Our Story

Our relationship with the Te Arai region began over 25 years ago, visiting the area for holidays with our family and staying with Kathy’s parents in nearby Mangawhai, where her father, NZ Golf Legend, Ted McDougall, worked as the pro at the Mangawhai Golf Course.

After many years of searching, 15 years ago we bought our bare block of land surrounded by an ancient podocarp forest and native bush, which offered all the attributes we were looking for to develop the vision we had for the Lodge.

We embarked on a long-term sustained pest eradication initiative trapping possums, stoats and rats, which has resulted in a regeneration of native birdlife that now thrives in our region.

I am a qualified chef by trade but an entrepreneur by nature, starting and running over 20 different businesses in a wide range of industries. As a side interest, I also have a passion for projects, building and development, and have designed and built a number of different properties with Te Arai Lodge being the crowning glory.

I retired at age 50 and have spent the last 10 years traveling the world on adventures and explorations, visiting over 100 countries, hiking the Himalayas, traveling overland through Central America, Europe, Asia and Indochina, cruising around South America, Antarctica and the Caribbean, cycling on a push-bike from northern Canada to Mexico and recently cycling on a push-bike 12,000 kilometres from Cairo, Egypt through 10 countries to Cape Town, South Africa, a 5-month epic adventure!

My wife Kathy is a wonderful mother to our 3 now adult children and has supported me with all of our businesses with a drive towards sustainability, the environment and creating a positive change in the world. She is a passionate gardener, a talented cook and an inspirational yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi instructor.

Together we share our talents and blessings with a wide circle and contribute through a range of charities and gifting. Te Arai Lodge is a proud sponsor of NZ Forest & Bird https://www.forestandbird.org.nz with a percentage of all profits from the lodge being donated to support the work of this iconic Kiwi institution.

Our daughter Nicola is the Lodge Manager, multilingual host and passionate garden-to-table chef. Her background is in design, romance languages and gastronomy, having attended high school and university in various parts of Italy and completed her masters thesis in Italian on the history of food at The University of Bologna in Italy.

She has since worked in the food industry and as a recipe developer in Paris, Milan, Madrid, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Wellington and Auckland, written several recipe books with Green Kitchen Stories in Sweden and presented a travel food series with World Nomads in Spain.

Recently she returned home with much enthusiasm and knowledge after having worked in the kitchens and permaculture gardens of some of the world’s top wellness retreats such as Gwinganna in Australia, Aro Hā in New Zealand and Stedsans in the Woods in Sweden.

Our eldest son Doug is in charge of our website, marketing, social media and new initiatives. He is a qualified yoga instructor, a keen golfer and cyclist, and fitness guru who runs yoga and organic movement classes for our guests.

Our son Harry is a musician, artist, photographer and fly fisherman who offers guests trout guiding experiences around New Zealand and saltwater fly fishing in our local waters.

We look forward to sharing our passions, talents and the Te Arai Lodge experience with you all.

Fine wine, food, friends, fun and festivities,

Vince, Kathy, Nicola, Doug and Harry