Your hosts and their journey to Ohakune
Alan came to New-Zealand from the U.K. in 2002, mainly out of curiosity. Many people over the years had told him he'd love it and they were right: the diverse beauty of the country and the easy nature of the people are easy to love. He lived in Wellington for about five years where he completed a Diploma at Massey University before finding a job as a Travel Consultant. During this time he started to think about building a house, and developing a tourism business of his own.
Susie was born in Gisborne and grew up in Tauranga, where she planted a Kauri tree that grew up to be considerably taller than she is. In 1989 she embarked on an O.E. to the U.K., found herself to be inexplicably suited to the climate and made Brighton her home for 15 years. In 2004, older and wiser (though still somewhat shorter than the Kauri), she returned to New-Zealand to live permanently, settling in Wellington, finding a job as a Travel Consultant and meeting Alan at office drinks that first Friday.
It turned out there was a great deal to talk about. Aside from similar tastes in music and many other things, Alan had also lived in Brighton for many years at the same time as Susie. It is a near certainly that they would have sat at adjacent tables in a number if cafes, pubs and restaurants, going right back to 1989. But they never knew it. In Wellington, though, romance blossomed.
Alan had had his eye on Ohakune (as well as Susie) as a likely place to settle from early days in New-Zealand. Susie revealed she too had a soft spot for the place; her family used to come here for skiing holidays when she was young. On her return to New Zealand she had bought a section at the end of Manuka Street, with plans to build a B&B there in the future. And the seed of the dream was germinated.
Susie and Alan were married in March 2008. Manuka Lodge was completed in June and open for business for their first winter season in 2009.