MOOSE LODGE | HISTORY
THE WAY WE WERE
In the late 1800s, when Canadian dentist Dr Frederik Raynor honeymooned in the farthest land from Canada as he could find, he was not prepared to fall in love again.
With his beautiful new bride by his side, Dr Raynor fell in love with New Zealand. Everywhere he looked he saw a land embraced by lush green hills and dales, mountains that reached up to clear skies and their millions of stars, rivers that traversed and carved out untouched gorges, crystal clear lakes with sandy beds, natural pools of hot mineral water nestled in Nature’s bosom, the symphony of birdsong and air so clean it seemed almost a sin to breathe it.
So in 1898, Dr Raynor chose a magical spot; an elevated knoll, some 30 metres above the calm, pristine waters of Lake Rotoiti in the Central North Island and built Moose Lodge on 18 acres of land.
Moose Lodge was Dr Raynor’s hideaway in his chosen paradise. It had an expansive view of the surrounding hills and lakeshore, its thermals rising from veins of natural volcanic rivers many miles below the ground, their steam meandering out onto the water creating the many moods of this special lake. This same view is experienced by the many who visit the Estate today.
In this lakes district of the North Island, where thirteen lakes string together amidst forests, streams, rivers and rolling countryside, the massive 12 pointer Moose still welcomes visitors to Moose Lodge as he has done for numerous Heads of State and celebrities who have graced the property ever since.
Although Moose Lodge has existed for more than a century, it has only had five owners, each one of which has valued her exceptional qualities and loved her dearly. In the 1930s when Dr Raynor passed away, his good friend Sir Noel Cole put Moose Lodge on the map. With the two Royal Tours of the British Monarchy and Sir Noel Cole’s numerous friends, associates and acquaintances, all of whom were of high standing in society, Moose Lodge became the shining beacon of New Zealand. Visitors since then have been world famous and their faces familiar to all. Today, only some of these photographs grace the limited wall space of the library and billiards room.
In 1995, Moose Lodge grew from its original 18 acres to become an Estate of 100 acres, when its owners bought the adjacent land and built a double 9-hole golf course to add to the many sporting facilities available to the Lodge guests. Guests played golf on this challenging course with its nationally-ranked greens, as well as enjoying fishing, tennis, and all the other activities the region is known for.
Following the expansion, Moose Lodge underwent a major restoration and upgrade. All old systems were removed and new ones installed to meet the current building and safety standards, making the magnificent Lodge safe, sturdy and strong for all who grace the Estate. Throughout the restoration of Moose Lodge, period architectural features, colours, subtle touches of the old days and ways, were handled very sympathetically. As a result, all visitors today are able to experience the grand Estate and tread in similar footsteps of the rich and famous who reveled in Moose Lodge’s grandeur in the halcyon days at Lake Rotoiti.
In 2016, another thorough restoration has brought this grand lady to another level of excellence. This recent restoration is to ensure the grand lady moves forward through its next century, strong and beautiful. The Estate is ready again for guests who will be treated like all those who have graced the Estate before them and allow them to add to its history with their presence. Be it a wedding, birthday, christening, renewal of vows or any special occasion; celebrations are made extra special at Moose Lodge as you will be joining the many famous people who have graced this Estate for over a century.