House of Cards, a 52 day evolving exhibit


A house of cards, a 52 day evolving exhibit is the latest and greatest creative project from Steve, our creative director.

He has created a giant pack of cards and the premiss is that every day a new card get drawn from the pack and used, with the cards already drawn, to build that days’ card house.

Friends and public have been invited to book a day and come and participate in the project which is nearing it’s half way point.

This is a press release issued on day 20 to draw attention to the themes of the exhibit,  shelter and housing affordability.

“Day 20 sees Tasman artist Steve Richards reveal his hand and build a card house he can sleep in.

This is a response to the 52 day evolving exhibit’s theme, ‘a practical solution to housing affordability’

“It’s really luck of the draw whether you are in the housing market or not. The government are doing all in their power to 

maintain upward pressure on house prices as this maintains economic growth. Meanwhile the house of cards becomes ever more unstable”

The exhibit finishes 12 November, there are still plenty of days available if you would like to come and participate.

You can follow progress on Jester House instagram  and facebook.

Jester House Royal Family



Jester House Royal Family

Doesn’t everyone want to be a Queen or King? even if it is only as part of the funist aristocracy.
We’ve had Princess Harriette and a Lady Judy in the family here for years, as well a Tickle Monkey and a Grogan.
It’s all part of the fun of life, to give yourself a title beyond Mr/Mrs/Ms.

Now we have decided to update our loyalty system to give us more opportunity to treat you royally.
We still want to treat you on your birthday and we will treat you for becoming part of the family,
but now we can also treat you for coming regularly too.

For every dollar you spend you earn 1 point, once you’ve earned 200 points we send you a voucher for 20 Jester Dollars.

Our new system uses your eftpos or credit card (or both) as your loyalty card so you don’t need to carry anymore cards and it’s all perfectly safe with paymark.

To join Text: jester (space) your email address to 4664 or go to the steps and you’ll soon be part of the royal family.

The loyal royal servers look forward to giving you a right royal time here at Jester House

Get Arty in the School Holidays





It’s nearly the school holidays again and that means the kids are home or your grandchildren are staying and you need activities to do with them. What could be better than a trip to the country and a visit to Jester House. To make it even more worthwhile we a running a FREE activity every day of the holidays, so while you enjoy some peace the children will be happily occupied getting arty.

We have collected a variety of artworks to hang around the garden to inspire the children and then there’s an activity table set up where they can create their own pendant to add to a banner. The banner will then be displayed in the Enchanted Forest when we reopen after our winter break(25th July- 1st September). You can then come and admire the handiwork and there will be a peoples choice competition to choose the best piece.

The holiday activities have been running here at Jester House for several years now and should be a permanent fixture on your holiday calender. Combine your trip to Jester House with a walk on Kina Beach or play on the playground at McKee Reserve or do some rounds of the Pump track at Tasman Domain. There is so much to do here in Tasman and getting Arty ay Jester House is just a start. We look forward to seeing you and your creative children this school holidays.

Nice pair



In May, all around New Zealand, individuals and businesses get involved in Pink Ribbon Breakfasts. This is the major fund raising opportunity for the  N.Z. Breast Cancer Foundation. Breast cancer is an unfortunate fact of life for many woman but it is not only woman who are affected. A lot of men stand beside their wives, lovers, mothers, sisters, friends and share the fear and trepidation that comes with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Even the discovery of a lump on a loved ones breast can cause great anxiety, as I can attest from personal experience. Luckily it was nothing serious but the process was enough to give me an understanding of what is is like to wait for the results of tests, the sleepless nights, the what ifs.

Here at Jester House, this is the 5th year we have been supporting this worthy cause, last year raising over $1000. This year we are having our Pink Ribbon weekend on the Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. Get a group of friends together, get your pink gear on and make a booking for breakfast, or lunch to show your support for this very worthwhile charity, and it is a great way to celebrate life.

Contact us on 03 5266742 or book online . Remember this is not just about woman.


Grateful to Mother

With Mother

My Mother was a big influence on my path in life , her interests, enthusiasm and sheer joy has helped to mould the person I am.

I’m grateful to have my Mother still able to come and stay with us and enjoy the Autumn garden here at Jester House. Now 78, and waiting for a hip operation later in the month, she doesn’t really garden for herself anymore but still enjoys a perambulate around ours.

When I was growing up I remember her spending every free hour in her garden. I think that is where I got my love of gardening from and my idea of horticultural imperialism, pushing the frontiers of the garden back and back like a true imperialist. Going from nothing to be just as big and beautiful as you want it to be.

I’m also grateful to her for my love of cooking.  Helping with dinner parties and then socializing with friends around the table is a very fond memory of my teenage years in Marsden Valley. I think it is the responsibility of every parent to teach their children to cook as part of independence training and I know our children appreciated having a repertoire of dishes they could cook when they left home. Of course I took it more seriously than most and went on to train as a chef, something my Mother encouraged.

She is only staying a few days before going home to Golden Bay again before Mother’s Day on Sunday so I’m grateful we are spending some time together this week.

Autumn Scavenger Hunt


When our children were still at school, well actually Harriette(28) and Pip(27) are both still studying, the school holidays were always a time to kick back and relax. Being at home with no morning schedule was what they looked forward to most, that and having special time out with us.

It was always a bit of a challenge to find different activities for them to do. Something that was fun, energetic and that they subliminally learnt something in the process.

So when I had this clever idea of putting on school holiday activities at Jester House these 3 key points were firmly in my planning process. Create a fun activity that children of all ages can enjoy, that has them running around the garden in search of something and has an educational element.

I have to say I am very pleased with the outcome and this holidays activity – An Autumn Scavenger Hunt is no exception. Yesterday it was a pure delight to see so many children and many parents scooting around the garden in search of mushrooms, walnuts, autumn leaves, counting chickens and finding hidden animals.They learnt things like the difference between chestnuts and walnuts, what a persimmon tree looks like and what a rose arcade is. And for all their running about with clip board in hand they finished with a free autumn jelly treat.

My reward is seeing the pleasure on the children’s faces and watching whole families having a fun time together. I know Pip and Harriette would have loved doing this type of thing in the holidays when they were young and it is with them in mind that I create each school holiday activity for the pleasure of our young guests.

The Autumn Scavenger Hunt runs for the duration of the holidays and Jester House is open everyday (except Anzac Day) 9am to 4.30pm until the 25th July.

At Loggerheads


It is amazing what you find when you start filling the woodshed for the winter.  I started cutting up a big branch trimmed of our gum tree when I came across this smile.

As sometimes happens when you are dealing with wood, it will talk to you. It said “I’m to good to burn, I need to be seen. I have a job to do.”

So the firewood mission was put aside for another day and I put on my creative hat. Following some research into te moko and noting the recurring patterns I made a few sketches.

It was then a process of fitting the patterns to the faces and using a plunge router to carve te moko. Some black paint, paua shell and a couple of coats of oil finished the faces. They were then mounted on robinia posts and set to stand as  nga tutei (sentries)

These two now stand as tutei on the path to the Enchanted Forest making sure your games are fun.

Now it is back to the firewood.



Bees Come A Calling.


Labour Day and the cafe is closed as it is a Public Holiday but that didn’t stop the arrival of hundreds of guests looking for somewhere to alight. Fortunately they didn’t need feeding, just a site for a new home and they found our crab apple tree the perfect resting stop.

As much as we love bees and plan to have a hive in our garden in the not too distant future, this particular arrangement didn’t really suit us. So a quick call to our trusty gardener Nick who has a great working relationship with bees and also happened to have a new empty hive waiting for a colony. He duly arrived, the bees had well and truly settled and Steve had made a box ready for the transfer.

It is incredible how calm the bees are when they swarm and it required no protective clothing to take them from the tree and into the box. A bit of strategic branch clipping was needed and  with one last snip they slid into the box, the box was sealed for the journey to their new home and the job was done.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         It was rather amazing,that during the process of moving the swarm  Steve only sustained one sting and Nick none at all.                                                                                                           IMG_8221IMG_8224This is the second occasion we have had a swarm of bees alight at Jester House so we think there is a message in that. Steve now has the perfect excuse to get his design hat on and draw up a bee palace so that we can have a hive here. It will be situated up the hill where it is a little warmer and also away from our visitors who are sometimes a little frightened of bee hives.

We hope the bees are happy in their new home at Ngatimoti and we look forward to a wee jar of honey someday.

WITH HEART – The Core Values of Jester House



With Heart












Over the last couple of months Steve and I have been working with a business coach. It is exciting, challenging and daunting at times but above all it is focusing. We have a desire to make the Jester House experience as good as it can be and with the help of our coach we will achieve it. One of the topics we recently discussed were our core values. We knew what they were and even had them written down and then nicely tucked away in a drawer. We now have them proudly displayed in my office were I can refer to them easily, we have shared and worked on them with the staff and now I would like to share them with you.

Sharing them makes them stronger and commits us to delivering them everyday in every way and that brings us one step closer to providing you with the best Jester House experience that we can.

 Our core values  W I T H  H E A R T

Well being of staff – We value and encourage learning, feedback, coaching and mentoring.

Individual ownership – We take individual ownership of our customers’ needs and are accountable for delivering an emotionally delightful experience.

Teamwork – We have a supportive, co-operative workplace where customers and staff are all respected and that it is a both a safe and fun environment.

Hospitality – We depend on and enjoy our guests custom so they deserve the best possible service – timely, responsive, proactive, meeting or exceeding their expectations and aiming to delight.

Honesty – We are honest and open in all our dealings and maintain the highest level of integrity at all times.

Environmental Care – We appreciate and advocate for environmental awareness, care and responsibility both onsite and wider environs. We strive for maximum care and aim to have a positive impact.

Art and Humour – We support the local art community and integrate art and humour into all aspects of Jester House. Guest will be amazed, amused and intrigued.

Recognition – We recognise and reward each others contributions and efforts at every level.

Transperancy – We aim to live our values and communicate them clearly to ensure that they flow on to our staff,customers, suppliers and community.

Winter Dining

IMG_4424The joy of sitting by a roaring open fire cannot be denied. Egypt, our 17 year old cat can testify to the benefits of warmth and comfort. I would go one step further and add a meal to the experience and that experience is complete.

The fire at Jester House is guaranteed to be blazing everyday in the winter months and it warms the whole cafe with such efficiency that guests who start by sitting next to it have to move a little further from the flame. So no matter where you sit you are going to be warm and comfortable while you enjoy your lunch or coffee. It is one of my pet hates – going out for lunch or dinner and being cold, it puts me off to the extent that even if the food was great I would only return in the warmer months.With that in mind I can guarantee that you won’t be cold dining inside at Jester House.

Also our winter menu is bursting with hearty meals ideal to warm you from the inside. Check out our winter menu at . One of my personal favourites is the Krishna Surprise Salad, it is really tasty with the combination of lentils, brown rice and roast vegetables with the added zing of feta and dukkah and of course our secret dressing that makes any salad worth eating. My other winter standard is soup,and Cat and Louie have been creating some very delicious flavours. Last week it was a creamy curried roast parsnip with apple and cashew nuts. Sounds odd I know but it was truly scrumptious, so much so that I had it, 3 days in a row, for lunch.

Winter is definitely the time of year when you can indulge in those heavier types of food that give us comfort in the colder months and what better way to enjoy them than by a roaring fire? My idea of winter bliss. Is it yours?