Owen River Lodge wins at the Qualmark Awards

August 04, 2021

By Felix Borenstein



We’ve made history!

Following last week’s win at the 2021 Qualmark Awards, Owen River Lodge is now the most-awarded fishing lodge in New Zealand.

Qualmark certification is no pushover. The requirements, particularly for the Luxury Lodge and Gold Sustainable Tourism accreditations we hold, are stringent. And the competition for the Awards is brutal. The standard’s extremely high and we were up against the best of the best.

It’s all about our people

This year’s Qualmark 100% Pure Experience Awards were decided on how well we looked after our guests, our team and our community in 2020, the year that decimated New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Every business decision I made in that year was based on keeping our staff employed—because I’m well aware that without the people who choose to work with me, all I really have is a fancy building and some rooms. The people make the difference.

So despite losing 95% of our market overnight when the country’s borders closed, Owen River Lodge opened for the 2020–21 season. We worked our butts off to increase the Lodge’s profile in the domestic market; an initiative so successful that many of our Kiwi guests have re-booked to stay and fish with us for the coming season.

We still took a financial hit but our team kept their jobs. And they helped Owen River Lodge win yet another major award. I am so very proud of them. “Owen River Lodge got through 2020 by doing what people in rural communities have always done—sticking together, listening, offering support, showing aroha (compassion/empathy). Owen River Lodge was exemplary in putting whānau (family) well-being first in all business decisions.” —Judges’ comments, 2021 Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards

Looking ahead

If you want to experience the sort of accommodation, cuisine and angling adventure that consistently wins New Zealand’s top tourism accolades, book now for the 2021–22 season. Be quick, though to secure your preferred dates and fishing guide.

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Felix Borenstein

Owner & General Manager

Back to list

Jan 19 2020

Sunny Summer Sweetness at Owen River Lodge! My husband and I enjoyed a three night, two day visit recently at ORL. We are repeat visitors and it just….keeps…..getting…..better!… Read more

Sue Ellen & Mark Wisconsin USA : TripAdvisor

Mar 8 2020

Great hosts in a great part of the world elix, Kylie and Indy were great hosts for our four night stay at the lodge and have put together a fantastic team. The lodge is as pristine… Read more

Dean & Nick Australia : TripAdvisor

Awards & acknowledgements

Owen River Lodge NZ: “Fly fishing at its very best”

Ph: +64 3 523 9075 Address: Owen Valley East Road, Murchison, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand

Email: stay@owenriverlodge.co.nz