Wonderful Wanaka hideaway

In hiding at Te Ariki Nui.

In hiding at Te Ariki Nui.

A steel and corrugated iron axeman by Kiwi sculptor Hannah Kidd takes a swing at a tree in the orchard. Picture by Simon Darby Photography
A spa pool is recessed into the decking in a sheltered courtyard between the house and the orchard. Picture by Simon Darby Photography
Double-glazing, underfloor heating and a raised gas fireplace in the lounge make Te Ariki Nui super-cosy in the winter. Simon Darby Photography
A rock with Te Ariki Nui’s emblem, the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Koru carved by Dean Westall from Wanaka, marks the entrance to the property. Picture by Patrick Reynolds Photography
A pair of tin rabbits by Bannockburn artist Alan Waters look out the window of the master ensuite bathroom at their real-life counterparts. Picture by Justine Tyerman
Te Ariki Nui sits light and low on the Central Otago landscape with its alpaca neighbours in the foreground. Picture by Simon Darby Photography
The alpacas share their paddock with a huge red elephant entitled Hybrid by Gaye Roberts. Picture by Justine Tyerman
The alpacas share their paddock with a driftwood circle by talented New Zealand environmental artist Martin Hill. Picture by Justine Tyerman
Te Ariki Nui sits low on the landscape. Picture by Justine Tyerman
Sculptor Jeff Thomson recreated a corrugated iron incarnation of Robyn Hall's much-loved poodle Rastas who sits by the front door waiting for her. Picture by Justine Tyerman
A pair of abseilers climb the hall wall. Picture by Justine Tyerman
An impressive resin adze by Garth Dobney takes pride of place above the fireplace. Picture by Justine Tyerman

Justine Tyerman reverts to childhood behaviour after a week at a wonderful Wanaka hideaway...

As a child, I used to hide at the end of the school holidays when it was time to drive back to Dunedin. Decades later, I gave in to the same impulse as our idyllic week at Te Ariki Nui drew to a close.

We had six days at the peaceful rural abode on the outskirts of Wanaka, surrounded by the Central Otago landscape I’ve loved since my childhood holidays — layer-upon-layer of magnificent mountains, sparkling lakes and rivers, golden tussock lands, orchards of fruit trees, the luminous clear light by day, and the dazzling canopy of stars by night.

We were only 10 minutes from Wanaka but Te Ariki Nui felt like a luxury lodge in a remote wilderness. Apart from invited guests, we saw no other human beings.

Our only neighbours were the sociable alpacas in the paddock next door and a large family of rabbits that bobbed in and out of their burrows.

Te Ariki Nui, designed by award-winning architect Paul Clarke and runner-up in the 2005 New Zealand Home & Entertaining Home of the Year Award, is the Wanaka home of New Zealand fashion icon Robyn Hall.

House allows 'landscape to do the talking'

The concrete, glass and timber house sits quietly in its surroundings allowing “the landscape to do the talking”, as Hall says.

I loved the simple, clean lines of the house — the dull sheen of the natural polished concrete floors, the warm glow of the tall beech doors and cabinetry against a predominantly white palette, the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and the minimal adornment. It was like living within the pages of a design magazine.

Four bedrooms and three bathrooms including a lovely detached, self-contained studio provided ample private space for us while the large open-plan kitchen, dining and living area was perfect for family dinners and socialising.

The kitchen was an entertainer’s dream with every imaginable high-end appliance and utensil along with a generous array of pantry essentials.

On warm days, we pushed back the massive floor-to-ceiling glass walls on both sides of the living area allowing inside-outside living. Double-glazing, underfloor heating and a raised gas fireplace in the lounge would make the house super-cosy in winter.

The luxurious master bedroom at the far end of the house had an Agape tear-shaped bath by the bedroom window where you could bathe while communing with nature.

The bathrooms had glass-walled showers and unencumbered views of the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows.

A sturdy gabion wall built with Cardrona River stones provided a visual shield between the entrance pathway and the house.

360-degree panorama of mountains

The 360-degree panorama of mountains from the rise above the house was spectacular. In the aftermath of a chilly mid-summer cyclone, it was quite surreal to soak in the spa pool surrounded by a substantial dusting of snow on the peaks and ranges.

Near the house, Hall has planted an impressive orchard of fruit and nut trees including hazelnuts, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines, redcurrants, cherries, apricots and gooseberries. The trees have to struggle to survive so Central Otago fruit has an intensity of flavour like no other region. And I could indulge my childhood passion for green gooseberries.

Stunning collection of paintings, sculptures

The axeman in the orchard at Te Ariki Nui never quite managed to fell the tree despite his valiant attempts to hack at the trunk of the silver birch.

He constantly caught my eye, tricking me into believing he was the real McCoy, even after I had inspected his corrugated iron and steel body at close quarters. The clever placement of the Hannah Kidd sculpture just to the right of the house amongst the trees created a ‘trompe-l’œil’ (French: deceive the eye) which fooled us all.

Robyn Hall, an enthusiastic supporter of New Zealand art and architecture, has enriched her 4-hectare property with a stunning collection of paintings and sculptures, many by Kiwi artists.

At the gateway to the property, a rock with Te Ariki Nui’s emblem, the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Koru carved by Dean Westall from Wanaka, is the first indication of the œuvres d’art that lie within. Commissioned by Hall’s late husband Bill as a house-warming gift, it’s one of the owner’s favourite pieces.

Te Ariki Nui means “above all others”.

Driftwood circle and huge red elephant

The alpacas share their paddock with a driftwood circle by talented New Zealand environmental artist Martin Hill and a huge red elephant entitled Hybrid by Gaye Roberts, purchased in 2005 at the Bondi Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

Corrugated iron dog

Hall commissioned sculptor Jeff Thomson to recreate a corrugated iron incarnation of her much-loved poodle Rastas who sits by the front door waiting for his owner.

Sculptor Bing Dawe’s kotuku weathervane was working overtime during our stay, buffeted by gale-force winds, thunder, lightning and sleet.

A pair of bronze birds by sculptor Greer Twiss stand by the front door, peering into the house through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

A myriad of rabbits inhabit both the exterior and the interior at Te Ariki Nui, with artworks, sculptures and toys carrying the motif into bedrooms and bathrooms. Two tin rabbits by well-known Bannockburn artist Alan Waters look out the window of the master ensuite bathroom at their real-life counterparts while a painting, also by Waters, hangs on the bedroom wall.

Former New Zealand Army artist Matt Gauldie’s bronze merino ram hangs in the long white hallway, mounted on a shearing shed door. Nearby, two climbers abseil down the wall, a piece by Bob Burman from Aspen, Colorado.

Adze takes pride of place

An impressive resin adze by Garth Dobney purchased from Just Imagine in Russell by Bill takes pride of place above the fireplace alongside a pair of heavy, linked pounamu rings by sculptor Josh Olley.

“Bill had a great love of all things Maori,” says Hall.

A painting of a musterer’s Driza Bone coat by Ophir artist Louise Syms hangs in the twin bedroom while a sturdy Liberty sewing machine mounted on wheels, is the centrepiece on a handsome silver chest.

A large doe-eyed cow entitled “How now brown cow” peers down the hallway from a wall in the master bedroom. Artist Karen Scott won the “People’s Award” at the Wanaka Art Exhibition in 2014 for her cow painting.

'Like living in an art gallery'

Our week at Te Ariki Nui was like living in an art and sculpture gallery, or in the pages of a glossy design magazine.

We found the place delightfully tranquil. The property is far enough away from Wanaka to feel remote and rural yet close enough to drive into town for lunch, dinner and supplies.

Reverting to my childhood, I hid behind the red elephant with the alpacas when it came time to leave . . .

Te Ariki Nui facts:

Stay: Te Ariki Nui is an excellent base for pre- and post-wedding parties. tearikinui.nz
Drive: Pick up a JUCY Rental at Queenstown Airport and drive to Wanaka — 60 minutes over the Crown Range or 90 minutes via the Kawarau Gorge, both magnificent scenic experiences. www.jucy.co.nz
Fly: Air New Zealand flies daily to Queenstown from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with connections available across the domestic network. www.airnz.co.nz

Justine Tyerman reverts to childhood behaviour after a week at a wonderful Wanaka hideaway...

As a child, I used to hide at the end of the school holidays when it was time to drive back to Dunedin. Decades later, I gave in to the same impulse as our idyllic week at Te Ariki Nui drew to a close.

We had six days at the peaceful rural abode on the outskirts of Wanaka, surrounded by the Central Otago landscape I’ve loved since my childhood holidays — layer-upon-layer of magnificent mountains, sparkling lakes and rivers, golden tussock lands, orchards of fruit trees, the luminous clear light by day, and the dazzling canopy of stars by night.

We were only 10 minutes from Wanaka but Te Ariki Nui felt like a luxury lodge in a remote wilderness. Apart from invited guests, we saw no other human beings.

Our only neighbours were the sociable alpacas in the paddock next door and a large family of rabbits that bobbed in and out of their burrows.

Te Ariki Nui, designed by award-winning architect Paul Clarke and runner-up in the 2005 New Zealand Home & Entertaining Home of the Year Award, is the Wanaka home of New Zealand fashion icon Robyn Hall.

House allows 'landscape to do the talking'

The concrete, glass and timber house sits quietly in its surroundings allowing “the landscape to do the talking”, as Hall says.

I loved the simple, clean lines of the house — the dull sheen of the natural polished concrete floors, the warm glow of the tall beech doors and cabinetry against a predominantly white palette, the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and the minimal adornment. It was like living within the pages of a design magazine.

Four bedrooms and three bathrooms including a lovely detached, self-contained studio provided ample private space for us while the large open-plan kitchen, dining and living area was perfect for family dinners and socialising.

The kitchen was an entertainer’s dream with every imaginable high-end appliance and utensil along with a generous array of pantry essentials.

On warm days, we pushed back the massive floor-to-ceiling glass walls on both sides of the living area allowing inside-outside living. Double-glazing, underfloor heating and a raised gas fireplace in the lounge would make the house super-cosy in winter.

The luxurious master bedroom at the far end of the house had an Agape tear-shaped bath by the bedroom window where you could bathe while communing with nature.

The bathrooms had glass-walled showers and unencumbered views of the mountains through floor-to-ceiling windows.

A sturdy gabion wall built with Cardrona River stones provided a visual shield between the entrance pathway and the house.

360-degree panorama of mountains

The 360-degree panorama of mountains from the rise above the house was spectacular. In the aftermath of a chilly mid-summer cyclone, it was quite surreal to soak in the spa pool surrounded by a substantial dusting of snow on the peaks and ranges.

Near the house, Hall has planted an impressive orchard of fruit and nut trees including hazelnuts, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines, redcurrants, cherries, apricots and gooseberries. The trees have to struggle to survive so Central Otago fruit has an intensity of flavour like no other region. And I could indulge my childhood passion for green gooseberries.

Stunning collection of paintings, sculptures

The axeman in the orchard at Te Ariki Nui never quite managed to fell the tree despite his valiant attempts to hack at the trunk of the silver birch.

He constantly caught my eye, tricking me into believing he was the real McCoy, even after I had inspected his corrugated iron and steel body at close quarters. The clever placement of the Hannah Kidd sculpture just to the right of the house amongst the trees created a ‘trompe-l’œil’ (French: deceive the eye) which fooled us all.

Robyn Hall, an enthusiastic supporter of New Zealand art and architecture, has enriched her 4-hectare property with a stunning collection of paintings and sculptures, many by Kiwi artists.

At the gateway to the property, a rock with Te Ariki Nui’s emblem, the Friedensreich Hundertwasser Koru carved by Dean Westall from Wanaka, is the first indication of the œuvres d’art that lie within. Commissioned by Hall’s late husband Bill as a house-warming gift, it’s one of the owner’s favourite pieces.

Te Ariki Nui means “above all others”.

Driftwood circle and huge red elephant

The alpacas share their paddock with a driftwood circle by talented New Zealand environmental artist Martin Hill and a huge red elephant entitled Hybrid by Gaye Roberts, purchased in 2005 at the Bondi Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.

Corrugated iron dog

Hall commissioned sculptor Jeff Thomson to recreate a corrugated iron incarnation of her much-loved poodle Rastas who sits by the front door waiting for his owner.

Sculptor Bing Dawe’s kotuku weathervane was working overtime during our stay, buffeted by gale-force winds, thunder, lightning and sleet.

A pair of bronze birds by sculptor Greer Twiss stand by the front door, peering into the house through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

A myriad of rabbits inhabit both the exterior and the interior at Te Ariki Nui, with artworks, sculptures and toys carrying the motif into bedrooms and bathrooms. Two tin rabbits by well-known Bannockburn artist Alan Waters look out the window of the master ensuite bathroom at their real-life counterparts while a painting, also by Waters, hangs on the bedroom wall.

Former New Zealand Army artist Matt Gauldie’s bronze merino ram hangs in the long white hallway, mounted on a shearing shed door. Nearby, two climbers abseil down the wall, a piece by Bob Burman from Aspen, Colorado.

Adze takes pride of place

An impressive resin adze by Garth Dobney purchased from Just Imagine in Russell by Bill takes pride of place above the fireplace alongside a pair of heavy, linked pounamu rings by sculptor Josh Olley.

“Bill had a great love of all things Maori,” says Hall.

A painting of a musterer’s Driza Bone coat by Ophir artist Louise Syms hangs in the twin bedroom while a sturdy Liberty sewing machine mounted on wheels, is the centrepiece on a handsome silver chest.

A large doe-eyed cow entitled “How now brown cow” peers down the hallway from a wall in the master bedroom. Artist Karen Scott won the “People’s Award” at the Wanaka Art Exhibition in 2014 for her cow painting.

'Like living in an art gallery'

Our week at Te Ariki Nui was like living in an art and sculpture gallery, or in the pages of a glossy design magazine.

We found the place delightfully tranquil. The property is far enough away from Wanaka to feel remote and rural yet close enough to drive into town for lunch, dinner and supplies.

Reverting to my childhood, I hid behind the red elephant with the alpacas when it came time to leave . . .

Te Ariki Nui facts:

Stay: Te Ariki Nui is an excellent base for pre- and post-wedding parties. tearikinui.nz
Drive: Pick up a JUCY Rental at Queenstown Airport and drive to Wanaka — 60 minutes over the Crown Range or 90 minutes via the Kawarau Gorge, both magnificent scenic experiences. www.jucy.co.nz
Fly: Air New Zealand flies daily to Queenstown from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with connections available across the domestic network. www.airnz.co.nz

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