Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interview with Monica Tischler...

Last week we were approached by Monica Tischler, a journalist who wished to do a piece on Willowbrook Park for the local community circular, and are delighted to share with you her article:

On a warm Sunday afternoon, a team of Indian Runner ducks enjoy the fresh waters of a man-made lake, while five piglets, born that morning, take in their first rays of sunshine.
Although not visible from the road, this 30-acre hidden farmland beauty situated along Vaile Road is the beginning developments of a boutique bed and breakfast, Willowbrook Park Manor.

Owners and the inspiration behind Willowbrook Park, David and Peter Lord Cowell say they have always wanted to open a bed and breakfast with beautiful gardens, and aim to extend its usage to weddings and civil unions.

“To start off we want to open it up as a bed and breakfast and depending on the demand and how the community enjoys the place, we would like to open it up a little bit further,” says David, who works at the Waikato Hospital as an emergency doctor.

His partner Peter is an independent marriage celebrant and administrator of St Peter’s Cathedral in Hamilton and is often told there are not many places for weddings in the Waikato.

“To have weddings would be a really neat idea and seeing the whole thing take off would be so exciting and a dream come true,

“To see people enjoying the space and sharing it with us would be nice,” says Peter, who will become the full-time manager of Willowbrook Park.

Both David and Peter are originally from England and while David grew up in New Zealand, they both met each other in the United Kingdom and Peter now resides in New Zealand as well.

The land for Willowbrook Park was purchased in February 2008 and David and Peter have built a man-made lake and planted over 10,000 trees including Olive, Willow, Silver Pear and a variety of fruit trees.

They are also breeding rare pedigree animals such as Wessex Saddleback pigs, Dorset Horn sheep and Boer goats.

Willowbrook Park has been under design since 2009 and plans are very impressive, consisting of a Carriage House and Chapel.

With the help of local tradesmen and Cambridge architect Chris MacPherson, the last phases of landscaping will commence this coming autumn and David and Peter aim to have the manor running by the end of [2013].

Both David and Peter love traditional styled English country houses and have travelled back to the United Kingdom to gain inspiration for the manor.

“We have spent hours visiting parks, gardens and country houses, getting ideas for the look we wanted,” explains David.

Along with sharing a passion for traditional English designs, the couple are avid art and antique collectors and are excited at being able to have original Picasso paintings and a grandfather clock from 1740 on display at Willowbrook Park.

David and Peter aim to build up a large network of people from different areas including local caterers and florists and even opera singers to help make Willowbrook Park truly unique.

“I have a friend who runs the opera company and what I’d love to do on a summer’s day, is open up the gardens and have people come and picnic in the sun while listening to opera in the park. Just little things like that for people to enjoy,” says David.

Although the plans for Willowbrook Park suggest a grand and spacious design, David and Peter say the key motivation behind the idea and what they want to achieve is not something big, but something beautiful.

“It won’t be a big house, but something well done with a lot of detail. We want to make a quality product, not a big product,” says David.

The landscaping will anchor the manor with its surroundings so it is not an eye-sore, but a tastefully built and designed building, as both David and Peter want to preserve the rural setting.

“We feel that the beauty of the rural community is that it is rural; it isn’t a city and we want it to be a tasteful bed and breakfast, and hopefully a nice function venue as well,” says David.

So, many thanks to Monica for her lovely article.


  1. Why not? There is nothing more beautiful than a summer wedding out in a magnificent garden. Then the reception can be in a marquee where the side facing the garden is made of clear plastic. Flowers, trees, sunshine, music, champagne and art - what could be better?

  2. Monica absolutely grasped your wonderful concept & her description of your vision couldn't have been more accurate. Loved reading it.
    Millie xx

  3. Lovely article, thanks for sharing. Look forward to more of your interesting posts next year.


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