ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

UK TV star accused of blindsiding Kiwi vineyard staff with winter closure

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 May 2024, 1:53pm
Edmonds in his Kiwi vineyard. Photo / River Haven Instagram
Edmonds in his Kiwi vineyard. Photo / River Haven Instagram

UK TV star accused of blindsiding Kiwi vineyard staff with winter closure

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 May 2024, 1:53pm

A British television celebrity who moved to a remote part of New Zealand to open a winery has been accused of sacking 17 staff with just one day’s notice. 

Noel Edmonds – star of Noel’s House Party, Top of the Pops and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Here and friend of Mr Blobby – first visited New Zealand in 2016. 

He then moved here, buying a home in Matakana near Auckland. 

In 2022, he expanded into the South Island, including buying a vineyard in the tiny Tasman town of Ngātīmoti. 

Noel Edmonds and wife Liz. Photo / RIver Haven InstagramNoel Edmonds and wife Liz. Photo / RIver Haven Instagram 

He then set about transforming the property into the English-inspired River Haven complete with a restaurant, cafe, general store and pub named the Bugger Inn. 

Staff told UK newspaper The Sun that late last month Edmonds shut the winery for the winter, giving them one day’s notice. 

“It came right out of the blue. We had a meeting a week before where Noel asked for our ideas for winter,” a staffer told the paper. 

“At 4pm on the Saturday, April 27, one of the managers took a group of us into a back room and said, ‘Tomorrow is your last day.’ We never saw Noel.” 

The Sun also reported that Edmonds and third wife Liz were currently in the UK and published a photo yesterday of him enjoying an ice cream on the Isle of Man. 

Another winery worker said a group of them were kicked out of Edmonds’ pub as they “drowned their sorrows” after the news. 

Mr Blobby was a famous "character" on Edmonds' show Noel's House Party. Photo / Mr Blobby Official InstagramMr Blobby was a famous "character" on Edmonds' show Noel's House Party. Photo / Mr Blobby Official Instagram 

They told The Sun: “The venue manager told us we would all have a drink at the Bugger Inn that evening using our tip money. 

“I think we’d had one round when another of Noel’s bosses told us to go. 

“He said, ‘Get the f*** out, none of you are welcome here.’ 

“The next day Noel appeared and was cracking jokes but there was no apology. No one has been told anything about future work. It’s disgusting.” 

Edmonds and wife Liz celebrating Christmas. Photo / River Haven InstagramEdmonds and wife Liz celebrating Christmas. Photo / River Haven Instagram 

The Herald has contacted Edmonds for comment. 

When he left the UK for Aotearoa, he told the Mail on Sunday: “Kiwis can rest easy. I’m not going to inflict myself upon this proud nation. 

“I’m not bringing Mr Blobby over. I’m here to behave.” 

River Haven’s website states that it is temporarily closed and will reopen in the spring or summer. No date is given. 

The closure message on the website.The closure message on the website. 

Stuff reported this week that staff were told they would be contacted “if or when” River Haven reopened. 

On the website, Edmonds and his wife state their mission is to “make a positive contribution to community life in the most beautiful Motueka Valley”. 

“The River Haven vineyard is now described as the most beautiful in New Zealand. 

“Our Clubhouse Restaurant serves fine local food, our French-style Cafe, Olde World Pub and General Store have become a hub for fun, laughter and local chit chat. 

“Our vision has swiftly become a vibrant reality for the simple reason we always honour the traditional values of mutual respect and friendship blended with a deep appreciation of our natural environment. 

“We hope you also savour and enjoy our first-ever River Haven vintage.” 

They sign their message off “with love and positivity”. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you