The Riverhead Villa Story
The Riverhead homestead was originally built by the owner of a Kauri Mill situated on an upper tributary of the Kaipara Harbour. In the 1970's it was moved to Horeke and located on a prominent hill above the village where it enjoys extensive views at the head waters of the Hokianga Harbour.
The resilience of its kauri construction and use of other native timbers is evident today 150 years after it was first designed and built.
In 2020 the homestead was purchased by Utakura 7 Investments Ltd on behalf of the many shareholders of Utakura 7 Incorporation, whose ties to the whenua and moana extend all the way back to Kupe, Nukutāwhiti and Ruanui, to create economic opportunities for their shareholders and local residents alike. Utakura 7 Investments Ltd is proudly New Zealand owned and operated.
Their vision is to be the destination of choice for visitors to the Hokianga, their mission; to uplift the mana of each and every guest through the provision of exceptional customer service.
This act of nurturing and supporting others, known as manaaki, is central to Māori culture and translates readily to the hospitality industry, creating in guests a reluctance to leave and an eagerness to return.
Over the past year Riverhead Villa has been carefully and conservatively renovated to preserve all of the aspects and characteristics that tell the story of her long and interesting life, while at the same time ushering her gently into the 21st century. The end result is a pleasing combination of old meets new; comfortable and familiar, fresh and spacious.
A view from every room and history all around
Riverhead Villa is located on the south side of the Hokianga Harbour.
This beautiful ancient kauri villa was built in 1871 and relocated by the Holdaway family in 1979.
It sits on a raised platform above the historic township of Horeke. The house was cleverly placed so as to allow a panoramic vista of the upper reaches of the Hokianga Harbour from all rooms.
Fancy a day’s sightseeing? The famous Wairere Boulders are just around the corner or The Waitangi Treaty House and Paihia are about 45 minutes away.
The Kerikeri Stone Store is a great example of early 1800s Georgian style architecture and guided tours through this store and Kemp House will give you a glimpse into the oldest first settlement in the country.
Rich in History - Te Tai Tokerau (Northland)
Immerse yourself in the rural heartland of historic Te Tai Tokerau (Northland).
Within the shadow of Karewa Ki Runga, the sacred mountain, the village of Horeke is nestled in the upper reaches of Hokianga-nui-a-Kupe: the departure place of the great Polynesian Navigator Kupe before his return journey to Hawaiiki one thousand years ago.
This quiet hinterland was once a thriving community and home to several renowned Ngāpuhi warrior chieftains and their clansmen. After the arrival of European adventurers and settlers, it nurtured numerous enterprises.
This 1827 artist depiction of the Deptford Dockyard on the foreshore below where Riverhead Villa is situated today is evidence of the commercial activity that fostered international trade for Māori and European residents in the Utakura Valley. Further historical events in Horeke during the 19th century included the first Post Office, the earliest hotel and significant harvesting, milling and export of Kauri.