How the Treehouse came to us.

Sitting area and kitchen at Te Aka Treehouse
Lisa & Dave are the guardians of Te Aka Treehouse - Native Forest Retreat

How did we end up here?

We're Dave & Lisa and Te Aka Treehouse is our little creation. We love the West Coast of New Zealand, and can't wait to share our special spot with you.
Treehouse inspiration
September 2002

Treehouse Inspiration.

We’re avid travellers, drawn mostly to North America for snowy adventures. Our journey began with a surprise honeymoon in Borneo, exploring the Sarawak rainforests and immersing ourselves in communal living in Bario’s remote villages. The authentic experiences left lasting memories. As parents traveling with young children in North America, our evenings were spent watching treehouse shows on TV. A 2019 trip to Montana led us to visit owners of two treehouses, sparking inspiration for a unique project back in NZ.

Bird eye view of the Te Aka property
October 2018

Finding the land.

After looking at this landscape on our horizon for 20 years the opportunity came up and we seized it. We had found a place for our Te Aka Treehouse - Native Forest Retreat. The word ‘Te Aka’ means vine that climbs up the tree trunks. We love what this represents - the intertwining of the plants with people, including ourselves, as guardians of this land with our family.

Predator control happens at Te Aka Treehouse
January 2019

Conservation predator control.

In the summer of 2019, we initiated a control program and have consistently employed a safe and effective system each season. The condition of our forest has seen significant improvement since the commencement of our wasp control efforts. We’ve set up a ground trapline targeting stoats, weasels, and rats, using humane DOC 200 and 150 traps to ensure ethical predator dispatch.

Building the treehouses
August 2019

The building of the treehouse.

To start with we searched the property for the best location, there were so many possible sites, but in the end we chose three potential sites close to road access. We had a great team to help with the design and engineering and we built our treehouse and a bunkhouse for kids to sleep in. A great deal of care was taken to minimise the impact of the build on the forest and the smallest machines were used to dig the footings for the poles. Everything was carried in piece by piece and by hand. We sourced all the  timber which was processed within 10km from our property.

organic garden at Te Aka Treehouse, select fresh vegetables for dinner
October 2019

Family values - Taonga, Kaitiakitanga.

Family values are at the heart of everything we do. We wanted our children to be fully immersed in our new home and work towards creating a future for our family in perpetuity. This remarkable property is a gift, it tells a story of bygone eras. Resilient and endowed with a sacred yet enduring natural beauty, it has found new custodians in Dave and Lisa, the caretakers of ‘Te Aka Native Forest Retreat’. Embracing the principles of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and conservation), they are committed to nurturing the land, transforming it into an intergenerational home with a fresh, unfolding story.

swing of the trees
January 2022

Our first guests.

We invited the Gordon family over to give Tracey from Decipher Design a look at our property before she designed the branding and website for the new accommodation. ‘Our kids loved it, especially the caves and playing in the forest, plus we both recharged been surrounded by nature’ - Tracey Gordon

sleep deep surrounded by nature
November 2023

Finishing touches.

Dave finished up the wood flooring, then Lisa did a quick day shop in Christchurch to get the last bits and pieces and our photographer Martin took some lovely pictures. And our dear friend Rebecca from Tell Tale crafted our words.

Sit on deck at Te Aka treehouses set in native New Zealand forest
December 2023

Te Aka Treehouse open for business.

We were open for business right before Christmas 2023!! What a fun and fulfilling journey for us, and we cant wait to host you in our New Zealand Treehouse.

Native New Zealand forest with Tui birds