Te Koha came to life in 2010, when we the Goodalls (Jan, Mike, Nevada and Vinnie) decided to open a carve-your-own-pounamu studio. Mike is a descendent of the Tainui/Ngati Maniapoto tribe, and together we felt driven to share that rich culture with visitors to the wild West Coast.
The studio was initially based inside our Franz Josef gallery, and it was there that we proudly provided a truly unique and wonderful experience for the next decade. In 2019, our studio shifted locations and can now be found on our farm in a nearby Franz Josef valley.
Our dream of providing an authentic, immersive and unforgettable Kiwi experience has now become reality. We are eternally grateful to each and every one of our past (and future) visitors for their support.
Jan was born in Tauranga and raised in a small farming community called Hoe-O-Tainui in the Waikato. After moving to Franz Josef in the early eighties and falling in love with the place, she met her husband Mike and soon started a family. She has now spent 30 years in the tourism industry sharing her passion for Maori culture, the kiwi lifestyle and jade carving with people from all walks of life. Jan runs the place, and is known for the warmth and kindness with which she welcomes and hosts visitors to Te Koha.
Vinnie is their youngest and is 18 years old. He was born in Fiordland but has lived in Franz Josef most of his life. He enjoys getting out into the wilderness and 4 wheel driving with his friends. He was living in Sydney, working as a floor layer but came back just before Covid hit. The time back home has given him the opportunity to learn the family business and help out with the heavier jobs around the studio. He's enjoying being back - there's no place like Franz Josef and he loves sharing it with the world.
Nevada is Jan & Mike's eldest child, she's 25 and feels very lucky to be born and bred on the West Coast. It will always be home, no matter where she is. She suffers from Fibromyalgia (a neurological condition) so can no longer hold a full time job. Her silver lining is that she now has all the time in the world to help with the family business. In the summer she shows miniature horses with her cousin. She spends her spare time with her dog Bear going for walks or relaxing in the studio, or dreaming of where Te Koha will be in a few years time.
Mike was born in Napier and is of Tainui/Ngati Maniapoto descent. He moved to the South Island at a young age, growing up in Central Otago. Mike moved to the West Coast in his early 20s where he worked in spagnum moss, fishing, heli-logging, tourism and underground coal mining and has never left. After being made redundant from Pike River Coal Mine, Mike, his wife and young family went back into tourism and now welcome local and international visitors to their home thanks to Te Koha.