Conferences & Events Taken to New Heights on Waiheke Island
New Management and Refurbishment Brings An Uptick in Quality of Events and Service to Waiheke’s Largest Venue
From the glistening sands of deserted beaches to the splendour of fine wine and dining experiences, Waiheke Island enjoys unique status and is the ideal destination for weekend escapes, conferences and business meetings.
The island’s largest and most well-equipped venue, the Waiheke Island Resort, has been given a new lease of life with a new management team, providing the destination with a timely uplift in service and appearance.
The new team is a group of highly qualified professionals, all locals with deep knowledge of the area and an abiding passion both for the island and the resort.
“This well-known and sought-after destination has attracted some great talent,” Waiheke Island Resort Conference Director Nique van Selm says. “We are very fortunate to have assembled a group of accomplished managers who are among the best in their respective fields and share the vision we have for this venue.”
Nique van Selm, originally from South Africa, has lived on the island for eight years and has more than 20 years’ experience in the publishing and event management industries. Nique is joined by Tanya Charman, Waiheke Island Resort Sales Director, who has lived on Waiheke for 30 years and has a wealth of experience across the hospitality and marketing industry.
Assistant General Manager Chris Samuels also has a long association with the property. Chris is the backbone of the business, heading the accounts department and overseeing operations.
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The Dunes (also part of The Waiheke Group, which owns and operates Waiheke Island Resort) is the island’s glamorous destination for special events and weddings. The unique venue boasts open views and access to the golden sands of Onetangi Beach, and has a hidden gem in the form of Executive Chef Uges Chand.
“We ‘imported’ Uges from the UK to head up the catering for our resort. He is a true asset to our team and we are privileged to have this highly skilled chef here,” Nique van Selm says. Uges originally spent eight years at Waiheke Island Resort before heading off to new ventures abroad and later running his own restaurant in New Zealand.
Uges is supported by Food and Beverage Director Kahn Denton, who has spent most of his life on the island. Kahn has extensive industry knowledge and experience through New Zealand and offshore career ventures, managing various bars such as Cats Tango, Harbourmasters and Kingfish Lodge in Whangaroa.
An event at Waiheke Island Resort or The Dunes is a world-class experience. The resort is equipped to cater for all types of events, from standard conferences to themed and extravagant events, and the team has the contacts and experience to make them a success.
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To complement the new team, the resort’s 51 villas and five-bedroom lodge have undergone refurbishment, reinventing the accommodation experience and constituting a substantial investment in the local hospitality industry. Situated in a prime location, the resort’s rooms boast magnificent views of the Hauraki Gulf and are accompanied by a tennis court, restaurant and day spa for guests.
Friendly Waiheke service is ingrained through the resort, with front of house managed by Veronica Lewis, who is originally from Hawaii and has been with the resort for 11 years. As first point of contact for guests, the resort’s receptionist, Verina Potgieter, has a wealth of experience, from publishing to photo journalism, and is skilled at showcasing the offering.