Claude and Gabriella Lewenz
In 1997, they moved from Greenwich in the US to Waiheke Island in NZ where they built what the Italians call a casale, a compound of earth-brick, whitewashed buildings in the countryside overlooking the Hauraki Gulf. Gabriella is an artist who sells 90% of her works internationally, primarily out of their gallery on the property. Claude is a serial entrepreneur who enjoys being part of the national life of the country and making stuff.
They built their home with lots of courtyards and bedrooms, where it serves as a community facility used in fundraisers, meetings and a visitor attraction for high end visitor-operators where art sales fund the upkeep of the property.
The property includes market gardens now turned over to a young couple growing local food in what they hope will become a commercial success. The island has an extraordinary number of outstanding cafes and restaurants with chefs who appreciate the flavours and freshness of the gardens.