Your hosts are Katrina and Brenda, Coco the miniature dachshund and Claudia-Jane Laverick McLarin (the cat). Originally from England, Brenda immigrated to New Zealand in 2002 and has been in hospitality ever since. She opened the renowned Auckland based restaurant “Poco Loco” in 2004 and was the head chef for over 15 years before relocating to Oamaru in 2019 with Katrina to restore Casa Nova House and open Restaurant 1861. Both Katrina & Brenda still own Poco Loco Restaurant and oversee its operations from the South Island with assistance from a great Auckland based team.
Katrina has a varied work history with roots which began in radio in New Zealand to resort construction and development in Australia. With international event management skills Katrina was also based in the US working for The Leading Woman Entrepreneurs of the World organisation organising international events in Sydney, Vancouver and Bangkok before returning to her then home in Australia to take up a hospitality role developing a new resort in Broome WA. She then returned to New Zealand where she meet Brenda and they jointly operated Poco Loco.
Katrina & Brenda fell in love with Casa Nova House whilst on holiday and made the decision to relocate to the South Island and have spent two years restoring the property. They hope you will enjoy it as much as they do!
"Casa Nova represents an outstanding example of mid-Victorian domestic architecture. Built in 1861 by gentleman owner and early run holder, Mark Noble, originally of Leicestershire, Casa Nova is the earliest mansion in Ōamaru to be built of the local limestone and has significant architectural, historic and technological value".
Photo Circa 1880
"Built at a time when there were no schools or churches and only two hotels in Ōamaru, Casa Nova would have been a distinctive landmark outside the town boundary; the grandest permanent dwelling in Ōamaru in 1861. Its construction predated any significant permanent material public building..."
Photo Circa 1880
"The name Casa Nova translates from the Italian as ‘new house’, and describes the building as it was, a new house in an area devoid of buildings, in a new settlement in the newest country to be
colonised by the English".
Quotes from Heritage New Zealand
Photo Circa 1970s