Recent Reviews

Best of the best

I was honoured to be asked to write the reviews again this year for the Ora King Salmon Awards. The Ora’s were established in 2013 to recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ora King. This year the awards are celebrating their...... Read More

Country cabin conversion

Buddy Harwood and Stephanie Saxton are living proof that hard work and determination really does pay off. Nine months after buying a “completely unliveable” 1960s house, the young Athenree couple have turned it into a cosy Canadian-style...... Read More

DIY with the right tools

Sleeves up and gloves on was how Papamoa’s Cilla Walker dealt with a house the same as all the others around it. “They all had a very, very blue kitchen, the same layout and that fake-marble laminated benchtop look,” says Cilla. “I...... Read More

Retro reno

A walk through Jo Dempsey’s Mount Maunganui home is like stepping back into the 1950s – when Elvis was King, Aunt Daisy was on the radiogram, and milk was delivered to your front gate in glass bottles. While the structure of the house is...... Read More

Falling in love with a farmhouse

Top New Zealand author Susan Brocker’s Kauri farmhouse sits at the top of a rather narrow 200 metre driveway, with a very steep slope, on Keenan Rd, Pyes Pa. And no, it wasn’t built on-site. “It was built in the 1890s near Morrinsville,...... Read More

Our most loved ‘Bay of Plenty’ Showhome

G.J. Gardner Homes has nailed the ultimate showhome, with a house cleverly themed to the Bay of Plenty. As you walk through this showhome, you’ll be taking a stroll through our beautiful Bay region. Each room celebrates a different area of the...... Read More

Desperately Seeking Banksy

Dear Banksy, Once again I board a flight on the airline that shall remain nameless, and I arrive at my destination only 10 minutes late after having decanted 2 passengers and their luggage before departure. Why? Trying to get in the papers no doubt like...... Read More

The West Coast – 100 per cent pure bliss

At first glance, the supermarket aisles in Hokitika seem busier than in Auckland – but it’s just that West Coast people like to chat more and catch up, unlike Kiwis from the big smoke. Life on the West Coast seems wonderfully idyllic. There...... Read More

Beauty or Beastly? You Decide

Once upon a time in a land far, far away (okay, a town in the South Island to be precise). I took myself - yes, alone - to the cinema on a rainy Friday afternoon.  The movie of my choice was the live action remake of the Disney animated classic,...... Read More

Auckland comes of age

The setting sun casts a warm rosy tint over Rangitoto Island. The tall office towers sparkle and glisten. Workers pour into the Wynyard quarter for a pint, or two. The happy bustling atmosphere is infectious. This is Auckland, or Tamaki Makaurau, often...... Read More

ADELE: Worth the effort?

Before I get started, I’m sure many Aucklanders - and anyone travelling in and around Auckland during Adele’s concerts - will be glad it’s over. However, was Adele worth the effort for an out-of-towner, trying out the full Auckland experience? Was...... Read More

Stylish Monterey Sports Boats

The Monterey 224FSC has arrived. Similar in looks to the Blackfin with its award-winning design and its futuristic cock-pit, the obvious change here was the inboard versus outboard engine configuration and the spacious and luxurious cuddy cabin instead...... Read More

Ready to raise another generation

The only remotely nautical song by Steely Dan is the last track on the album Katy Lied; Throw Back The Little Ones. The Howes family departed Tauranga last month singing the praises of the Tauranga marine industry figures who assisted them in bringing...... Read More

Out-of-the-ordinary ice-creams

If you like ice-cream, hold on to your cone as you are going to fall in love with Duck Island ice-cream. With 17 flavours to select from, there will definitely be a favourite amongst them that will keep you going back! The most tempting for me are...... Read More

Walking the wildly beautiful Tora Coast

Three days with no meals to prepare, no television and no cellphones – how idyllic is that? Very idyllic in fact, even though a fair amount of energy is expended on the Tora Coastal Walk through rugged farmland and along the remote Wairarapa coastline. That...... Read More

Family boating ... in fine style

Monterey Boats are relatively new to New Zealand shores but have been making boats in Florida, USA, since 1985. In the early days they only had two 19-foot runabout models but in 1989 introduced their first family cruiser. By the mid-1990s Monterey...... Read More

The ultimate hunting jet barge

Here’s the ultimate shallow water, high speed machine for all you huntin’ and fishin’ fanatics out there. Nigel Hanmore of Whitianga built the beast, a six metre V6 jet-powered monster of a duck boat, to get him and his mates and all...... Read More

Family’s blacksmithing traditions endure

Anchors and cray pots hang from the ceiling; replica motorbike frames, and car and truck springs are on the floor below, in the half-a-century-old business of J F Breingan and Sons in Gisborne. Blacksmith Jack Breingan began the business. Later it was...... Read More

‘Moutohora Cat’ ideal vessel for island

Once almost devoid of vegetation and native wildlife, Moutohora Island, just offshore from Whakatane – a stunning example of successful pest eradication and re-planting – is well worth a visit. Due to the precious nature of this pest-free...... Read More

Resounding success by the lake

There’s a hidden treasure, deep in the rolling farmland near Matamata. A natural amphi-theatre nestled beside a willow-lined lake. Somewhere between the Kaimai Ranges and Middle Earth, a little concert venue that is resoundingly irresistible. And...... Read More