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Xmas cheer for travellers

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Being away from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a family Christmas –  well, not if you’re staying at the Mawley Holiday Park.

Owners Jelena and Rodney Algie are embracing the festive spirit by laying on a European breakfast for their guests.

This has become some-what of a tradition for the couple, since they bought the Masterton campground in 2011.

The Algie’s put on the complimentary feast with the sole purpose of making guests “feel at home while they’re away from home”.

Mrs Algie said she could be catering for up to 100 people, with all park visitors receiving a personal invite.

“I was born in Yugoslavia and English is not my first language,” she said.

“I know what it’s like to be away from home during special times, like Christmas, when you’re traditionally with friends and family.

“When you’re away it’s nice to have something of home.”

On Tuesday, sitting among Christmas trees and decorations in the park’s communal kitchen, Mrs Algie was busy making up gift boxes for all who called in on the day.

She said summer was a busy time at the park, with many international guests staying while they carried out seasonal work.

“It’s hard coming to a new place, even if you’re on a big adventure.”

Many of the guests are European, so the breakfast entails a selection of cheeses, deli meats, traditional breads, and lots of fruit.

Mrs Algie said it was the day before Christmas, her first year at the park, that she initially decided to put on the jolly meal.

“It was Christmas eve when I said to my husband ‘we have to do something for Christmas morning, we can’t just not have anything’.

“So at 5 o’clock in the morning he’s carting a six-foot Christmas tree across the yard and then we put a simple buffet on for everyone.”

The pair are renowned for going the extra mile for their guests.

This was echoed last year when they won the AA Spirit of Hospitality Award.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said it was inspiring how the Algie’s embraced their guests.

“They go way beyond the call of duty for many, many people, particularly young people from overseas.

“They really look after them, and I’m really proud that we have people like Jelena and Rodney, who provide these things for our overseas and domestic visitors.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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