Wedding part of a magical weekend
While Queenstown and Wanaka recently played host to actors Reece Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey, there to shoot a Disney movie, Mangawhai’s spectacular coastline provided the perfect backdrop to a celebrity wedding recently, providing an opportunity for the area to showcase the best of its cuisine, activities and hospitable spirit to 130 international visitors.
Tara Iti Golf Club hosted its first wedding on February 25, with developer Ric Kayne’s daughter Maggie being the first bride to say ‘I do’ to groom Travis Hayden at the exclusive resort.
Manager for Tara Iti, Matt Guzik says the couple chose New Zealand for their destination wedding because of the family’s long love affair for the country and local area, for over 20 years.
“The weather was perfect almost every day, making beach-going and outdoor activities all the more enjoyable,” he says. “Guests not only attended the wedding but travelled the country before and after, enjoying all that New Zealand has to offer.”
A traditional Kiwi BBQ introduced the visitors, the majority from the USA, to local cuisine at the welcome dinner, ending with a stunning fireworks display. Lit from a nearby barge, the impressive demonstration was also appreciated by the Mangawhai community, some as far away as Hakaru.
However, Guzik says the actual wedding ceremony was an understated affair, nestled amongst the dunes with a backdrop of the islands, barefoot bridesmaids – actors and fashion designers, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen – with the reception dinner held in a large tent overlooking the coastline of Te Arai.
“The chef for the evening was Vaughan Mabee, Northland-born head chef at Amisfield Bistro. He and his team replicated an Argentinian grill with pits for fire cooking, Francis Mallmann-style, a favourite of the groom,” he says. “Aside from traditional grilled meats, the chefs added a Kiwi twist with grilled local cray and whole giant hapuku.”
Guests made the most of what Mangawhai had to offer including beach and water sports, fishing, chocolate-making classes at Bennetts, clay target shooting and archery, bird watching and hiking, horse riding at Pakiri, local market tours, spas and massage, all using local vendors.
As Tara Iti only has limited rooms, over 25 local accommodations were rented for the occasion with visitors and staff staying in a variety of local B&B’s, holiday rentals and private homes, many equipped with house keepers and concierge.
Guzik says Tara Iti want to extend their thanks to local home owners for opening their doors as well as participating local businesses and the people of Mangawhai who ‘made this magical weekend a reality’.
“The guests had nothing but positive things to say about the area’s beauty and the people. The community support was astounding, ranging from local businesses, to local artisans and smiling faces in the village and markets,” he says. “We are so proud to be part of this community and are happy to be able to share it with our international guests.”
Pics compliments of the Kayne family