Former UK lawyer, interior designer and restaurateur Lloyd Rooney and Kiwi farmer Mike Fraser have a knack of creating successful ventures wherever they go. After meeting in London Mike and Lloyd moved to New Zealand to set up a successful 2200 hectare beef and lamb farm in Wairamarama, south of Auckland, which they worked for nine years.
Lloyd's background in hospitality was calling him and when a small coastal cafe in Northland was up for sale, they bought it. They transformed it into The Cove Cafe and were able to serve beef and lamb straight from their farm, which gave the cafe a 'gate to plate' authenticity, making it a hot spot on the coast for tourists and locals alike.
The Cove proved such a success that they decided to sell the farm and relocate permanently to the North, building a house right behind the Cafe. They now have three other restaurants locally, The Quay and No8 at the Town Basin in Whangarei and The Dune in Mangawhai.
Mike grows all the produce for the restaurants on their new farm 'The Shack' in Maungakaramea. He and his team of 8 gardeners grow spray-free organic vegetables and herbs in the rich volcanic soil ensuring customers still get the 'gate to plate' experience.
Keeping it local is important to Lloyd, Mike and the team with all seafood and meat sourced directly from the best suppliers in the region. They wholeheartedly support local breweries and vineyards by supplying each restaurant with local beer and wine.
The Great Highgate Trading Company Ltd was formed to manage the restaurant and farming ventures of Lloyd Rooney and Mike Fraser. The group has grown from a single restaurant, The Cove in Waipu Cove, and their beef and sheep farm, Highgate Hill in the Waikato to now include The Quay in Whangarei and The Dune in Mangawhai. Our farming ventures have also grown in recent months to include a market garden, The Vege Shack, in Maungakaramea near Whangarei in Northland.