Robert Graham arrived from England in 1842 as a passenger aboard the Jane Gifford, the very first ship to bring settlers to New Zealand direct from Great Britain. Once he had arrived in New Zealand, Robert Graham quickly recognised the quality and health benefits of the Artesian water in Waiwera, 30km north of Central Auckland.
From small beginnings he eventually built the Hot Springs Hotel & Spa in Waiwera – recognised at the time for it’s impressive Gin Palace style bar and as the largest Hotel and Health Spa in the Southern Hemisphere. Along the way he established a vineyard with two thousand vines, gardens and an orchard and to supply the Hotel and Health Spa. In February 1845 he was granted an early ‘Bush Licence’ to produce and sell alcoholic beverages from the hotel. Robert Graham also began selling ‘Waiwera Tonic and Waiwera Seltzer’ – one of the first bottled, aerated mineral waters produced in New Zealand, quite possibly the very first in the world.
In respect of the memory of Robert Graham, we have recreated classic Gin and Rum based on his mid-19th century recipes.
The magnificent Waiwera Hot Springs Hotel