Bay of Plenty Times - - Travel -

What was your great­est hol­i­day? I was 10 years old and I can still re­mem­ber vividly the build­ing ex­cite­ment as we trav­elled up coun­try to my grand­mother’s sur­prise 70th birth­day in Tokaanu in the Cen­tral North Is­land. We sailed across heavy seas on the Cook Strait ferry, fol­lowed by bliz­zard con­di­tions on the Desert Rd, to be met by hun­dreds of my close-knit fam­ily gath­ered to sur­prise Nana at the old Tokaanu Ho­tel. The look on her face was ab­so­lutely price­less and I will never for­get the big hug she gave me fol­lowed by the week-long cel­e­bra­tion in our home vil­lage.

And the worst? It wasn’t the worst lo­ca­tion but the restau­rant was a shocker and is what we talk about still when we go there. My wife, Annabel, and I or­dered fish of the day in the Bay of Is­lands (can’t re­mem­ber the name of the place, luck­ily!) and we re­ceived a taste­less, hard­ened rub­ber mass sur­rounded by an ar­ray of off-colour, stale vegeta­bles. There was a lot of shout­ing, some tense pauses in heated con­ver­sa­tion and we got out of there fast and never looked back.

If we bump into you on hol­i­day, what are you most likely to be do­ing? Eat­ing at the right restau­rant for a start or pick­ing fresh pro­duce for the wha¯ nau from a lo­cal mar­ket gar­den, def­i­nitely laugh­ing a lot, and ex­plor­ing in ru­ral lo­ca­tions — prefer­ably on the back of a scooter with my two beau­ti­ful daugh­ters and wife. We re­cently spent four weeks ex­plor­ing south­ern Tai­wan on scoot­ers, it was ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing the very friendly peo­ple of Tai­wan in their home vil­lages and learn­ing their beau­ti­ful tra­di­tions. We also spent time vis­it­ing the tem­ples in Ky­oto, Ja­pan — the rock gar­dens, shrines and tea gar­dens were just sub­lime.

If we could tele­port you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long hol­i­day, where would it be? Spir­its Bay, up north. The new camp­ground is re­ally well looked af­ter by the lo­cal iwi, with great fa­cil­i­ties for free­dom campers. The sand on the beach is so soft, the shells that line the beach are a flaky pink hue. How about for a dream hol­i­day in­ter­na­tion­ally?

I’m a bit of a ro­man­tic and spirit quest type of guy and I’d love to ex­plore the Aztec Ru­ins, the Stone Cir­cles in the High­lands of Scot­land, the tem­ples of Egypt and the Bud­dhist monas­ter­ies of Ti­bet.

Chore­og­ra­pher Moss Pat­ter­son.

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