Investigation Report: Mokena Boutique Hotel and Restaurant,
Te Aroha - 3rd August 2012
History and Location
was originally named Hinemoa House and was a
house during the gold rush of the 1860s in the gold mining
nearby Waiorongomai. It was moved to Te Aroha in the early 1900s and
alterations made to the
building in 1927 resulted in the Mokena House we see today.
Mokena is a charming building. While it retains the history
and character of the original building it has been transformed into a
boutique 10 bedroomed hotel with a magnificent buffet restaurant.
Members of Haunted Auckland (Mark, Matthew and Barbara) arrived mid
afternoon and were met by Diane (Owner/Manager) who was extremely
welcoming and helpful. She showed us to our very comfortable rooms and
then gave us a tour of
the historic hotel. Areas of interest were pointed out including a room
near the restaurant
where several mediums had reported sensing the spirits of
children. Interestingly, this room is where children visiting the hotel
sit and play or watch TV. We were also shown the closed off
renovation/storage/laundry area of
the house which is not open to the public but where we decided we
needed to investigate further. Later Diane also invited us to walk
through her managers flat and take
After this we were able to look around the local areas including the Te
Aroha Domain, Te Aroha Spa Baths, Mokena Geyser and the Grand Hotel.
We later regrouped at Mokena for a delicious dinner and to meet up with
Karen, the last member of our group to arrive. She had brought along
her son Phoenix, (a budding young paranormal
investigator who was about to have one exciting night!) and husband
Terry for the weekend.
A special Thank you to Mokena for pulling out all the stops for us with
our dinner. We were even treated to our own full pavlova and fresh
fruit salad for
dessert. The extra special effort put on for us was very much
appreciated. That kind of genuine hospitality is rare these days,
especially back in Auckland.
The Haunted Auckland group carried out a Class 3 investigation at
Equipment used for the overnight investigation: I.R Cams, standard
video cams, Audio recorders, Magnetic Field Generators, Motion
detectors, EMF meter, Thermometer, Trap cam, Digital cameras.
Each member of our group had a different room in the hotel and as we
were the only guests staying there that night we were able to go
through all the rooms. We took photos, video and audio
recordings in various rooms and corridors.
Barbara had an unusual experience
while in the Mountain View Room
and Karen were in the room with the lights out doing an EVP session.
Barbara felt something fall beside her but could not see what it was in
the dark. Upon turning on the light to retrieve whatever it
was that had fluttered past her she found an oak leaf at her feet.
This could have perhaps been there already but was not noticed earlier
in the day when team members went in there during daylight hours and
was not in any of the earlier photos. Barbara said she felt it flutter
down beside her but has no idea of how
it could have come to do that. There was a window in the
room but it was closed at the time.
There was debate among the team with some members being sure
have come in on someone's foot but that does not explain how Barbara
had the sensation that something had fluttered past her then found the
leaf. Barbara feels this may have been a personal paranormal experience.
Matthew based himself in the upstairs lounge and placed his EMF meter
there. He did notice an increased reading in the room at one stage
during the afternoon.
Barbara and Matthew were lucky enough to be allowed to enter the
managers accommodation to take photos and audio recordings. Dianne told
us of locking doors within the hotel and returning to find
them unlocked and vice-versa.
Phoenix had an experience while standing in the corridor near the
upstairs lounge and the top of the stairwell.He had the
sensation that someone pulled on his jacket. Later as he walked past he
saw what he described as a "leprechaun" sitting on the stair rail near
the top of the stairs. He reported this to his mother and other members
of the group and
photos and E.V.Ps were taken but nothing unusual was found. We also had
a motion sensor Trap camera set up at the top of the stairs to capture
any activity in that area as we investigated downstairs.
Downstairs - Restaurant
We were unfortunately unable to do a thorough investigation of the
restaurant due to a function being held there during our
visit. It was not accessible later in the evening so the
group was only able to take a few photos and do a short audio recording
while the room was being set up. Upon review nothing was found in these
photos or recordings.
This part of the hotel was under
renovation. It was used
mainly for storage, but the managers office and laundry were also in
this area and this was the area used for a Halloween Fright Night
Evening Event held at the hotel. The wing was much colder than the
rest of the hotel but this may have been because it was not
and most other areas of the hotel were. Our group took
numerous photos, videos and audio recordings in this area both through
the afternoon and later in the evening.
Mark reported twice feeling an "icy chill" go past his ear while
outside one of the storerooms there and may have had a personal
experience there. Mark says "I
went to that same section,
down the long hallway to the end storage room to get an IR camera I had
set up to record the area about two hours previous. On
unplugging the camera, and getting up to leave the room I saw a tall
shadow move briefly in the back corner of the room. Only for
a second and at the corner of my eye, so am unsure as to whether it was
just a trick of the light distorted through the cornea of my eye, or
We also had the opportunity to talk to a cleaner who worked
at the hotel. She told us this story:
She was in a hallway putting linen away in the cupboard. On opening the
cupboard she noticed that things had been moved around
from shelf to shelf. She said she notices this happening quite
regularly and as she is the
only one in the hotel that ever uses or goes in the closet, she felt it
She mentioned to me that she has told the 'culprits' to "*$%# off and
stop messing in her area" numerous times as it had become a great
annoyance having to tidy up the mess so often.
On the most recent occasion she was standing on a step ladder
up on a high shelf in the cupboard when suddenly, her belt was
undone and whipped out of her pants at a super fast speed! Mark
commented "We assumed
that it was just a matter of a stretchy belt
that had sprung open as she was reaching up but she showed us the belt
and it was a solid canvas type belt with a lock buckle, ie no easy
opening catch buckle! The fact that it was pulled from he
the belt loops at
speed would have been quite a feat, even for a person standing behind
her. I found this story very interesting as it was a physical
and 'intelligently' motivated occurrence, something that doesn't happen
with Residual Hauntings."
Diane had told us that people had told her that there were spirits of
children in the TV lounge so the group spent time in there during the
afternoon and in the evening. This room became our base in the late
evening when we set up infra red
and motion detection cameras there. We held various EVP sessions and
experimented with white noise while
attempting to communicate with any spirits which may have been there.
We took numerous photos and hours of audio recordings.
No unusual readings from the meters or recording equipment, though the
incident in the downstairs
room where we conducted the
communication session had us guessing for a moment. A motion sensing
light kept lighting up at intervals. It was aimed at a wall with a gap
of about 20cm, so no one would be
setting it off with their movements by being in front of the sensor. It
seemed to flash on in response to our questions, but we decided
after a while that due to its regularity and constant timing, that it
may have been caused to a glitch or fault in the motion detector
Trigger Tests - We set up large ball bearings, magnets, balloons,
motion sensors, candles, as well as using objects on the table during
the seance / communication session. No results from our trigger objects.
Seance - We held a short communication session whilst in the T.V
lounge. Mark comments, "I
have sat in on a seance before many years ago and
at the time wasn’t convinced it was anything more than just the power
of suggestion in play. As we didn’t receive any answers or activity
during the Mokena seance, I cant really offer any better opinions than
my last one. I am still undecided as to whether there is anything
paranormal behind seances".
The team at Haunted Auckland took over 1000 photos, and many hours of
video and audio recordings. Upon reviewing all this we did
discover several photos which had possible anomalies. Eventually all
were eliminated except one which we cannot offer a good
This was a photo taken by Karen whilst we were setting up in the TV
lounge getting ready for the night ahead. It shows a strange white
'mist' around the edge of the table.
Barbara - "I think
Mokena Hotel is intelligently haunted. Several of the group had
experiences which may indicate that the
spirits in the hotel are aware of the presence of guests within the
hotel.At times it seems that they try to get their attention
as was my experience with the feeling of something falling in front of
me in the dark to alert me to look at the floor and find a leaf.
Phoenix also had the sensation of someone pulling his jacket and later
saw a form on the stairs. There is also the story told by the cleaner
which clearly indicates the
ghosts within the building want to be noticed. "
Mark - "I personally
didn’t get the impression that the Mokena Hotel
was overly active and haunted. There were moments and feelings that
made me stop and analyse briefly, but nothing that really stood out as
being highly unusual or paranormally exciting, in the time we were
there. Having said that, both staff and guests have continued to
experience activity in the hotel through the years, so I’m quite sure
there is 'something' there. Perhaps a residual presence or presences?"
It is hard to deny or dismiss the many years of experiences by staff
customers that have visited and occupied the building in the hotel's
long history. There were so many exciting stories, some in great detail
and many telling of obvious physical activity that they cant all be
cast off as being just urban legend or misidentifications. Whether
is something 'intelligent', residual or otherwise, the
Mokena Hotel is one beautiful old hotel that has been lovingly cared
for many generations. She’s an old bird with much character and charm
and we're quite confident her walls hold many secrets. who knows, next
time we visit her, she may just feel like sharing some of them!
A big thank you to
everyone at Mokena for being such superb hosts
making our stay such a pleasure. We'll be back for sure and if you’re
ever passing through Te Aroha,
stop in and say Hi and tell them Haunted Auckland sent you!