Hei Matau Lodge, Waiheke

Hei Matau means fish hook in Maori. It symbolizes prosperity, as fish were so plentiful to Maori that simple ownership of a fishhook meant prosperity. The Hei Matau also represents strength, determination and good health as well as providing a safe journey over water.

This is a luxury bed and breakfast lodge with 3 guest suites in addition to the main house and family bunkroom. It is on the eastern shores of Cable Bay, Waiheke Island.Part of a large sub-division the 8 hectre site had a restricted building platform that the clients were keen to push to the limit. The natural lie of the land is out to the southeast with a marvellous sweeping view across the gulf back to Auckland. At times the site is exposed to tremendous winds that originate in the south but funnel through the harbour channel.

The main house was to incorporate several living spaces to be used for entertaining numbers of extra guests. The cumulative area required, including 4 car garaging, was nearly double the allowable footprint so a 2-storey design was a given. The clients also wanted the lodge to be styled with reference to the boatshed because of its proximity to its own boating-beach.

The challenge here was to put a large house elegantly onto a platform where view and sun are on opposing sides of the natural contour. It was important to strike a balance between simple vernacular forms the clients were looking for and a construct that would maximise view shafts while enjoying sun and shelter.

The main spine of the building has been snapped in two to follow the curve of the contour. This formed a dramatic entry space – a tension between the two very regular arms of the house breaking out to a dynamic entry courtyard with infinity pool merging with the sea beyond.

The slope was excavated enough to develop courtyards protected from the onshore winds, divided by the bunk wing into car court and private outdoor space. A simple glass box relates to the entry link and projects the occupants away from the solidity of the house proper to experience the gulf in all weathers.

Highly detailed cabinetry throughout this spacious complex results in a very relaxed form of luxury exemplifying the Hei Matau vision.