David and Andrea Ritchie, the owners of Olivers Central Otago, have taken a long road back to David’s family roots in the South Island of New Zealand. David’s great-grandfather, John Macfarlane Ritchie founded a company in the early days of Otago’s settlement that became one of the largest stock & station companies in New Zealand, whilst his mother’s family has farmed in Canterbury for many generations.
David and Andrea’s move to Central Otago came after a number of years in the corporate world living in New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom. Travelling the world and experiencing the history and culture of so many wonderful places instilled a passion for fine art, architecture, heritage and an understanding of the hospitality industry.
The return to New Zealand was brought about by a desire to give their children, Charlotte and Edward, their secondary schooling in New Zealand and a “sense of place”. It was also an opportunity for Andrea to study at Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts. David, working in corporate business, continued to amass a fine collection of antique maps (some now grace the hallway of Olivers Lodge) and antique books, with a particular emphasis of early New Zealand history.
Taking skiing holidays in Wanaka meant that Andrea and David got to know Central Otago well and when the opportunity arose to buy the historic Olivers Lodge and Stables – it was too good to resist. Their vision was to create an elegant boutique hotel that embodied the true essence of Central Otago.