Sunday, December 25, 2011

Nu Zild: Staying "Sweet As"

A Kiwi reader mentioned the other night I never warn you I'm heading off...I'm simply suddenly there. Bloodyhellsorry, done it again. We're in New Zealand for two weeks, guys. First in Auckland staying with my friend Sue for two nights, then tramping (hiking) in the Coromandel Peninsula for four nights and then home to Ohope Beach in the Bay Of Plenty.

At Ohope, our kids sold (bit runty) Christmas trees on the side of the road for $10.  Initially they weren't having much luck. Cy, seven, having watched of lifetime of Disney TV, knew all about incentives and salesmanship, "Let's give cookies too" he said and when they went door to door: "Take me, I'm the cute one!"

Harley, Jackson and cousin Finn selling Christmas trees at Ohope Beach

Cy and cousin Leah
It's been a funny old trip. Loads of things about New Zealand (sometimes pronounced Nu Zild) have changed...

I Scream: There's even more ways to scream your way through the day, as Tallulah and I found when -  straight off the plane - we jumped 750 ft off the Sky Tower in Auckland. Have I ever mentioned I am terrified of heights? I've done sky diving (with a hangover, natch) and bungy jumping. But this is scarier  -  you're jumping into tall buildings and concrete streets. Shamefully I pushed in front of Tallulah, 10. I knew if I waited any longer I would pike (pull out).  "The guys here will look after you" I told Tallulah as I headed out to the gangplank. Yes, there have been prouder moments for me as a mother...

Happy now I'm near the road

Tallulah about to jump 750 ft in Auckland
Corrugated ironic: Once a noisy, cheap, hotter-than-hell roofing for bushwacker's huts, now corrugated iron cool. The orange and purple and denim-blue curvy stuff is fabulously everywhere.

The Auckland Wharf, Tallulah, Pietra, cousin Leah, Cy, Jackson, Harley, Kevin and cousin Finn.

Me and Mum at her corrugated kitchen island, Ohope Beach

Dog Day Afternoons: The security dogs at Auckland Airport can sniff out anything. Including Cy's three-day old spaghetti bolognese school lunch which had just a touch of green fuzz on it. Poor Cy, seven, bawled when the dog barked at him and a whole building-full of travelers turned to glare.  We rounded out that sterling first impression when Kevin declared his American health bars to customs officials, joking: "Just a little something to bribe you with."
"Sir, there's no bribing here!" the customs guy told him sternly.  I moved away from Kevin, fully prepared to disown him. There have been prouder moments for me as a wife...

Kiwi "chucks" (chicks) no longer keep their good clothes for best. Pietra's friend, Joanna cooked a chicken lunch for 14 in this gorgeous silk gown and stacked sandals. Staunch. When she lived on Waiheke Island she sipped one reviving glass of champers (just the one, mind) at breakfast a la Coco.

Pietra and Joanna

And some things never change...

Retro domestic moments:
I never iron at home, so why am I ironing tonight?

Me and friend Sue before her barbie
Kiwis trust you: Kevin walked into tiny old gold-mining Coromandel Town and told the bank teller: "I have an account here but I don't have the card...or the account number...and I don't really know what the account is."
"Oh no worries at all" the teller said "Just sign this form and I'll do the rest. How much would you like?"
$600? ventured Kevin.
She'd already pushed the cash over to him before he had the chance to hand over his ID.

Good old Kiwi ingenuity. 22-year-old Roxy noticed a small alleyway next to her parent's fish and chip shop in the surfing mecca of Whangamata. She then found a shipping container in the back of her parent's shop. She moved the container into the alleyway space and Roxy's coffee house Barside was born, the "best coffee in Nu Zild" according to everyone we asked.

Roxy's shipping container coffee shop


Sweet As. "As" means "Very".  As what? my kids asked their Kiwi cousin Finn, 12.  And what words can you can tack "As" onto? Everything, Finn said, it just has to be You can also say "Awesome As" which Cy was keen to throw about willy nilly, thinking it was "ArseAs."

The best Kiwi parties always end up in the garage. Here's a classic at my cousin Barry'n'Sue's in the spud (potato) growing town of Pukekohe.

Barry, Dad, John, Freddy, me and Mum. What are we laughing at?
And everyone stays the night...

Tallulah and her cousin Leah

(Big news here today. My sister Pietra just found out her latest documentary, Maori Boy Genius has been selected for competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February. "It's been a long, hard struggle and it's cost me everything, so it's great to find it all worth it" she says. )

Happy Holidays everyone!


  1. Happy holidays! And happy travelling! :D

  2. Merry Christmas!
    Love your mum's kitchen...does your entire family have good taste?

  3. Fun escapades as always! What a lovely time with family and friends.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday!


  4. What a great trip!! Looks like everyone is having an sweet as pie time! ;) Congrats to your sister's film. Everyone looks so fun and relaxed in how that girl opened up a coffee shop like that!

    Happy Holidays! Loved seeing your sweet comment on my personal blog....thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. Looks like you are having a great time! Merry Christmas!

  6. Love the new corrugated vibe going on there. And how ingenious is Roxy with her coffee shop?
    So much to amuse and inform in this post. Keep 'em coming!

  7. Oh I agree it looks like you all are having an awesome time!! Looks like so much fun and I really like that kitchen island!!

  8. Some of the best treks of my life were round the Coromandels.
    Say hi for me!

  9. I hope you had a lovely christmas! Congrats to your sister on her documentary being selected!!

  10. Oh---- it sounds like you are having a fantastic time! (Despite the momentary lapses as a mother and wife!)

    Loved getting to know a bit of your Kiwi life...

  11. Sounds like you're having a blast in Nu Zild and love the corrugated kitchen!

  12. you and your family need to be a reality show! Such fun and interesting and REAL adventures. And your perspective on everything is always so amusing.

  13. sounds like so much fun - have a fab time and happy 2012 to you x

  14. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, Jody. And congrats on your sister's documentary nomination. Fantastic news!
    PS: I have received a notification from the post office that the package has finally arrived. I'm picking it up today. :)

  15. i love that photo of you ironing! it's so natural and random, it's fun! ;)

    i hope you had a very merry christmas! :D

    <3, Mimi


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