- Michael McHugh Editor-in-Chief michael@mindfood.com Instagram@michael.mchugh.art

There is something quite uplifting about flying across New Zealand as the landscape changes below. I recently flew from Sydney to Christchur­ch and as the pilot announced we would be landing in 15 minutes, I watched below as the coastline of the West Coast appeared with the Southern Alps in the distance, covered with a smattering of snow. It was majestic seeing it all come into focus. Then an hour or so later, I flew on to Queenstown, over flat paddocks and crops in a colour range of greens slowly building from rolling hills to the mountainou­s alpine region. It’s hard not to be seduced by the landscape around Queenstown.

At this time of the year some mountains are completely bare; others covered in tussock; and some even have their own lakes perched sky-high and sandwiched between these enormous mountains. It all reminded me of the artist Neil Frazer and his stunning mountain paintings, as well as Euan Macleod’s work of giants stepping through the mountainou­s landscape.

On land, my drive was all about the changing autumnal colours of golds and reds with leaves catching the wind, swirling and drifting away for another season.

But this was not just any season. I had been away from my friends and family living here for so long, I couldn’t wait to return and just stroll among the landscape, re-connecting with the land around me, breathing in that fresh air and the highlight – seeing my loved ones.

Time apart has been difficult this time round. Not just missing key dates of birthdays, Christmas, holidays and so much more – I missed the connection with those who know me best, and so I felt so happy to be reunited with those I love. These last few years have taught me to not take anything for granted, and perhaps to even live a simpler, more uncomplica­ted life.

In this special New Zealand Edition, we not only show you all the best places to stay and things to see and do in New Zealand Aotearoa, we also celebrate those endeavouri­ng to make the earth we live in a ‘greener’ place. Like the researcher­s led by Dr Yvonne Anderson, a senior lecturer at the Department of Paediatric­s, University of Auckland, who has successful­ly researched a method for disinfecti­ng PPE so it could be reused or safely recycled.

Or the team behind food technology company LILO Desserts, who saw an opportunit­y in fruit that was wasted for being too small, misshapen or under-ripe and embarked on a mission to “get fruit tasted not wasted”. The upcycle solution is to now turn fruit into snacks and desserts.

Then there are those turning old road cones into safety matting. And those using discarded grape seeds to help create a skincare product said to have significan­t antioxidan­t and anti-ageing benefits.

Seeing an opportunit­y, or perhaps looking at a situation and working towards a different point of view, is where Kiwis excel themselves and have done for so long across many varied industries. This innovation and curiosity in working towards a solution is perhaps what they are best known for as a nation.

It’s that deep-seated energy that makes people want to create something better and achieve success – no matter what circumstan­ces are against them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I believe this innovation and attitude perhaps comes from their environmen­t – this unique landscape that they have been born into and grow and thrive in.

We must always respect it and, if you get the opportunit­y, return to it ... to rejoice in all things New Zealand.


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