Ohuatahi, a land of bounty
Explore the wonder of wetlands, forests and dunes and escape to Tahi, a sanctuary and eco-retreat on New Zealand’s rugged north coast. Tahi invites guests to experience nature’s quiet luxury while supporting and contributing to the lands on-going restoration.
Generations of Māori have called this sacred land home, weaving myths and legends around the forests and sea. When European settlers arrived in the mid-1800s, the land was subject to severe tree felling and over-farming. When streams and wetlands dried up, native animals, birds, and reptiles disappeared from the region. In 2004, Suzan Craig, a third-generation beekeeper, purchased the property with a vision to create Tahi, a land reawakened. With a profound respect for the strong cultural heritage and the environment, Suzan began the long-term restoration of Tahi.
Ma tini, ma mano ka rapa te whai – “by many, by thousands, the work will be accomplished,” – Māori proverb
With a proactive approach to sustainability, Suzan Craig endeavored to restore and transform Tahi by placing the environment before profit. Today, Tahi and the luxurious eco-retreat are both carbon neutral and biodiversity positive—through extensive research, development and investment. The success of Suzan’s vision has been in her full-circle approach, balancing conservation, community, culture and commerce by recognizing that each element plays a significant role in Tahi’s long-term sustainability for all of its inhabitants—people, flora and fauna. Suzan explains that the 4Cs have been the undercurrent for every action at Tahi, “from species conservation to renewable energy, recycling water to community outreach, creating jobs to preserving local culture.”
In just over 16 years, Suzan and her team of 25 (including bee keepers) have successfully restored 14% of Tahi’s land by planting 325,000 native trees, re-establishing 85 acres of wetlands, and creating 11 acres of lakes. With renewed waterways and increased tree plantations, the most incredible sign of hope slowly remerged with 71 species of birds, nine native fish species and reptiles returning to Tahi. With that, the most important and hardworking of all, the bees!
Tahi plants up to 20,000 manuka trees per year and 10,000 other tree varieties with the specific purpose of providing birds and bees with nectar to pollinate without competing for a sustainable food source. With a warm, sub-tropical climate, New Zealand’s Manuka trees’ flowers flourish, and a rich, golden, ethically harvested honey is the result. A family business established in 1888, continues it’s legacy today, producing award-winning authentic Manuka honey that is free from additives, created just as nature intended, by the world’s happiest bees.
Tahi is a nature sanctuary internationally recognized as a Global Ecosphere Retreat®, providing guests with a wilderness escape while treading lightly. “We have solar panels on the roof, and electricity is renewable; this applies to all of Tahi, not just the accommodation. We use eco-friendly products and have reused or recycled where possible,” says Suzan. Guests can enjoy nature walks through bush, beach and nature trails, before retiring to the secluded eco-retreat. The retreat accommodates only 16 people at a time, to enhance the feeling of total relaxation and stillness. Each of the three bungalows have a picturesque view of Tahi, looking out over the Pacific Ocean.
Catch a glimpse of one of New Zealand’s endemic birdlife while cruising down the estuary on a kayak or make an afternoon of birdwatching from one of the many breathtaking vantage points dotted along the banks of the streams. Whichever way you choose to explore, there is no doubt that you will be captivated by the unparalleled beauty of the rehabilitated land.
Tahi is living proof that nature is resilient and can recover from the most severe human interference, thriving under pressure to support an ecosystem of water, trees, birds and bees. Get lost on Tahi’s endless green hills for an unforgettable experience, leaving no footprint behind.
images copyrights Tahi New Zealand
words by Amber Muller