DINA TETZNER,

KAIPARA

NEXT (New Zealand) - - Inspiration -

Six­teen years ago, I was liv­ing near Tel Aviv, Is­rael. I had a great life but I felt some­thing was miss­ing. I had a good job with a mar­ket­ing com­pany and won­der­ful friends. I was 32 at the time. Friends were go­ing off to Auck­land to live. I knew a bit about Aus­tralia but not much about New Zealand. I’d trav­elled a lot in my life – to Africa, Asia and Europe. I was happy but I just felt some­thing needed to change and I wasn’t sure what it was.

So I de­cided to pack up my life and fol­low my friends to visit this place called Auck­land. I ar­rived in the depths of win­ter in 2002 on a three-month visa. My Is­raeli friends were busy with their young chil­dren so I de­cided to head north to Cape Reinga to ex­plore the Far North.

MAG­I­CAL EN­COUNTER

One night, I was driv­ing and I got as far as Kaipara Har­bour when I had to stop as it was dark. I felt it was too late to be driv­ing on my own. I stopped in two towns but there wasn’t a sin­gle bed. So I pulled into Matakohe – a town of 400 peo­ple, which has the Kauri Mu­seum. I found a bed and break­fast with a room. It was pretty empty but the rooms were nice and clean. I went out­side for a cig­a­rette and the next thing these six-year-old twins came and started chat­ting to me. They told me it was their grand­par­ents’ hotel and they were there with their father. My English was rusty but their dad, Nick, came out. They asked me to sit with them for din­ner. Af­ter­wards, Nick and I sat around and had a few glasses of wine and we sat up into the night chat­ting.

It was a mag­i­cal cou­ple of days. Nick took me bush walk­ing the next day through the kauri for­est. He turned up with a pair of gum­boots for me. He told me about a rare kauri snail, and the next thing one walked be­tween us. A man I didn’t know took me into the bush and we walked for the whole day. It was just truly amaz­ing. We had a con­nec­tion.

I paid for an­other night at the B&B, and I dined with Nick and his fam­ily again. I was think­ing all the time, ‘I can­not be with the first man I meet in the first spot.’ I had been promis­ing my­self I’d have time to my­self.

I packed up the next day to go north. I thought I’d be away for a fort­night but I couldn’t stay away. I was back in Matakohe four days later. That night, when the kids were in bed, Nick turned to me in front of the fire and asked me to marry him. I said, ‘Okay.’ I just knew it was right.

Four months later, we got mar­ried in the bush, with just a few friends and fam­ily there. The twins are now 22. I love it here; I love the ru­ral life­style and the peo­ple. What I had was truly love at first sight, but also it was be­ing in the right place at the right time. I had a gut feel­ing about need­ing to find what I was miss­ing. I be­lieve if you keep an open mind, you’ll find amaz­ing things.

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