Doc­tor So­phie Lines plants a tree every time she vis­its her teepee near Matakana.

Homestyle New Zealand - - LAST WORD -

“Whangaripo Val­ley is great be­cause it’s close to so many lovely beaches — Pakiri, Omaha, Tawha­ranui…”

My hus­band Si­mon Owen and I had been liv­ing in Aus­tralia’s North­ern Ter­ri­tory for four years; I was a GP in a re­mote Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity and he was fly­ing he­li­copters in Kakadu Na­tional Park. In 2016, we moved back to New Zealand when Si­mon got a job work­ing for the Auck­land West­pac Res­cue He­li­copter Ser­vice.

One of the things we im­me­di­ately loved about Auck­land was its close prox­im­ity to some of the coun­try’s best na­tive bush and beaches. We quickly re­alised we were spend­ing all our spare time out of the city, so be­gan to search for a block of land where we could build a small house. Af­ter sev­eral week­ends spent look­ing, we com­pletely fell in love with this one. Our five-acre site is mostly covenanted re­gen­er­at­ing bush and is team­ing with birdlife.

Be­fore be­com­ing a he­li­copter pi­lot, Si­mon worked as a builder, so he made the plat­form for our teepee, which we bought for our wed­ding five years ago. We al­ways imag­ined we’d use it as a tem­po­rary dwelling one day, and it’s been great hav­ing a semi-per­ma­nent struc­ture to stay in with our son Hugo and fam­ily and friends while we pre­pare to build our new home.

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