The memory of Alan Pye, a mad keen fly-fisherman with a flair for hospitality, lives on at Huka Lodge. New Zealand's premiere holiday lodge has named its luxurious new cottage after the man who first made Huka Lodge famous.

In the 1920s, Pye's love of fishing drew him to the banks of the Waikato where it courses from Lake Taupo towards the thundering Huka Falls. Pye, reputedly from Ireland, arrived on the heels of the American author Zane Grey, who had let the world know Taupo was an anglers' paradise.

Pye observed the prolific sedge fly hatching from rafts of weed beneath the river's surface. It was mana from fly-fishing heaven and Pye wasted little time in purchasing land on the banks of the Waikato and building a small fishing lodge where he and like-minded anglers could indulge their passion.

Anglers were accommodated in huts with slatted floors and canvas roofs. The modest accommodation piqued the sense of adventure and the daily prize was hooking the fish, darting like arrows through the river. Each night Pye and his wife dished up generous meals and liquid accompaniment in the main room.

The combination of fine fishing and hospitality lured anglers from far and wide. By the mid-1930s, Pye's humble fishing lodge had become a cause celebre. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York signed her name in the visitors' book.

Charles Lindberg, the famous American aviator and explorer, and American author James A. Mitchener were also attracted to Pye's lodge and the Waikato river. As were film stars, governors-general and politicians.

The good times continued until the outbreak of World War II when, almost overnight, Huka's flow of international clientele slowed to a trickle. At the same time, a decline in sedge fly, caused by the installation of control gates on the Waikato, turned anglers' attention back to the lake and the rivers feeding it.

Alan Pye's involvement in the rustic lodge he had made famous gradually waned. However, his passion for the Waikato remained undiminished until his death in Taupo in 1973.

Pye's legacy was given a robust makeover in 1973 and then sold 10 years later to the present owner, South African-born Alex Van Heeren, who began transforming the 7ha property into a world-renowned tourist establishment. His vision was to ensure that the accommodation lived up to its outstanding surroundings and an adherence to top quality has won the lodge numerous international awards.

"I came upon Huka Lodge by chance and realised there was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring about its renaissance," says Van Heeren.

"It had history, mystique and great natural ... The secret was to be conscious of the natural environment, of design, value for money and, of course, exclusivity. I would like to think our family's association with Huka Lodge will continue for many years to come."

The handsome, new two-bedroom Alan Pye cottage sits on the banks of the Waikato, across the courtyard from a stone pavilion with a giant fireplace. They were designed by Sumich Architects and the stylish interiors are the work of Aucklander Virginia Fisher, who has also designed the interiors for Huka Lodge and Van Heeren's other exclusive tourist retreats, Grande Provence in South Africa and Dolphin Island on his privately owned island in Fiji.

In the cottage a spacious dining and living room separates the en suite bedrooms. There is also a study with a plasma screen and a kitchen equipped for a personal chef.

Landscaped gardens border the cottage. The heated infinity pool seems to flow into the river.

Up to four guests can stay in the Alan Pye cottage and divide the nightly accommodation rates which start at $3060 plus GST. The rates include pre-dinner drinks, a five-course dinner, full country breakfast, use of all Huka Lodge facilities and Taupo Airport transfers.

And if guests can be prised away from their exclusive surroundings and into waders, they will discover the top-notch fishing lives on.