Resort facilities

The new owners of the complex praise its “grandeur”

The new owners of Teschemakers Resort believe it has “great potential” to become a top destination in New Zealand.

The former Catholic girls’ boarding school turned accommodation, wedding venue and conference center, south of Oamaru, was put up for sale by Bayleys Metro Dunedin in November.

This month, estate agent Robin Hyndman confirmed the property had been purchased by Auckland couple Vincent Teoh and Renee Chong.

In a joint statement to the Otago Daily Times, Mr Teoh and Ms Chong said they were “excited” to take over the property in April.

“When we first saw Teschemakers, we were impressed by its historical significance, grandeur and tranquility,” they said.

They would work closely with the local community to preserve the beauty of Teschemakers and make it “an important and thriving landmark in Oamaru”.

“We look forward to collaborating with the community and are open to suggestions and ideas on how Teschemakers could complement other attractions and hospitality venues in Oamaru.”

They would continue to operate it as a place of accommodation for international and domestic tourists, and market it as a wedding and event venue for locals.

“At the same time, there is still plenty of building infrastructure to support successful operations as a large function center, perhaps even [an] overseas meeting place for business or school groups visiting New Zealand.”

Mr Teoh and Ms Chong would continue the previous owner’s plans to expand Teschemakers’ capacity, by redeveloping a former dormitory into 24 en-suite guest rooms.

Despite the current challenges of Covid-19, they were optimistic for the future once borders reopen to international travellers.

“We believe New Zealand will always have a strong appeal for international travellers.”

Although Mr. Teoh and Ms. Chong did not disclose the sale price, they said that “the seller is satisfied with the price we offered him”. Teschemakers has a capital value of $3.5 million.

Originally part of the Taipo Estate, the Teschemakers property was purchased by William Teschemaker, one of North Otago’s first landowners, in 1860. It was sold to John McCarthy in 1905, and the farm and land were then given to the Dominican sisters for the purpose of establishing a boarding school for girls.

St Patrick’s School opened in 1912, with a boarding school, swimming pool, tennis courts, orchards and chapel. It closed in 1977 and later became a conference and retreat center.

In 2000, it was sold to a Japanese businessman, the late Dr. Hirotomi Ochi, who planned to turn the school into an international center for health sciences. However, three years later a fire destroyed the original farmhouse and convent, which were rebuilt as residential accommodation, complete with meeting rooms and a full commercial kitchen. Dr. Ochi died in 2005, shortly before the renovation was completed.

The property was later purchased by a couple from North Otago who established a wedding and conference venue.

Penguin Pacific bought the property in 2017, and it became part of director Sean Zhang’s international Reach Coach tour bus operation, then picking up the Teschemakers Resort title.