Joanne Anson was the head chef for eleven years at luxurious Okiato Lodge in Russell. She’s spent time cooking for her own clients in the UK and Melbourne, had a property-management business and owned her own high-end Christmas cake company. Now she’s managing a slice of the some of the best luxury accommodation in the Matakana area: Takatu Lodge. In the year that she’s been at Takatu Joanne has been involved in moving the Lodge towards self-sufficiency with its own heritage orchard and vege garden. She bottles fruit, jams, chutneys and was finishing a batch of lemon curd when we spoke. She even makes bath salts in-house. The Lodge is also a serious vineyard, which bottles a beautiful Rosé, a Pinot Gris and Merlot Franc Malbec.
Guests arrive to find home baking and a local cheese board featuring Whangaripo buffalo cheeses. Other local products making regular appearances are Matakana Coffee, Omaha Organic Blueberry juice, the excellent new Jones Road Cider, Lothlorien Feijoa wines, free-range meats from both the Matakana and Warkworth butchers, local oysters, strawberries and Matakana Smokehouse salmon.
Joanne says, “Takatu takes its name from the surrounding area. The literal translation is ‘well prepared’. This is how we at Takatu Lodge aim to be for all our guests. We want to provide them with a warm welcome and a stay that is relaxing and rejuvenating, with an overall feeling of generosity. We aim for them to leave us feeling they have made new friends – with a desire to return and bring others to share this unique place.”
The Lodge has recently undergone a full refurbishment, with interior design by Julie Mathias “JEM Interior Design”. Lavish touches include underfloor heating, high-end furniture and marble bathrooms, complemented by the work of award-winning local artists such as Virginia Leonard.
518 Whitemore Road, Matakana
09 423 099299
Words by Kathy Hunter Photos by Hannah Kitchen