In our small community, we have a host of amazing people whose creativity and dedication to the land is constantly inspiring. Here are just a few of our favourite locals who make Matakana one of the most interesting and unique places to visit in New Zealand. We visit many of them on our tours.
Heron’s Flight Winery
David Hoskins & Mary Evans
The first grapes at Heron’s Flight Vineyard, a Tuscan-inspired gem with some truly unique grape varieties, were planted almost 30 years ago. The fact this beautiful vineyard continues to produce delectable wines today is a true testament to the dedication of its owners.
Over the years, David & Mary have raised a family in the area – a place which they now call their “turangawaewae” which in Maori language means “a place to stand.”
But having a place to stand, doesn’t mean Herons’ Flight has stood still over the years. In fact, it is quite the opposite. In 2006 Heron’s Flight Vineyard Restaurant and Winemaker’s Centre was opened – a fact that saw the vineyard win the Manaakitanga Award for the most sustainable business in the area a few years later.
Despite the success of the restaurant, Dave and Mary have since decided to get “back to basics” and are now solely focused on winemaking – with an emphasis on sustainable and organic practices.
In addition to their passion for wine, the duo enjoy meeting and connecting with visitors, sharing their love for the land and tips on the stunning local food and produce.
Pure Pouch Water
David & Debra Key
In New Zealand, we are very lucky to have access to clean drinking water – but not all water is created equal as locals David & Debra Key have discovered. The couple are the creators of Pure Pouch Water, a revolutionary type of artisan water that is sourced and packaged sustainably on their Matakana Coast property.
One of the most wonderful things about Pure Pouch Water is it seems to have been written in the stars that it would one day be created by the couple. It was Debra who found this stunning location after she’d holidayed on the property as a child. Years later she discovered the land was for sale, told David about its pristine river, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Sophie & Michael Isbay
If food is the way to a man’s heart then our Craft Beer & Classic Cars tour will have the blokes swooning, especially after paying a visit to the Matakana Smokehouse! This boutique smokehouse, located just out of the Matakana Village is run by vibrant young couple Sophie and Michael – who gave up sailing the world to settle back in the place where Michael grew up and is now raising his own daughter.
And for what the Smokehouse lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in flavour. The Matakana Smokehouse provides their customers with the freshest and most ethically produced meats and seafood, including iconic Akaroa Salmon, caught, air freighted up from the South Island and cured with 24 hours – you don’t much fresher than that!
Mike Sutherland & Kirsty McKay
If you’re looking for a smooth hop or beer with a bite then the Sawmill Brewery is not to be missed! Sawmill is a New Zealand brewery owned by the very talented Mike Sutherland & Kirsty McKay – a duo who have taken indie craft beer to the next level.
One of the best things about the brewery is the seemingly endless amounts of craft delights on offer – all of which can be seen from the wooden bar area – they also come on tap!
Once you’ve grabbed your beer, you can head out into the “smoko room” for a bite to eat and a chat with the locals. No wonder the Sawmill Brewery has been named one of the top five craft beer brands in Auckland.
There’s no better way to discover the heart of a place than by getting to know the locals – that’s why providing our guests with authentic tours, with real people, who love the land is at the core of what we do at Matakana Tours.