Mawhiti means “escape” in Te Reo Māori and it’s impossible not to feel like you’ve hightailed it away from everything stressful at this three-pavilion, four-bedroom architectural masterpiece overlooking the smoky-green water of the Hauraki Gulf. There are several breathtaking holiday homes on this pristine island, famous for its vineyards and olive groves, but this is the only one that sits beside The Gateway Pavilion, a sculpture that looks like the curves of a whale’s spine, which was the inspiration for the house itself.
Where is Mawhiti?
The house lies on a relatively undeveloped western corner of Waiheke Island, which is a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland’s CBD. Despite its seclusion it’s only a 10-minute drive from the ferry stop and a similar distance from the island’s main town, Oneroa Village.
What’s near Mawhiti?
Very little, which is an enormous part of the appeal. The great grass expanse at the front of the property is shared only with wandering birds and ducks and there are plenty of walking trails moments from your doorstep. Otherwise, it’s just you and the sunset views.
There are four bedrooms spread across two sleeping pavilions, each with super-king beds, artworks and furnishings from local artists, ensuite bathrooms with Real World NZ small-batch toiletries and private courtyards. Each room has layered views of grasslands, ocean and Rangitoto Island and the city on the horizon. The window of the furthest bedroom from the central living area is also filled by the gnarled branches of an ancient pōhutukawa or New Zealand Christmas tree.
Mawhiti has a fully equipped chef’s kitchen and state-of-the-art barbecue. The best places to get supplies include The Island Grocer for New Zealand ingredients like Mahoe Farmhouse yoghurt and Bostock Brothers meat. You can also make the 30-minute stroll to pick up cellar door wine from Mudbrick – its aromatic Reserve Chardonnay is the ideal drop for sipping on Mawhiti’s broad entertainment deck as the sun sets. The island is also famous for its food trucks – you’ll find them if you drive around. The Waixican Mexican is one the locals keep an eye out for.
Both structures, the house and the sculpture, are made entirely of wood – even the house’s internal structure is laminated timber rather than steel. The property is also completely self-sufficient when it comes to water, with rain collected from the roof and stored in two large tanks on the site.
Travel for work
What an office. There are plenty of spots to plug in a laptop if you really must but good luck dragging your gaze away from the view outside.
What you need to know
The property’s concierge – arranged through Stay Waiheke – can arrange whatever you need for your stay, from car hire to a private chef to helicopter winery tours.
Best for: Groups
Design: Architectural elegance
Number of rooms: Four
Rates: From NZ$2400 per night
Wifi: Free and fast
Image credit: Mawhiti Waiheke