• Video: After a bad year since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated Esk Valley, luxury lodge wants visitors to return now

Video: After a bad year since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated Esk Valley, luxury lodge wants visitors to return now

It has been a bad year since Cyclone Gabrielle devastated Esk Valley, but now Kiwiesque luxury accommodation wants visitors to return to Hawke’s Bay.

Kiwiesque, situated in a vineyard in Esk Valley, has a lodge that sleeps up to 20 people and a villa for ten people.

Owner Justine Seymour-Wilson says it has been very hard since the flood water from Cyclone Gabrielle struck Esk Valley.

“In the morning when we could see the water level was pretty much near the tree. It had come along here, but it was like a river that sort of twisted and turned and came back out. It wiped the bridge out, it wiped our vineyard. The guys that came and rescued people, they were going over the vineyards. They couldn't even see that there was a vineyard. It took all our sheep out. The neighbours actually woke up because they heard them drowning, which actually saved them to get over here.”

An emotional Seymour-Wilson says it has been a hard road for the residents of the valley.

“The problem being obviously in our valley, we had all the silt. It took us three months to open. I mean it was five weeks obviously before even anyone in the valley got power. It took us eight months to get the vineyard back up and running, and obviously because we are in the East Valley with all the TV, et cetera, no one definitely wanted to come back here.”

“It took a lot to get our property back and then we've most probably lost half our income on top of what we had to spend. It's just been a hard year.”

She says that they are just keen to move on.

“We actually want positiveness now. You just don't know what's around the corner. We all thought COVID was bad, but that was nothing. The hardest part was that even though our property was wiped, the guilt that we had a house and everyone in the valley didn't, that was huge, and that would've been huge for I'd say quite a few people.”

“So, that was the hardest part for me. And then reality hit and then we realised how much it had affected us, but that took a long time to get over and it's still ongoing for them. We just need the council, we need everyone to just pull finger and get everyone, so that they can move on as well.”

Seymour-Wilson says their vineyards are now back up and running.

“We're back to looking amazing and that's why we just need people to come back. The Esk Valley is okay, and as I say, we've got Linden Estate Winery, we can go and have wine tastings, you've got the Valley D'Vine restaurant right next to you, and we're all open and all ready and we need your support.”