Mike Yates, is a fifth generation New Zealander. He
loves his country.
His family came to NZ in 1842 on military service, a tradition carried on through the generations.
His father was a regular soldier for most of his life and in consequence Mike attended many schools. His job took him as an expat to many parts: from the wild Southern Ocean to the deserts of North China. He had a gap of three years during which he settled on the West Coast of the South Island. There he commercially hunted deer and chamois and trapped possums during the winter. Then back to the oil industry, contracts in Australia, Singapore, and China followed until Mike decided that life was about people, not machinery. He volunteered for three years as a volunteer crew member on board a Christian hospital/relief ship, the m/v Anastasis, before returning to New Zealand to gain maritime qualifications.
He returned to the sea as a researcher on deep water fishing in the New Zealand territorial economic zone, an area that stretches from the Sub-Antarctic to the South Pacific. (A lot of seatime was spent on Japanese longline fishing vessels that pursued the mighty southern bluefin tuna.)
Being single lost its appeal when he renewed an acquaintance with Susan from Hawaii. They married and returned to the West Coast of New Zealand. He did one more trip to sea before "slinging his hook" and coming ashore. He started a seafood export company and built it over the years while searching for a suitable place to build a lodge and give free rein to Susan's cooking talents. After several locations had fallen through, they found this place and with determination built a lodge to suit them and the surroundings.
Mike is fortunate in the occupations that he has had to meet and live with a grand panoply of people across the spectrum. During his time, he has noted that each place has something unique and special about it. It did not stop him from dreaming of New Zealand and its clear streams, beautiful mountains and forests. He always longed to share it with people.
This dream has been distilled at Silverpine. He enjoys hosting and arranging the best experiences he can for guests in these beautiful mountains. Be it hiking, fishing, hunting, or just hanging out and taking it all in with seasonal food, wine, and accommodation. He likes listening to people and their stories and their careers. You can always learn something from someone else's experience. Food, wine, life - it is all to be shared.
“They say that people are like their pets. We have 3 Dogs: a corgi, 'Kimo' dedicated to luxury living; 'Tas', a black labrador that explores all water and who thinks that thunder is gunfire, (therefore something dead needs retrieving); and a loyal, affectionate and energetic huntaway, 'Roi', who delights in work in the hills.
Take your pick, there's enough there for a conference.
"I look forward to meeting you.”
- beautiful, wise, “behind every great man...” and enjoys cooking off the beaten track...
Sue is 5th generation Hawaiian, born of Chinese parents. Her great grandmother had bound feet(A pair of her shoes decorate the library). One of her mother’s Uncles died in a gun battle on the Pearl River in China . Her grandmother’s sister fled with their newborn baby on foot to Hong Kong, dressed as a peasant with jewelry hidden. Hers was the first and last arranged marriage that Sue’s great grandfather allowed.
Sue’s mother started the first school for children with special needs in an empty closet in a school in Honolulu.
Her father, at the end of World War ii and with the help of the GI Bill, attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He also worked part time to send money home.
Her father set up his own medical practice.
Sue attended public and private schools in Honolulu. Her Mom and Dad always considered travel as a part of their children’s education, and at 15 years old, she was sent to study in Japan and then in Beijing for the summer.
Sue attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and spent 2 years traveling around Europe and Asia. At 19, after studying in Beijing, she rode the Trans Siberian Express from Beijing to Budapest via Mongolia. She celebrated the trip through Russia with a vanilla ice cream cone near the Red Square. She then studied and ate her way through France. Meeting her mother, brother, and cousin in Rome that Christmas Eve, they attended midnight mass at the Vatican with Pope John Paul ii, which was a perfect ending to her adventures of 1986. Armed with a Bible and bag of Swiss chocolate, Sue did missionary work in Switzerland, Greece, Italy, Turkey and Yugoslavia before returning to Dartmouth.
After graduation she returned to Hawaii to work with the State as a parole officer. She found no satisfaction in this, and at the end of the year took a break in New Zealand.
Sue and Mike had met in 1984 in Honolulu on the MV Anastasis. As she had decided to take a break in New Zealand, Sue wrote Mike a postcard, and then traveled to Okarito to visit him. Within 2 weeks they were engaged.
On a drive to Queenstown, she recognized a parcel of New Zealand from a dream she had in Blois, France. She dreamed of a lake with a pole house at its edge that had Maori carvings for posts.
To Susan this was a divine dream and she felt that this was the place where God wanted her to build.
Sue says she learnt as a child that cooking and entertaining were always part of life - Chinese are good at it. You always serve the best that you have for your guests. And, learning from being brought up around hospitals and patients, Sue’s warm, generous and nurturing nature sustains her hospitality.
This philosophy is fundamental to Silverpine: Your room is warm, your bed is soft. You’ve eaten from the bounty of nature, and her proliferate source awaits outdoors when you awake.