Experience transformation

Unleashing your home's potential with a pergola

sponsored content with Sanctuary Pergolas

Making the most of our home’s outdoor areas is part of the New Zealand way of life, but our unpredictable weather doesn’t always play ball with our desire for indoor-outdoor living. 

Building a pergola is often the key to making the most of your outdoor area, providing shelter when the rain won’t stop, or the sun gets too strong for comfort. Choose the right provider and you’ll not only have a practical solution to maximising space, but it will elevate the look and value of your home.

Pergolas are also an effective way for companies such as cafes and restaurants to create an outdoor space for their patrons to enjoy.

An artist's paradise

When Danish artist Mamakan Oustrup Laureijis first arrived in New Zealand, she very quickly fell in love with our native bush. Fast forward five years and she has developed Velskov, a forest farm in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges where Oustrup Laureijis and her team grow and forage native herbs and produce that are sold to restaurants and cafes around the city. Velskov also offers mead making classes and the pergola is a great space for corporate events, team building sessions and luxury dining experiences.

“In order to provide chefs with this fresh native produce, we needed a place where we could host them and our other visitors. The goal was somewhere that felt totally immersed in nature, while being protected from the sun, rain and wind.”

Determined to work with local craftspeople, she contacted Sanctuary Pergolas who helped capture her vision and designed and built something completely unique.

Working closely with the company’s in-house architectural designer Jordan Breetvelt, they came up with a design inspired by the shape of the piwakawaka (fantail). Oustrup Laureijis says the new pergola is not only a practical solution to her need for shelter, it blends in perfectly with the surroundings. 

“So many people have told me it looks like it has always been there. I think that’s the greatest compliment you can give,” she says.

The space also serves as a bush boardroom for corporate events or team meetings.

“Sanctuary Pergolas were so easy to work with; they really understood what I was wanting,” she says. “I was so impressed by their attention to detail. It’s a structure that will stand the test of time. It’s not something you put up for a year or two; it’s something you want to have long-term.”

The pergola the team designed for Velskov is all about clean, uncluttered design that lets the beauty of the location shine. The aluminium framing has integrated gutters and the six millimetre acrylic sheeting looks like glass, but is a more practical alternative that offers UV protection. 

“It means if a branch falls, which obviously could happen in the forest, it won’t shatter like glass,” says Oustrup Laureijis. “We’ve also got blinds we can pull down if it’s raining or windy, but you still feel like you’re outdoors.”

While a freestanding pergola was the perfect solution for bush-clad Velskov, pergolas are a great addition to existing homes. They can expand the living area of a home, providing a space that can be used year-round in all weathers. In more built-up suburban areas, they are a way of creating privacy, offering a secluded outdoor area that’s ideal for entertaining.

For owners of businesses such as cafes and restaurants, pergolas help them to accommodate more patrons who can enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces while soaking up the fresh air and sunshine.

Mamakan creates unique drinks utilising the native flowers and herbs available in her surrounding forest farm.

Mamakan creates unique drinks utilising the native flowers and herbs available in her surrounding forest farm.

The view from Velskov Forest Farm.

The view from Velskov Forest Farm.

Mamakan is utilising her pergola on Velskov Forest Farm as a mulit-purpose space for local chefs, visiting groups and corporate teams.

Mamakan is utilising her pergola on Velskov Forest Farm as a mulit-purpose space for local chefs, visiting groups and corporate teams.

The natural environment influences Mamakan's botanical art.

The natural environment influences Mamakan's botanical art.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

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Mamakan creates unique drinks utilising the native flowers and herbs available in her surrounding forest farm.

Mamakan creates unique drinks utilising the native flowers and herbs available in her surrounding forest farm.

The view from Velskov Forest Farm.

The view from Velskov Forest Farm.

Mamakan is utilising her pergola on Velskov Forest Farm as a mulit-purpose space for local chefs, visiting groups and corporate teams.

Mamakan is utilising her pergola on Velskov Forest Farm as a mulit-purpose space for local chefs, visiting groups and corporate teams.

The natural environment influences Mamakan's botanical art.

The natural environment influences Mamakan's botanical art.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Some of the flora and fauna at Velskov Forest Farm.

Experienced craft

A desire to make the most of his own outdoor area was the catalyst for Sanctuary Pergolas founder Bruce Breetvelt to start his own business.

The family bach at Waihi Beach had a lovely big deck, but it was often unusable because of the heat of the sun. Breetvelt got in touch with a company to install a pergola but was frustrated at the long lead time he was given. 

With an extensive background in engineering and teaching design, he rolled up his sleeves and installed it himself – with a few improvements along the way.

“Once I had finished it, I realised this was something I could do really well. The design ideas kept flooding in and I kept refining it.”

Breetvelt discovered a gap in the market for pergolas that were a triumph of both function and form, crafted individually to suit each property and the needs of the customer.

“The common dilemma I kept on coming across was that people had an outdoor area that they couldn’t use, especially with the extremes of weather we are seeing now. It is either very hot or very wet. The company was built on the idea of transforming outdoor areas into exceptional living areas.”

Breetvelt was delighted when his son Jordan, an architectural designer, decided to join him in the business. 

“When Jordan came on board, he said he wanted us to have 100 percent customer satisfaction and we work very hard to achieve that.”

Powerful structure

Built for all New Zealand conditions to seamlessly allow the outside in while providing shelter

Adaptable options

Mamakan's pergola allows for flexibility between providing a sanctuary solely to create, or the space to become a venue for hosted events which connect attendees with the outdoors while providing a sheltered haven to workshop or socialise.

Adaptable blinds

Mamakan demonstrates fully retractable blinds which simultaneously cocoon someone inside from the elements, while letting them still be part of nature.

A trusted process

Sanctuary Pergolas’ emphasis on a unique and personalised product is their point of difference from others in the market.

“Ours is not a cookie cutter approach,” says Breetvelt. “Each pergola is designed to complement and enhance the site and we work closely with the client to achieve that. We don’t have off-the-shelf design kits.”

An extensive photo library of work the company has done previously often helps give new clients an idea of what’s possible. After an onsite consultation, a computer-generated image of the final design is produced for signoff before work begins.

“It’s about really listening to the client to understand what they want, then delivering something that exceeds their expectations.”   

The pergola is custom-built on site so it fits perfectly in the space. Each installation is backed by a 10-year guarantee on materials and workmanship. In the rare case that council consent is needed, Sanctuary Pergolas liaises with the council to get consent.

“Another point of difference is that our pergolas have hidden brackets, which means our joins have to be exceptional,” says Breetvelt. “The aim is to have clean, sophisticated lines and a contemporary look. I think we achieve that.”


Breetvelt says each Sanctuary Pergola starts and ends with a conversation with the client. The first is to discover how their vision can be achieved. The last is to make sure the completed pergola is exactly what they wanted.

“A great day at work for me is when the customer turns around and says, ‘This is even better than we ever imagined’. That’s what we live for.”

Find out more about how Sanctuary Pergolas can bring your vision to life.