Scout February 2021

Right now New Zealand’s most spirited writers – and travellers – are scouring the hills, valleys and high streets to revisit old favourites, unearth secret treasures and explore hidden depths. Whether it’s a jaw-dropping vista, a 24-hour guide, a hometown happy place, some foodie fun, a helpful hack or a secret tip, it’s coming alive on the pages of Scout. No matter if you're parked in your armchair, navigating the web or packing your bags, Scout will take you there.

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12 Números

en este número

2 min.
why it pays to go the distance.

One of the great things about living in a long, thin country with not too many people in it is that if you live long enough, you seem to know most of them. For me, this issue is a perfect example, as I’ve populated its pages with faces long familiar to me. I first met Kerre McIvor in a Palmerston North police station in the early 1980s – and, no, we hadn’t been arrested for disorderly behaviour, thank you for asking. We were both junior reporters for different radio stations, and our paths have crossed many times in many mediums since then. I’m delighted she’s found her happy place in the Hokianga – and that we found our stunning cover star, Ngahue, there. More about him in Kerre’s ode to “home”. I’m…

10 min.
to be sure, to be sure

It’s “doubtless a bay”, Captain Cook jotted in his journal before sailing the Endeavour past the entrance to this vast, stunning sweep of the Far North’s east coast in 1769. Perhaps his tricorn hat was on too tight, keeping him from (a) exploring further or (b) coming up with a better name. It was December, for heaven’s sake – the pōhutukawa that fringe the bays would’ve been in flower, the sand on the beaches golden, the sky blue, the water beckoning. Legend has it that Kupe certainly spotted the potential when he first brought his waka in to land hundreds of years earlier, having eyed up the rich fields along the Taipa River, the new bridge across which pays homage to that canoe. So densely did this area become populated that…

1 min.
the big scoop

Strolling along Wellington’s Oriental Bay one recent sunny day, I came upon a sight that filled me with equal parts joy and sorrow. A toddler was sitting, forehead resting on a little table, wailing as if their heart would break (and some windows as well). In their hand, an empty cone; on the ground, two scoops of ice cream being polished off by a dog. You don’t need to be Hercule Poirot to figure out that crime, and it made me laugh and also wonder who among us has escaped the trauma of losing a cherished summer dairy treat to the drooly tongue of a family pet or greedy sibling. Scout photographer Reuben Looi snapped this beauty way up north at Houhora Honey Bees’ container café. As far as we…

6 min.
my happy place

For years, my friend Wendyl Nissen kept telling me I needed to spend a weekend at her place in the Hokianga. It was a different way of life, she said, a beautiful part of the country with beautiful people, a place where you could relax and fill your lungs with clean, fresh air. For years, I resisted. “Yeah, nah,” I’d say. “I have a limited amount of time left on the planet and I don’t really want to spend eight hours of it stuck in a car travelling up and down the country in a long line of traffic.” I’m lucky that Wendyl persisted. A lesser friend would have given up on me. When I finally caved in and drove up for a long weekend, it was love at first sight. I…

7 min.
‘he waka eke noa’

Waitangi is considered, hopefully by us all, as the pito (birthplace) of the nation. It’s a sacred place, in my mind, where we Māori gathered together with the British Empire’s representatives to find a peaceful way to co-exist, and so was birthed Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Although only a three-hour drive from our house in Auckland’s Ponsonby, it’s not a place I get to often – not often enough, as it turns out. Round a final corner and Paihia rushes up at you, and spread before you is the moana, heaving with watercraft of every size and shape, including the sweet old white ferry, numerous fishing-charter vessels, and super yachts. I had dragged along my BFF hubby, a busy doctor who gratefully tucked away his stethoscope for a few days and followed…

2 min.
hotel of the month the landing

The Landing is the love child of Peter Cooper, a Kaitaia boy made good who now counts among his many homes a 405ha farm on the Purerua Peninsula in the Bay of Islands, with a million new native trees he and his team have planted, a landscaped and extended wetland, a bird sanctuary, private beaches, and four superb homes designed by lauded architect Pip Cheshire. Arriving by boat from Russell, our skipper, Dane Hawker, took us the long way round to give us a view of the black cliffs and a startling example of a pā site complete with defensive trenches you can still see from the water, set to his stories of working in the region. We were met at the wharf by guest service manager Laura Moreno, whose former…