Hi. My name is Mike Yates. My wife Susan and I developed and operate Silverpine Lodge.
I am a fifth generation New Zealander. I count myself one of the fortunate 4.5 million who live here and the 3 million others who visit annually. I just had a head start.
I’ve had a varied working life prior to Silverpine. It has enabled me to live and work in the cultures of Asia, the South Pacific, Australia, the USA and China.
My career in oil exploration took me from the land and seas around NZ, to the deserts and north west seas of Australia, and the old landforms of north China.
My seafaring has taken many forms, ocean going tugs, drillships, general cargo, fisheries research vessels and a hospital ship — where I met Susan.
However, one of the influential periods in my life was in my early twenties. I spent three years as a commercial hunter and trapper in the Southern Alps of NZ. The spectacular grandeur of these wilderness mountains and rivers was never far from my memories when I later worked as an expatriate. I was always telling people about them.
When Sue and I were later reacquainted, we married andit was time to stop seafaring. I came ashore and started a seafood export business, but there still lurked this desire to show people the best of New Zealand.
It then became our goal to find a suitable place to build a lodge where we could give free rein to Susan’s talented passion for preparing fine food.
That dream has been distilled here at Silverpine, to our guest’s benefit.
I enjoy hosting, arranging the best experiences I can for clients in these beautiful mountains – be it hiking, fly fishing, hunting, or just relaxing and being looked after with seasonal food and NZ’s best wines. Its a pleasure to listen to our guest’s stories of their lives, careers and travels.
Food, wine, life – it is all to be shared.
They say that people are like their pet animals. My last three have been Taz the black lab that lived for hunting and thought nothing of swimming out of sight offshore; Kimo the corgi, dedicated and inseparable from Sue, luxury and fine food; Roi the high country cattle dog who is everyone’s friend and guides lodge guests on hikes on the mountain flanks.
There’s enough for a profiling conference there.
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 Mom and Dad always considered travel as a part of their children’s education. She was sent to study in Japan and then later in Beijing for a summer.
At 19 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 Red Square. She then studied and ate her way through France. That Christmas Eve she attended midnight mass in the Vatican celebrated by Pope John Paul ii… a perfect ending to her 1986 adventures. Then, armed with a bible and a bag of Swiss chocolate, she did short term missionary work in Italy, Greece Turkey and Yugoslavia before returning to college.
Sue had met Mike in Honolulu in 1984 on the hospital ship M/V Anastasis. Years later on a trip to New Zealand, they met up again. Within two weeks they were engaged.
On a drive to Queenstown she recognised a view that she had seen in a dream in Blois, France.
The dream showed a lake with a house and posts and Maori carving.
To Susan this was a divine dream and she felt this was the place God wanted her to build.
(Silverpine is located on the site of a former Maori fishing camp settlement.)