An annual holiday to Mangawhai has become a catalyst for a lifestyle change to an Auckland family.
Claudia and Rob Parkes, who have been vacationing in Mangawhai for 15 years, are the proud new owners of Mangawhai’s Tudor Oaks Motel.
“We came to Mangawhai for our usual holiday and left as motel owners,” Claudia says.
Although having no prior intentions to step into the hospitality trade, the couple were drawn to the ‘For Sale’ sign.
Curiosity turned to genuine interest and after the customary research, signed up as the new proprietors.
Claudia and Rob’s son Andrew, wife Holly and 3-year-old Leo have also joined the migration north.
The family all shifted together in the pouring rains of early March, with Andrew and Holly taking up residence as managers of Tudor Oaks while Rob and Claudia live nearby in Mangawhai Heads.
Andrew, a chef by profession who has worked in some of Auckland’s top 50 Metro restaurants, is undaunted by his new role even though he has no previous experience in motel management.
“I’m excited about it. After the pressure of being a chef and burning the candle at both ends, the motel will be relatively stress-free in comparison,” he says. “Living in Mt Albert, I was so sick of noisy neighbours, the traffic and the expense of city living. We’ve come up here for a better lifestyle.”
Presently, Holly still commutes daily to her work in Newmarket, rising before dawn for the long drive while Andrew attends to Leo and the motel’s four self-contained units.
He says his challenges so far have been matching the right sheets to the right beds and making the beds presentable enough to appeal to guests.
“There was one morning when I set off the fire alarm and couldn’t get it to stop,” he says. “Just happened to be on Leo’s first day at daycare too.”
The family feel welcomed by the Mangawhai community and are already becoming known by local residents.
“We had only been here a couple of days and people were already waving out to us,” Claudia says. “Up here everyone is so supportive and nice. Definitely the right lifestyle choice.”
HOSPITALITY: Claudia Parkes pictured with son Andrew. The extended family have moved to Mangawhai for a lifestyle change. PHOTO/Julia Wade