Mudbrick

Mobile Cart

Our People

Nick Jones

Owner & Director

Co-owner and founder of Mudbrick, Nick is our managing director and still operates the property today. Nick can be found in the Vineyard, at the winery, or testing the produce in the gardens. Being a trained accountant Nick is also our financial controller. Nick is noticeable around Mudbrick as he often is followed by his small black and white dog Bayly!

Robyn Jones

Owner

Co-owner and founder of Mudbrick, Robyn is responsible for the creative direction and vision of Mudbrick. Responsible for the look and feel of almost everything Robyn has an amazing eye for detail and ensure that every little touch is thought of. Robyn spends most of her time behind the scenes tinkering in the garden and is often out looking for more vintage furniture and new finishing touches.

Francesca Jones

Brand & Product Manager

Francesca, AKA Francie is Robyn and Nick's daughter, Francesca's first home was at Mudbrick where she lived in a small room no bigger than a storage cupboard and has been working on and off at Mudbrick since she was 13. Many broken glasses and red wine stains later, Francesca is now in charge of our brand presence, physically and digitally. She works closely with Robyn to ensure the look and feel of the restaurants, accommodation and digital platforms are upheld. Francesca is part-time, as she is also studying towards a degree in natural medicine.

Oscar Jones

Operations Manager

Janine Mears

General Manager

Meet Janine otherwise known as J9. Janine was cultured in Europe, partied in Miami, was a beach bum in Bali, and worked relentlessly in NYC. Deciding she missed sunsets and the Ocean too much, she left her windowless office in Times Square to learn about wine at a vineyard with the spectacular views and the greatest golden hour in the World. She is responsible for all aspects of operations and planning at Mudbrick, from day-to-day staff management and guest experience to forecasting, maintenance and product development projects. She is an ambassador for Mudbrick amongst the team, guests and within our amazing island community.

Patrick Newton

Winemaker

Two-time winner of NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, and winner of NZ Winemaker of the Year, Pat joined us as 2011. Pat spent his childhood working on his family vineyard Cornerstone in the famous Gimblett Gravels. Graduating from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology and eager to gain experience, he completed international vintages in Australia, Germany and the USA. “I’m always trying to produce wines with higher quality than the previous year." Pat believes that minimal handling of the fruit will always produce wine with a strong sense of place. “I want the Mudbrick Vineyards to come through with every wine and the only way to achieve this is through sustainable vineyard practices and minimal intervention in the winery. It’s the most important attribute of any Mudbrick wine.” Follow @winemakerpat on Instagram for regular winery updates!

Nick Otto

Viticulturist

Holidays on Waiheke as a teenager inspired an interest in wine and vineyards which lead to Nick studying Viticulture after leaving school. After completing his studies he worked in wineries in Marlborough and Auckland gaining experience before heading overseas. He worked the 2005 vintage at Chateau La Tour Blanche in Sauternes, Bordeaux. On returning home Stonyridge beckoned for two seasons as Vineyard Foreman, learning about the unique demands of Island wine production. Then back to Bordeaux for a vintage winemaker job at a small producer and on to the Hunter Valley in Australia. Nick moved back to New Zealand, where he gained experience working in high-quality large scale viticulture in the Gimblett Gravels. Nick loves his hands-on role here at Mudbrick tending to our two vineyards, and ensuring perfect care and conditions for our premium small-batch wine production. Nick has transitioned our vineyards to organic and is in the process of our Biogro certification.

Fabio Di Paola

Executive Restaurant Manager

Fabio is our fab-u-lous Executive Restaurant Manager, overseeing both our Mudbrick Restaurant and Archive Bistro operations and working closely with George and Cindy to execute a fantastic guest experience. Although Fabio loves living on Waiheke he is a Mountain Man at heart. Learning to ski in the Italian alps he always looks forward to his winter getaway. Fabio is passionate about many things, but especially interior design, sustainability, and football of course.

Simone Cilea

Mudbrick Executive Bar Manager

Simone is our fantastic cocktail mixologist/bar manager of Mudbrick who also happens to be a budding photographer and is responsible for many of the beautiful foodie images you will see on our website and Instagram! Originally from the Roman Empire, hospitality is Simone's family business! His grandfather had a restaurant for 50 years, and his father still runs it today, 30 years later. Growing up he divided his studies between hospitality and bartending and the visual arts. This becomes apparent when experiencing one of Simone's cocktails, they are just as delicious to look at as they are to taste! "I love to stretch and squeeze flavours out from any herbs spices or fruits in the most unusual ways and the best reward for me is to delight the customer. Sometimes when receiving a special cocktail request I will literally stop what I am doing to spy the customer's reaction!"

Karen Armstrong

Operations & Accommodation Manager

Karen is “The Mudbrick Mummy” if there is ever a problem, or an issue nobody knows how to solve, Karen will know just what to do! Karen started at Mudbrick in September 2001 and was the restaurant manager for over 10 years. She has enjoyed meeting the hundreds of young people that have chosen to work at Mudbrick while on their overseas adventure. Family is everything to her, and her 3 beautiful daughters make her proud to be a mum - and they have all worked at Mudbrick! Karen is now (fittingly) our operations manager, and has recently tackled our accommodation as well, managing 9 properties on, and off-site of Mudbrick.

BJ Sebastian

Executive Head Chef

Chef BJ wowed us all with his creativity on Zoom during lockdown, then blew us away with unusual ingredients and innovative techniques in person. His nature-to-plate approach to cooking allows true expression of Aotearoa's finest natural flavours, as well as allowing us to showcase some of the unique ingredients growing in our Mudbrick gardens and our island's forageables. Having worked for renowned chefs globally, BJ settled in New Zealand's South Island before being tempted by a more tropical, island time, way of life on Waiheke.

Gareth Nurse

Mudbrick Restaurant Co-Head Chef

Gareth began his journey working in the kitchen at age 12 where he worked as a dishwasher at a friends family restaurant.
Just before his 15th birthday, the head chef (who had run 2 Michelin star restaurants and was trained by Michel and Albert Roux) gave him his first chef jacket and said: "You will be working in the kitchen for the wedding today." Gareth has worked in kitchens ever since! After turning 18 he travelled through South-East Asia, Australia, (where he met his wife Yayi) and then they discovered New Zealand. Together they embarked to NZ on a working holiday visa and only intended to stay for a year but after happening upon Waiheke Island, a more tropical version of his hometown in Wales they decided to stay. Now they have two kids Bethan (4) and Dylan (1.5). Gareth is a keen fisherman and loves the art of fermentation, bread, kimchi and beer and mead making.

George Clinton

Mudbrick Restaurant Manager

George left England chasing down a girl, but found much more than he bargained for here on Waiheke Island. His versatility of skills in various sectors of the hospitality industry, and experience of fine dining across the world, makes him for a perfect match for the Mudbrick Restaurant. George makes great use of his classic British charm, creating a comfortable and relaxing guest experience from start to finish. When George gets time away from the restaurant floor he loves to get a line in the water with hopes of feeding friends at the next BBQ.

Fiona Walkly

Cellar Door Manager

Fiona joined the Mudbrick team in February 2012, carrying out a range of roles from running the casual dining area, wedding receptions and a la carte service to conducting wine tours and tastings in the Cellar Door. Eventually moving into her role as Cellar Manager in 2014. Originally from the UK with a degree in French, her wine intrigue started in 2002 when she lived in-between Bordeaux and Cognac. After 10 years of working in the corporate and hospitality world, Fiona ventured to New Zealand in 2011 with her partner Tom for the Rugby World Cup. They found Mudbrick and knew that the wine industry was their true calling in life and Waiheke their home.

Wanda Whitehead

HR & Payroll Manager

Wanda has been part of our Mudbrick family for many years, originally joining the team looking after all Groups & Events bookings. With a keen eye for detail, and wonderful Canadian charm, Wanda now looks after our hiring, HR, accounts and payroll as well as supporting our entire Mudbrick team with her wealth of experience. After falling in love with Waiheke Island at Onetangi beach 10 years ago, she never left! She has two special pet-children Kitty Leo and Sunnie the Cavalier who is part-time in the office for extra support.

Dina Ponto

Weddings Manager

Kim Christofzik

Weddings Manager

Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, Kim originally joined Mudbrick to put her cocktail-making expertise to use behind the bar, hands-down beating all records for the number of espresso martinis made in one afternoon! Soon it became clear Kim’s superb attention to detail and caring nature would make her the perfect fit as our Wedding Manager – looking after our lovely Mudbrick wedding couples on their big day. She hasn’t looked back; making sure each wedding is perfect and providing the best hospitality service is what makes her tick. Outside perfecting wedding celebrations, Kim is famous for sharing cuddles with, feeding treats to and being all-round the best mama to Mud the Mudbrick cat ~ check her out on @mud_stagram

Poppy Watson-Brooks

Sales & Marketing Manager

From the coastal shores of Devon in the UK, Poppy first joined Mudbrick at The Archive Bistro with the plan to stay in New Zealand for just a couple of months. Now you’ll most likely find her snapping instas in the gardens, planning Mudbrick's epic events, running the island’s Te Ara Hura trails or scuba diving off Sandy Bay. With 5 years agency side under her belt and a background in all things marketing, business development and event operations; Poppy has now looks after our Sales and Marketing outreach.

Natalie Kirch

Groups & Events Manager

Natalie made the call to return home to Waiheke Island after beginning her career in the UK and travelling the world. With a passion for travel and hospitality, she looks after all of our group dining, corporate conferencing, MICE and client events. If you’ve got a big birthday or a special team occasion coming up she’ll ensure everything is taken care of - right down to the smallest details on the day. Outside of work Natalie is a big fan of getting outdoors and getting amongst it. She’s got a passion for travel and exploring global cultures, check out her YouTube!

Bob Scott

Cellar Door

Bob has been a staple of our tasting room for over 10 years now, and truly loves wine and all its nuances. He will take you through the whole spectrum of our wines and will be able to recommend his favourite vintages, an advantage of long term service! He is not quite part of the furniture yet he says, but knows Mudbrick inside and out, and has extensive knowledge of all things Mudbrick. Bob is also an accomplished photographer and is responsible for many beautiful shots of Mudbrick over the years.

Christine Bauern

Accounts Manager

From her position in the Accounts Office, Christine has meticulously kept the Mudbrick finances running to a tee for over 14 years. In that time, she has witnessed the restaurant grow into the multi-faceted operation it is today, never missing a beat. A native of West Auckland, Christine originally worked in the city within the travel industry until romance drew her to Waiheke in 2006 - since then she has called the island home with her partner. Not one to let a glass of chilled pinot gris go untouched, when Christine isn’t sharing a tipple with friends or holidaying on her favourite Hawaiian island amongst the frangipanis, you’ll find her playing fetch with her two dogs (although usually she has to do the fetching!) and taking them for walks in the park.