Call Us : 09 283 5534

The Story

Home  >>  The Story


Constructed for the Bank of New Zealand in 1910 to a New Zealand neo-classical design, this building with the ground floor banking chamber and associated upstairs accommodation reflects an era when the bank manager was the most important person in town.

The banking chamber with its beautiful arched top windows, polished matai floors and rimu architraves, working fireplaces and stunning ornate ceiling, is now the restaurant. The single storey extension completed in two parts, in 1957 and 1987, houses the service areas and part of the unique backpacker unit.

Upstairs was formerly the managers accommodation and is accessed via a three-stage ornate wooden staircase; it now consists of five boutique hotel rooms, each furnished in keeping with the era and modernised to provide individual en-suites.

Although BNZ had shifted out only a few months before Jack and Di purchased the building, it had been for sale for some time; the requirement to carry out expensive earthquake strengthening had severely curtailed buyer interest.  Jack and Di were concerned that if something was not done, it would become a derelict building, with smashed windows and tagging, and would drag the township down with it.  They set about planning to establish a business that could potentially employ as many local people possible, and came to the conclusion that a combined food and accommodation business open seven days would fit the bill. Their aim was to restore the building to the original condition with the addition of modern conveniences such as en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning etc.  Asbestos was removed, earthquake strengthening completed, timber stripped and refurbished, fire proofing added, and ornate ceilings rebuilt.

It is hoped that the overall investment of almost $2m will cause visitors to stop, spend time and get to know the many great aspects of Kaikohe; the real issues that media does not report. By employing virtually all locals, this provides guests with an opportunity to get to know the people of our area, an experience commented on frequently – departing guests often leave with a big hug for the manager! One german couple commented that the evening sharing the backpackers unit with a local family attending a family reunion was one of the highlights of their New Zealand trip.


Jack Poutsma and Di Maxwell both have deep roots in the Kaikohe community; both attended school in Kaikohe and have maintained links with the town right through their adult lives.  Jack’s mum was the Northland College Librarian and his father an accountant in the town for many years.  Di’s mum only recently sold her shop in town and retired at the ripe old age of 89.

They plan to use local produce wherever possible, in order to support local growers and suppliers, and to operate the business in a highly sustainable manner.

Jack and Di have more plans for social enterprise development in Kaikohe and are looking forward to many interesting projects to work on in their spare time during their “retirement”.