend” into the setting. An isolated location, combined with a budget that reflected the circumstances, added to the task. Whilst landscaping will always be a work in progress we are very proud of the current vista. Many family and friends have helped in the process. Current occupancy supports the addition and with 95% international guests, it is a pleasure to read the visitors book.