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Era ends for Murphy's Lodge

AFTER being the location of a unique tourism venture for 30 years, Murphy’s Lodge at Motu is on the market.

Fishing guide Frank Murphy and his wife Pam are ready to move on.

They have run the lodge, focusing entirely on the wealthy international market.

It sits in the heart of Motu which is fast developing as a tourist centre.

The two-acre property includes the lodge, a craft shop, guide’s cabin, wine cellar and Frank’s small vineyard

Fixtures include the only wishing well in New Zealand that takes American Express.

It can sleep up to 10 people.

“We don’t go for bulk. We have never had the high numbers."

“We are selling it as Murphy’s Lodge. What people do with it is up to them,” Mr Murphy said.

The facility has potential, with the presence of the Motu cycle trail, and the Motu area offers stunning scenery.

Mr Murphy decided to go for the high end of the tourism market and the cream was international anglers.

“I supplied more first class seats for Air New Zealand than any other operator in this area,” he said.

“I figured it out that one wealthy American at $1000 a day was the same yield as 100 backpackers at $10.

His clientele has been exclusively international. The only New Zealanders to stay have been Cabinet members and high-profile NZ Tourism officials.

The clients have been 80 percent American, with 15 percent from Europe and 5 percent from Asia.

They have come from every state in America and just about every country in the world. The latest were the owners of Royal Caribbean, the biggest cruise ship operators in the world.

But he remains coy about the identities of his clients.

“Rich and famous people don’t want you talking about them.”

Tourism will remain a future focus for Frank Murphy.

He intends to expand his consulting company and is presenting a paper to the District Council community development committee in February.

Many people ask him what he is going to do. His answer is play snooker and drink wine.

Wife Pam has been active in the health field, spending 25 years as chairwoman of the Matawai Health Committee.

She also chairs the Te Karaka St John Ambulance and Gisborne Cancer Society, and is also a member of the Central Districts board and serves on the national body. She also served one term on Gisborne District Council.

MOVING ON: Frank Murphy, from Murphy’s Lodge at Motu, says tourism will remain his focus but says he is going to “play pool and drink wine” in future. File picture by Paul Rickard