When designing Takatu Lodge with architect Steve McCracken and interior designer Prudence Lane, the use of natural materials with minimal impact to the environment was paramount.

At no stage did we want to compromise the comfort, elegance and luxury offered to guests hence the attention to detail, leaving our guests free to unwind and enjoy the peaceful, natural environment of the vineyard.

Architectural attributes: our green principles of architecture

  • We reduce our dependence (impact) on resources by being more efficient. One of the ways we accomplish this is the north-facing orientation & positioning of the lodge, to take full advantage of harnessing the sun’s energy for heating and breezes for cooling. Features such as overhanging eaves, shading and ventilation keep the rooms cool in summer.
  • Whole walls of glass and carefully designed roof lines optimise use of the sun, giving both warmth and protection for all seasons. The plastered cement finish on the exterior and interior walls has no colour or chemicals added, with only white and grey cement mixed to give a natural appearance.
  • Rainwater is the only source of water on the property; the high pitched roofs from the cluster of buildings that make up the lodge are an efficient catchment source. The rainwater is then filtered to ensure it is absolutely pure. The lodge has six 25,000 litre water tanks, a total of 150,000L for lodge use.
  • Our own independent sophisticated effluent system allows waste to be treated and filtered to become 100% pure and then recycled back out onto the property.
  • Wood burning fires in the main areas use only aged and seasoned wood from Takatu’s property. Trees used are replaced and replenished in a planned strategy.
  • Our architect completed his Masters in Feng Shui and these principles have been adhered to. Therefore the overall design has a strong sense of peace, proportion and balance.
  • NZ Macrocarpa untreated floorboards are used for timbered ceilings. Natural timbers used for furnishings and cabinetry throughout.

Thermal mass

Thermal mass evens out variations in temperature. It helps keep us comfortable, day and night, all year round. The simplest form of thermal mass is use of concrete blocks, concrete and stone floors.

Thermal mass initiatives include:

  • Solid concrete block walls moderate temperature variations, ensuring the interiors are warm in winter and cool in summer.
  • The natural insulation of solid concrete walls minimise any noise.
  • Hand-cut stone floors in the interior main areas, large concrete slabs used in the exterior rooms. These are used as they efficiently retain natural heat from the sun in winter and are cool in the summer. Italian marble floors in bathroom areas and a honed marble bench top are in the dining area.

Sustainable Food Sources

In bringing you the best regional and organic ingredients and produce from our Matakana Farmers’ Market and local growers we support sustainable farming for future generations. The sumptuous 3-course breakfasts and antipasti dishes are prepared with a ‘slow food’ approach and are a celebration of fresh home-grown, local seasonal produce.

General management of the lodge


  • We buy cleaning products in bulk to reduce packaging waste into our property.
  • We double print or reuse fax and computer paper to reduce paper waste.
  • We buy bulk cleaning products for kitchen and laundry to reduce packaging into our property


  • Takatu Lodge is designed and built to capture and retain sun in winter for heating and to reduce direct sunlight into the building in summer, adhering to thermal mass principles. 
  • All our property relies on halogen lighting with dimmers to reduce energy consumption (we have no incandescent bulbs).
  • Our outdoor lighting is all on motion sensors to reduce energy consumption.
  • Takatu Lodge heats its beds with quality covered hot water bottles in lieu of electric blankets
  • Our washing machine and refrigerators are all energy rated with seals well maintained in order to reduce our energy consumption.
  • We buy all local food products for guest consumption from within 100km radius to reduce fuel consumption and the energy required for transportation.  
  • All our curtains are very heavy 100% wool to reduce heat loss from large windows.
  • Torches in all guest rooms are self generating (trigger action) so we do not have to purchase batteries.
  • For our open fires we use aged and seasoned timber only from our property, rather than burning fossil fuels such as coal.


  • We collect all our water from our roof in 6 large 25,000L water tanks under our lawn, a total of 150,000L for use on the property so we do not rely on reticulated water supply.
  • Our grey water is separated and treated by sand reticulation system for reuse on gardens.
  • Our property is planted with drought resistant landscaping to reduce water use. We have no irrigation system at all for gardens or any planting on the vineyard.
  • We mulch paper into our extensive garden to help condition soil as well as retain moisture


  • We purchase phosphate free and biodegradable cleaners to reduce pollution entering waterways.
  • We purchase only paraben free, natural New Zealand made toiletries (Living Nature and Matakana Essential bath oil) to reduce chemical pollution.
  • All timber and concrete in the construction of the Lodge is natural and untreated (no varnishes on wood or colouring in concrete and plaster) to reduce toxins in our internal environment.

Interior design

The suites:

  • Super-king beds. All bed linen is of natural fibre, with 100% Egyptian cotton (500-thread) and pure wool, reducing manufacturing processes.
  • Hot water bottles are offered instead of electric blankets. White Goose feathers are used in both duvets and pillows, with non-allergenic fibres are also used for pillows.
  • Only pure rainwater is used throughout lodge.
  • A linen and towel agreement is in all the bathrooms.
  • Lavish natural products and Matakana accessories & toiletries are 100% NZ made (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, lotions and soaps), the best complimentary NZ natural products offered.
  • 100% wool curtains that are also blackout add to the warmth and cosiness of the suites.
  • Organic local fruit juices, locally roasted Matakana coffee, tea (including organic and herbal), fresh fruit, handcrafted local chocolates and other provisions are complimentary. Over 90% of our produce is local and produced in NZ.
  • Original art is exhibited in all suites from local Artists in Residence.
  • Where possible we use recycled toilet paper.
  • Recycle bins are available in each suite for guests who prefer this option

The community

We have built strong links within our community. As much as possible we donate to local charities, school galas and fairs, and support and promote local businesses.

Some of the ways we have developed strong links are:

  • Encourage guests to use our environmentally friendly local taxi and transport service, Matakabs, who only use hybrid cars.
  • We are members of and actively support the collective business groups called Matakana Coast Wine Country (MCWC) and Matakana Winegrowers Association (MWG).
  • We actively support the Slow Food group in Matakana and principles of Slow Town within Matakana Village. This means as much as possible we promote, support and use shops, businesses, local tourist operators, farmers market producers and growers.
  • We work directly with other tourist groups within our region.
  • We donate to charities each year a d donate replaced appliances and goods no longer used to local schools, hospitals and other organisations.
  • We are members of TOSSI, the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Incorporated Society.
  • We are active members of the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ where our vineyard and viticulture practices are audited annually to comply with standards as required by the Wine Institute of NZ.

The vineyard surrounds the lodge and both are intricately entwined by proximity and philosophy.

Takatu Vineyard Sustainability

The old biblical saying ‘fruit of the vine, work of human hands’ encompasses our philosophy. We strive for viticulture excellence, with nearly all jobs in the vineyard done by hand.

Sustainable practices we adhere to:


  • Rainwater is collected from our staff cottage roof.
  • No irrigation in the vineyard. All vines are dry grown.


  • No herbicide spraying under the vines themselves. All weeding is done by under-vine cultivation and mulchings are used under the vines.


  • All sprays are applied with a Low Volume Sprayer using ¼ of the water used by traditional vineyard sprayers. This is done by controlling the droplet size of spray.
  • All fungicide sprays, as used by organic producers


  • Reusable bird netting is used to keep birds out prior to and leading up to harvest time.
  • The utilization of territorial birds such as hawks to defend against birds that feed on grapes.


  • All prunings are mulched, sustaining natural fungal development within the soil, and avoiding the conventional method of burning.

The community:

  • We are active members of the Sustainable Winegrowing NZ where our vineyard and viticulture practices are audited annually to comply with standards as required by the Wine Institute of NZ.

Cottage staff room


  • Rainwater collected from roof.


  • The cottage is fully insulated.


  • Hot water is turned on only if it is needed otherwise cold water is used. Electric jug is used for tea and coffee making
  • Halogen lights are fitted using 30% less energy


  • Plastic, glass and paper is recycled. Spray containers that are used are collected quarterly and disposed of at Warkworth Collection Centre. Recycled toilet paper is used.