Joe’s great uncle Jim Wilcox owned Ramanui from 1950-51 until 1975. Joe can still remember as a child staying at Ramanui with his parents back when there was just a small cottage there. When Joe found out that his Uncle Jim was going to sell Ramanui he begged to be able to buy it from him but as Joe was still only a teenager he wasn’t able to afford it. Some 26 years later Joes’ teenage dreams came true when he and partner Mandy (me) were lucky enough to purchase Ramanui for ourselves.
For the first few years we concentrated on working out how to run the place, maintaining power with generators, organizing water, replacing out dated equipment and growing accustomed to the many moods of the land and river. Not to forget the many meals prepared and beds made for the increasing number of guests.
Joe’s son Ben joined us initially helping around the property and now is one of the main jet boat drivers taking tours into the wilderness area of the Historic Whanganui National Park and walks into the famous Bridge to Nowhere. In the last few years Ben has been joined by his partner Rebecca who helped out around the Lodge until the birth of their daughter Jasmine and then a year later their son Blake, there family continues to grow. Joe and I are very proud Grandparents!
Kelly has been part of the Lodges “family” for many years. He brings with him a wealth of experience both as a qualified canoe guide, outdoor pursuits, cooking, building, you name it he can do it!
I mainly run the “business” side of the Lodge from our home in Wanganui. I am based there over winter and at the Lodge over summer. When at the Lodge I help Brenda with housework, cooking etc. I also looks after the smaller animals around the place and drives the jet boats as necessary.
This brings us to Joe who is the driving force, but also the heart and soul of Ramanui. Joe grew up in Ohakune and has spent a lifetime working and playing in and around the Mangapurua, Mangatiti and what has now become the Whanganui National Park area. He has done such things as opossum trapping, deer and goat hunting, mustering wild cattle on horseback, farming bush blocks and he is truly passionate about the bush and this area in particular. At the Lodge he can turn his hand to just about anything; he cooks a delicious meal, make beds and anything else that needs doing. Joes great love and knowledge of the bush, animals, birds and plants as well as both Maori and European history is obvious when you talk to him, he tells a great story and can keep guests amused for hours. He should however come with a warning sign as he is a great tease and likes playing tricks on people.
Anyway that’s enough about us! We hope you enjoy your stay with “our family” and we look forward to meeting you!