Any lingering doubts about buying the former Mainstreet Lodge in Kaitaia disappeared when Daniel Fasnacht met the resident cat.
Having displayed a certain aloofness in the company of real estate agents, Lucy greeted Mr Fasnacht with relative enthusiasm, to the point of allowing him to pat her.
The deal was soon done, with Lucy taking the role of the new owners' most important chattel.
Mr Fasnacht and his partner, Stefanie Ruscigno, bought the Beachcomber Restaurant across the street a little over two years ago, and now they have added the Beachcomber name to the lodge.
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They have appointed Wayne Kipa, raised at Oruaiti and back in the North after 10 years in Auckland, as manager, with one-time WWOOFer Johanna Fritzsch, about to head home to Germany for Christmas but back in Kaitaia early next month, as his assistant.
Mr Fasnacht (Swiss) and Ms Ruscigno (Italian) were working in Switzerland - he as a vice-director at a five-star hotel, she as team leader at an Italian restaurant - when they decided to follow his parents - Roly and Martha Fasnacht, proprietors of Carneval Ocean View luxury accommodation at Cable Bay - to the Far North of New Zealand.
The process of taking ownership of the Lodge was formally completed on Monday when Pineaha Selwyn blessed the premises, and all who will work and stay there.
"This is still a lovely place," Mr Selwyn said of the marae, but a lot had happened since it was built. Some of what had happened had not been nice, but he was there to take away any bad vibrations.
"Let us burn all that so this place is as white as snow and as sinless as a wood pigeon. May everyone be blessed when they come, and when they leave.
"Let all the bad be gone. No more."
Ms Fasnacht replied that he and Stefanie were delighted to be in New Zealand, and were grateful for all the support they had received.