Recent Reviews

Same but different

When you fly in to Los Angeles you kind of hope that’s smoke from forest fires you can see. But it’s not. It’s smog. You can see the air here. And you can taste it. It’s not pleasant. In some months, you can feel it too –...... Read More

A new range of wines - with a twist!

I had been looking forward to our lunch date with Dan Shea from Mills Reef for a while, having heard a lot of talk about the new ‘Bespoke’ range of wines. I am pleased to say, it was totally worth the wait! As always, perfect location,...... Read More

Spreading your wings

In life you are either a passenger or a pilot. Which one will it be? If you’re leaning towards having more control, then take the plunge and really learn to soar with Solo Wings Aviation Centre in Tauranga. There’s a knot of nerves settling...... Read More

Design fundamentals

Architectural designer Jon McAlpine heads Thorne Group Architecture and was the recipient of five awards at the regional Architectural Designers New Zealand awards recently. The homes entered demonstrated a phenomenal diversity, showcasing what he...... Read More

Bernie Allen

I nearly got Bernie Allen arrested. During May 2017 we’d completely filled the Cargo Shed in Dive Crescent, Tauranga with thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture ready to send through to the Edgecumbe flood victims. Bernie was there every...... Read More

The art of Thai Touch

It’s hard to feel at your best if there’s a knot forming in your back, or your shoulders are tensing up. Yet becoming your best self is easily within reach when you can relax both your mind and body.  Allowing yourself to fully relax...... Read More

Turkish Delight

Cumhur (Jimmy) Akbaba’s shisha pipes decorate the counter above his desk. A Turkish water pipe, also called nargile in Turkey, the pipes allow people to smoke flavoured tobacco as it bubbles through water. Watermelon, grape, blueberry and liquorice...... Read More

Homage to the Ora King salmon

It is always a pleasure to catch up with Sam and Severine Goslin in Whitianga at their fine restaurant, Poivre & Sel, to try this year’s Ora King Awards entry dish, having really enjoyed their entries over the previous years. This year’s...... Read More

A hive of social activity once more

Just as it does today, from the 1880s to 1906 Athenree Homestead stood grandly next to Athenree Rd, with an elevated and enchanting view of northern Tauranga Harbour. Pioneer Irish settlers Adela and Hugh Stewart came to the site in 1878 and quickly...... Read More

Best of the best

I was honoured to be asked to write the reviews again this year for the Ora King Salmon Awards. The Ora’s were established in 2013 to recognise outstanding contributions from chefs working with Ora King. This year the awards are celebrating their...... Read More

Country cabin conversion

Buddy Harwood and Stephanie Saxton are living proof that hard work and determination really does pay off. Nine months after buying a “completely unliveable” 1960s house, the young Athenree couple have turned it into a cosy Canadian-style...... Read More

DIY with the right tools

Sleeves up and gloves on was how Papamoa’s Cilla Walker dealt with a house the same as all the others around it. “They all had a very, very blue kitchen, the same layout and that fake-marble laminated benchtop look,” says Cilla. “I...... Read More

Retro reno

A walk through Jo Dempsey’s Mount Maunganui home is like stepping back into the 1950s – when Elvis was King, Aunt Daisy was on the radiogram, and milk was delivered to your front gate in glass bottles. While the structure of the house is...... Read More

Falling in love with a farmhouse

Top New Zealand author Susan Brocker’s Kauri farmhouse sits at the top of a rather narrow 200 metre driveway, with a very steep slope, on Keenan Rd, Pyes Pa. And no, it wasn’t built on-site. “It was built in the 1890s near Morrinsville,...... Read More

Our most loved ‘Bay of Plenty’ Showhome

G.J. Gardner Homes has nailed the ultimate showhome, with a house cleverly themed to the Bay of Plenty. As you walk through this showhome, you’ll be taking a stroll through our beautiful Bay region. Each room celebrates a different area of the...... Read More

Desperately Seeking Banksy

Dear Banksy, Once again I board a flight on the airline that shall remain nameless, and I arrive at my destination only 10 minutes late after having decanted 2 passengers and their luggage before departure. Why? Trying to get in the papers no doubt like...... Read More

The West Coast – 100 per cent pure bliss

At first glance, the supermarket aisles in Hokitika seem busier than in Auckland – but it’s just that West Coast people like to chat more and catch up, unlike Kiwis from the big smoke. Life on the West Coast seems wonderfully idyllic. There...... Read More

Beauty or Beastly? You Decide

Once upon a time in a land far, far away (okay, a town in the South Island to be precise). I took myself - yes, alone - to the cinema on a rainy Friday afternoon.  The movie of my choice was the live action remake of the Disney animated classic,...... Read More

Auckland comes of age

The setting sun casts a warm rosy tint over Rangitoto Island. The tall office towers sparkle and glisten. Workers pour into the Wynyard quarter for a pint, or two. The happy bustling atmosphere is infectious. This is Auckland, or Tamaki Makaurau, often...... Read More

ADELE: Worth the effort?

Before I get started, I’m sure many Aucklanders - and anyone travelling in and around Auckland during Adele’s concerts - will be glad it’s over. However, was Adele worth the effort for an out-of-towner, trying out the full Auckland experience? Was...... Read More