• Expansive views of Wellington Harbour from the cable car are truly memorable

Wellington on a Good Day

January 27th, 2018|Tags: , , , , , , , |

There’s an indescribable pleasure in revisiting one’s old hometown and bringing to mind youthful memories triggered by familiar landmarks and scenes. Our capital city at the centre of Middle Earth still manages to surprise me. I love the fact that when the weather is ‘trying’ in the sense of rain, hail or gales, the locals [...]

Carving Up Matakana’s Sculpture Trail

December 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Little Barrier Island appears to loom over the landscape, even though its formidable dark silhouette is 22km across a shimmering sea. Like an ethereal Bali Hai island this unique predator-free sanctuary is clearly visible from every corner of the region. It’s an especially riveting view from the spacious lounge of Takatu Lodge & Vineyard, an [...]

  • The river runs through steep mountains clothed in native bush

Ghosts of the Mystic River

August 3rd, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Sister Susanne Aubert was so revered by Māori on the Whanganui River that they called her, ‘Meri Hohepa’ – wahine tino whakapono, a very holy lady. With her Sisters of Compassion, Aubert cared for orphaned and abandoned babies and children during the 1890s at the Jerusalem convent. One baby was dispatched anonymously in a basket [...]

  • Part of the idyllic picnic lawns behind the Mansion House

Walking in the Governor’s Garden of Eden

June 4th, 2017|Tags: , , |

‘Surely I’m not hallucinating,’… as a small brown phantom image flies across the track ahead, leaving me shaking my head in wonder. It can’t be an illusion. Visibility is good in this strangely quiet mature pine forest as I’m walking under a bright midday sun. The light filters through the upper canopy and dapples the [...]

Art Deco Daze

February 1st, 2017|Tags: , , , |

I've had a long love affair with Napier’s Art Deco scene. Whenever I stroll along Tennyson Street, I find myself constantly gazing upwards with my wandering eye drawn to weird geometrical designs that leap out from ice-cream coloured building facades of a bygone era. In February each year, I dress up in my sauciest [...]

Opotiki – Shalfoon’s Timeless Treasure Trove

December 21st, 2016|Tags: , , , , |

A cloud of choking dust flies up as the 120-year-old wooden doors crash open, revealing a crumbling brick dynamite store. The dingy interior is empty except for dust-shrouded, decaying empty boxes marked ‘Blasting Powder’. This wasn’t George Shalfoon’s secret arsenal, nor was it a risky business venture fraught with danger. George was an astute [...]