Tried & Tested: Hauora spa, New Zealand

This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, winter 2019, issue 111

On the North Island, this new spa is focused on Maori principles.

One of New Zealand’s world-class luxury lodges has unveiled an intimate spa with treatments that focus on celebrating the country’s rich natural assets. The new Hauora Spa at Wharekauhau Lodge is part of a $2.5 million investment that was completed in November 2018, alongside the construction of three new Cottage Suites at the property, which is located in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand’s North Island.

Hauora (pronounced Ho-ore-a) is an indigenous Māori philosophy of health that focuses on four components; Taha Tinana (physical wellbeing), Taha Hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing), Taha Whānau (social wellbeing), and Taha Wairua (spiritual wellbeing). The concept emphasises the energy of the land and pays tribute to its people, past and present.

Wharekauhau’s commitment to making sustainable use of what the land provides, which can be seen in its food and beverage offering, was also a key consideration when planning the treatment menu for the spa.

Tried & Tested: Hauora spa, New Zealand

“We utilise Manuka Honey from the mountains, native herbs such as Kawa Kawa and Horopito, kelps, sands and salts from the beach. Even the water for the spa is from the mountain spring that feeds the estate. A big focus is ensuring we are sustainably sourcing from the Whenua (Land), that we are the have the kaitiaki (guardianship) of”, explained general manager, Richard Rooney.

The Hauora spa experience begins on a sofa in my white fluffy robe with freshly brewed wellness tea made by local organic skincare brand, Millefeuille. Spa manager Amelie Aegerter took the time to sit with me and discuss my skin type and any potential injuries or points of focus for my treatment. Her personable approach to getting the best result from my time at Hauora was an easy prompt for me to relax. 

During my full-body massage, Amelie used a mixture of hot stones, delightfully-scented body oils, and soothing music which, when combined with her skilled massage therapy, was gratefully received. My shoulder tension melted away and I felt myself unwind almost instantly.

The facial I blissfully experienced next combined masterful massage techniques with Millefeuille’s line of dedicated spa products. A mask was then applied and left to set, after which it was lightly peeled away to remove toxins from my pores, leaving my skin feeling just as flawless as the surrounding Wairarapa landscape. After another pot of wellness tea – and another sofa chat with Amelie – I retreated to my Cottage Suite feeling (and looking) noticeably more radiant.

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