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ISSUE 1

New Zealand

Living

Birdsong Gardens in the Pohangina Valley Step back in time at Duart House Undiscovered manawatu Pohangina Valley Cape Palliser Pukerua Bay Hawkes Bay Tokomaru Feilding

New Zealand Living 1


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contents

features 4

Friendly Feilding & Focal Point

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Birdwoods Gallery

The friendly town of Feilding has previously been voted Most Beautiful Town 14 times. But it’s their small boutique cinema that now has everybody talking.

After being evicted from their farm and succesful business in Zimbabwe, Louise Stombart and her family found a new output for her designs in the form of Birdwoods Gallery in the Hawkes Bay town of Havelock North.

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Songbird Gardens/Pohangina Valley

Undiscovered Manawatu

Proving there is no better medicine than the great outdoors and the New Zealand countryside, Manawatu couple Kerry and Raewyn Hilliard show off their beautiful home, the stunning Songbird Gardens and cottage that saved Raewyn’s life.

Proving there is no better medicine than the great outdoors and the New Zealand countryside, Manawatu couple Kerry and Raewyn Hilliard show off their beautiful home, the stunning Songbird Gardens and cottage that saved Raewyn’s life.

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The Southern Wairarapa

Local Artist - David Abbotts

Wild, windswept and untamed. We take a trip to the southern Wairarapa Coast to see why this remote area of the North Island is gaining international acclaim as one of the must see places in the world.

By day David Abbotts helps run a successful wallpaper design business, but in his spare time he’s lending his artistic eye to a more environmentally friendly cause - namely the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife.

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Duart House

In the heart of the Hawkes Bay Town of Havelock North lies the beautiful historic building, Duart House. Built in the 1880’s, it now acts as both a stunning place to visit and a reminder of times past.

Craggy Range Winery

The stunning Hawkes Bay landscape plays host to many wineries, but the rustic charm of Craggy Range wins out with their world class wine and environmentally friendly approach to wine making. We take a tour to experience it for ourselves.


October / November 2012

Hello readers! My name is Catherine Holmes and I am the writer and photographer of this little magazine. It seemed fitting to include a bit of information about me and what I set out to do with this project. I am a 29 year old English photographer. I moved to New Zealand eight years ago to be with my partner and haven’t really looked back since. New Zealand is a place that has become very close to my heart extremely quickly. The beauty of the landscape and generosity of the people is like nowhere on earth and as a photographer, it has been endlessly inspiring. With this project I set out to photograph people and places of interest across the country, with a particular interest in people who have a real connection to the place they live. There is a real love for the country, its history and its smalller towns and villages that I wanted to capture. In addition to this I sought to record the changes in the landscape as you travel across it. The variety of colours from place to place could have me photographing forever. The people I have approached to help me with this project have been, without exception, incredibly supportive and helpful which has been inspiring in itself. I would like to express a huge thanks to Julie Bell from Focal Point Cinema, Kerry & Raewyn Hillard from Songbird Gardens in Pohangina, Louise Stobart from Birdwoods Gallery in Havelock North, The staff at Craggy Range Winery in Hawkes Bay, David Abbotts from Pukerua Bay, Rose Chapman at Duart House in Havelock North and Steve Tolley and family from The Bent Horseshoe Cafe in Tokomaru for their help and allowing me into their lives for a short time. It really has been a pleasure.

COVER PHOTOGRAPH CATHERINE HOLMES BIRDSONG IN THE POHANGINA VALLEY SEE PAGE 10

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inspiring stories / feilding

PUTTING FRIENDLY FEILDING ON THE MAP The friendly town of Feilding has previously been voted new zealand’s Most Beautiful Town 14 times. But it is their small boutique cinema that now has everybody talking. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE HOLMES


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Feilding has embraced its reputation as a small shopping centre for those with an eye for the vintage style.


With the rise of multiplexes over recent years, there has been a corresponding rise in demand for boutique cinemas. These theatres target a very different audience and place emphasis on screening films that are more arthouse in nature. The target market for these films is a relatively small niche, so these theatres are not often found outside of larger cities with a wide variety of people on your doorstep. Focal Point Cinema, in the heart of rural Manawatu, is bucking this trend and proving that there is a demand for these businesses in smaller towns. Julie Bell and her husband Matt decided to open the Focal Point theatre back in 2007. In the years since, they have remained hands-on company owners and worked hard to make their business thrive. This has paid off with with a string of awards to their name and a loyal customer base. When recently accepting their Feilding Excellence in Business Award, the couple credited the increasing success of the theatre to the Feilding community and its embracing of the theatre.

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Upon entering the theatre it becomes readily apparent that this is far from the popcorn-spilling mulitplex experience that most of us are used to. The emphasis here is on comfort and style with seats that are large and luxurious and come with wide arm rests for resting your food on during the film. The building has a cosy, welcoming feel to it without scrimping on the style. The dĂŠcor is tastefully finished with rich brown and red walls and gold light fittings. This extends to the exterior of the building which catches the eye with its black and white 1920s art dĂŠcor frontage. It is a look and feel that, while distinctive, blends well with the surrounding businesses. Over recent years, Feilding has embraced its reputation as a small shopping centre for those with an eye for the vintage style. The town aims for a relaxed and warm community feel that Focal Point complements perfectly. The unique quality to the different town stores and the welcome lack of traffic lights and parking meters give the place a nostalgic vibe which really suits the carefully-considered styling of the theatre and its cafe and bar.


Playing up to 50 screenings a week of varying genres from mainstream to arthouse and international films, the theatre caters for a variety of tastes but places emphasis on comfort and atmosphere. In addition to its theatre, Focal Point also houses a cafe and fully licensed bar all under the same roof. This quirky combination has proven extremely popular, capturing the heart of the local community. The Horowhenua District Council were impressed by the effect Focal Point was having on the local community and this has now lead to Julie and Matt opening another Focal Point movie theatre and cafe in Levin. In addition to this, in 2010 Focal Point CInema won the Tall Giraffe Award to recognise businesses that have demonstrated exceptional performance and have aided in putting Feilding on the map. Their dedication serves as an inspiring story for anybody contemplating starting their own business and proves that there is still value in taking pride in your town and working to help local communities grow and prosper. New Zealand Living 11


characters/ songbird gardens

Birdsong in the pohangina valley

Proving there is no better medicine than the great outdoors and the New Zealand countryside, Manawatu couple Kerry and Raewyn Hilliard show off their beautiful home and the stunning Songbird Gardens and cottage that saved Raewyn’s life.


characters / songbird gardens

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as you make your way down the winding driveway, you find yourself in perhaps the most picturesque, serene location you can imagine. The drive up to Songbird Gardens can be something of a hair-raising one. After driving through the rural Manawatu town of Ashhurst, you find yourself out on the open road heading towards the beautiful Pohangina Valley. It is here that you take a right turn and begin the twisty, turny but nevertheless than stunning journey up into the hills. Tight corners and gravel tracks reveal small farming houses and if you are lucky you are treated to a herd of cows covering the road. It is all part of the adventure. Once you reach the end of the road though, there is a final turn and you are suddenly in a driveway surrounded by daffodils. The wind drops and as you make your way down the winding driveway, you find yourself in perhaps the most picturesque serene location you can imagine. You have arrived at Songbird Gardens. Home of Kerry and Raewyn Hilliard. The couple have worked hard to build their dream home here and now operate it as a tourist spot. In the grounds of the house lies the small cottage they first lived in whilst building their home. The small rustic building with its ceiling covered with dried flowers and open fireplace now operates as an accommodation option for visitors. The extensive gardens are maintained year round and are always open to visitors by appointment. New Zealand Living 15


Raewyn credits the house and gardens with keeping her alive and she is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Warm and cosy whilst also spacious and bright, Kerry and Raewyn’s house has been built exactly to their specifications. Raewyn’s main request was to have plentiful light inside, a requirement that is clearly evident throughout, most notably with the the large circular window in the living room. Other features around the interior include a sunny window seat piled high with cushions, a large open fireplace and a wall of books complete with ladder. The result is an eclectic mix of elements that come together to form a home that accurately represents its owners. The place has special significance to Raewyn. When she fell seriously ill and was given just months to live, Kerry asked her what she most wanted to do. She stated that instead of travelling, she wanted to get the farmhouse finished and the gardens up and running. So began the genesis of Songbird Gardens. Over 10 years later, they are still here. Raewyn credits the house and gardens with keeping her alive and she is showing no signs of slowing down.


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The beautifully decorated bathroom was built onto the original cottage New Zealand Living 21


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characters / songbird gardens The gardens cover three hectares and keep the couple extremely busy all year round. At the time of visiting, an elaborate greenhouse was being constructed. Taking a stroll with Raewyn through the gardens, she is happy to share her plans for the place with new plants going in, pathways being created and park benches built. The gardens are constantly evolving and teeming with birdlife. Kerry talks of sitting on the front deck and witnessing a hawk swoop down and feed off the waxeyes at their bird table, while Raewyn fondly remembers befriending a black rabbit that would visit them regularly. Every corner of the place has a story to be told and Raewyn’s fondness for whimsy is reflected in the Fairy Garden – a pathway through the trees where fairies are hidden. A treat for any children visiting the garden. It is a special little corner of the world and between them, Kerry and Raewyn have created a real escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Staying at Songbird Gardens The cottage at Songbird Gardens is available at $100 per night. This includes everything you might need aside from food. A washing machine, drier and shower are all provided along with a microwave, fridge/freezer and hair dryer for your use. In addition to the cottage, there is also a small cabin available for $45 per night. It is a double room, but additional beds can be provided for $10 per extra bed. The gardens are open daily from 10am to 5pm all year round by appointment. Garden tours cost $4.00 per adult, children are welcome to explore for free. For an extra $5 per person, a devonshire tea can be arranged out on the sunny verandah overlooking the gardens. For more information, visit Songbird online at www.songbirdgardens.co.nz or call Raewyn on (06) 329-4704

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Wild, windswept and untamed. welcome to the southern wairarapa WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE HOLMES


destination / southern wairarapa

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Some find it cold and uninviting whilst others rejoice in the constantly changing light and stark beauty


destination / southern wairarapa The Southern Wairarapa Coastline has always been a treat for those who have wanted a bit of an adventure. Only an hour or so drive from Wellington and you could be a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The latest Lonely Planet Guide has published its 1000 ultimate sights and the iconic Cape Palliser lighthouse on the South Coast is one of 15 New Zealand sights that has made the top 100. We took a trip down through the southern Wairarapa to experience this wild and beautiful part of the world for ourselves. Driving south of Martinborough, there is a feeling of the landscape opening up before you. Gradually the buildings drop away and you are left with vast open farmland. The woolly sheep in the fields seemingly indifferent to the strong winds and threatening clouds that are building overhead. This landscape divides people. Some find it cold and uninviting whilst others rejoice in the constantly changing light and the stark beauty of the place. Our first destination is the township of Lake Ferry, but on the road down there we pass a beautiful old wooden church that is a required stop. Burnside Church was built in 1875 and sits out in this remote location because it was initially intended for the workers of a single farm out in the country. Flanked by daffodils, and its red paint vibrant against the dark sky, it provides a stunning spot for a photographs. After a wander round the church we make the drive down to Lake Ferry. This is the point where Lake Onoke meets the south coast. It is wild, windy and fully exposed to the elements. There is no shortage of people out and about enjoying it though. We pass several families fishing, covered under rugs on deck chairs with flasks of steaming coffee. One family even has a fire going and later as we pass by the smell of cooked fish is in the air. As we cross the beach, we see a lone couple enjoying the pathways along the cliffs, pausing to take pictures of the rich red and brown colours in them. The large bank of rocks and stones creates a horizon line before the ocean is reached. Across it we see motorbikes and quadbikes sillhouetted aginst the sky as they pass. On crossing the bank, we are treated to the bright blue colours of the seawater crashing into the south coast.

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destination / southern wairarapa

Lake Ferry is well worth stopping at and even has some historic significance. Archeological research has indicated that people may have been living here as far back as the 12th century. The historic Lake Ferry Hotel was built by the ferryman working on lake Onoke back in 1851. It is still running and can be visited today. After taking in the quaint charm of the settlement around Lake Ferry - in particular the Fire Station which appeared to be a red garage - we moved onwards towards the fishing village of Ngawi. Passing on the way, the menacing Putangirua Pinnacles which Lord of The Rings fans may know better as the “Paths of The Dead� from Return of The King. The first sign that you have reached Ngawi is the beach outlined with tractors and trailers. The village here relies hugely on fishing and the exposed nature of the coastline and unrelenting surf make getting the boats in and out of the water something of a mission. The boats float when they are in the deeper water but getting them there requires the trailers to smash straight into the surf. It is a nailbiting display and one you will have to get up early to witness as the boats go out each day at 6am and return at noon. The trailers all have all been painted different and given their own personalities. One in particular, named Tinky Winky has proved a particular favourite with tourists.

Where to stay: Lake Ferry Hotel - Lake Ferry Situated on the shores of Lake Onoke, Lake Ferry Hotel is the oldest and southernmost hotel in the North Island. Steeped in history, fabulous views and offers both affordable accomodation starting at $75 a night and a popular restaurant.

Washpool - Featherston, Located on the coast, next to the Makotukutuku (Washpool) river bed, this four bedroom house is available to to rent from $150 a night for 2 people. The place is well positioned for visits to the Putangirua Pinnacles, Cape Palliser Lighthouse, Ngawi fishing village, the golf course and also the seal colony.

Whangaimoana - Palliser Bay Higher end accommodation with rooms starting at $160 per night. Historic native timber home built in 1876, situated near the Palliser Bay coastline. Five minutes from Lake Ferry or 30 minutes from Martinborough. Full cooked breakfast included in price.

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Continuing along the increasingly alarming gravel road, we eventually reach Cape Paliser. The clouds clear and suddenly the coast is bathed in sunshine. It is a stark contrast to the menacing clouds we had left behind a Lake Ferry and really goes to show how quickly the light and conditions can change. Watching over us, we take a moment to admire the Cape Palliser lighthouse, standing proudly on the top of the cliffs. It is red and white stripes making it clearly visible out to sea. The lighthouse was built in the late 1800s and up until 1986 it was manned by a keeper before it became automated. In 1912 the 258 steps were built to give the keepers better access. Before this they were required to climb the incredibly steep cliffs, often in bad weather. Today the climb is a little safer but still quite worrying for those with a fear of heights. Those brave enough to climb are rewarded with fabulous views back along the coast.


destination / southern wairarapa

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From the early evening sky to the sea crashing onto the rocks on Ngawi beach. The abundance of colour from the wild Southern Wairarapa coastline has to be seen to be believed.

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We begin the drive back towards Ngawi and this time make a stop at the Seal Colony. We actually missed a lot of the seals on the drive up because they camouflage themselves so well amongst the rocks. Despite this, they appear to have little fear of humans and rest just feet from the road. This is the largest seal colony in the North Island and a fantastic chance to see them in their natural habitat. It is recommended not to get too close to them and definitely avoid getting between a seal and the sea. They can be dangerous and they do bite! Seeing them playing in the surf or resting amongst the rocks though is just a wonderful experience. As we walk, the clouds behin to build again and the increasingly darkening sky signals the end of the day. The blue and purple clouds compliment the colour of the crashing waves and suddenly it is as if we are in a painting. There really is nowhere like this in the country. The exposed elements and natural light show combine to create something really quite special and it is little wonder that travellers and tourists are taking an interest. New Zealanders have this stunning playground on their doorsteps. It is really about time we all spent more time playing in it!


destination / southern wairarapa

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step back in time In the heart of the Hawkes Bay Town of Havelock North lies the beautiful historic building, Duart House. Built in the 1880s, it now acts as both a stunning place to visit and a reminder of times past. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE HOLMES


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New Zealand is not a country that is known for hanging on to its historical buildings. A relatively new country with a constantly changing landscape and evolving architecture, there is little room for remembering the past. Duart House is one exception. Originally built in 1883, it is one of the few historic buildings in the country that has retained its beauty and, despite a few alterations, is relatively true to the original design. Built in Havelock North for a Scotsman named Alan McLean, Duart House was named after a castle McLean owned back in Scotland. Situated on a hill, the building initially looked out over the surrounding landscape, its tower being visible from all directions. McLean did not believe in maintaining and cultivating the gardens and so let the three acres of land surrounding the house grow wild where his cows and horses were allowed to roam. Following his death, his wife Hannah McLean planted flowers and started creating the large, beautiful garden we see today.


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Left: Springtime brings the cherry blossoms surrounding the beautifully maintained gardens of Duart House. Above: Pip the dog relaxes in front of a beautiful old piano on the first floor of the house. New Zealand Living 43


Currently owned by the Havelock North Borough Council, the upper floor of the house now serves as a museum of sorts, housing beautiful pre 1920s furniture and many interesting bits and pieces from the past. The ground floor is available for weddings, receptions and exhibitions with large fireplaces and beautiful windows looking out over the now carefully maintained gardens. The house is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month but can be viewed by request by just giving them a call. It is worth exploring the house, particularly the upstairs rooms that contain a wide variety of interesting items, all with their own stories to tell. The lower floor is relatively unfurnished but still worth a wander around, particularly the beautiful central staircase. At the time of our visit, the cherry blossoms on the trees surrounding the house made a walk around the gardens a must. The gardens are open to the public at all times and offer a quiet and secluded place to go for those wishing for an escape from everyday life. For arranging a booking or tour, call (06) 877 6334 to get through to the house or contact the caretaker, Rose on 021 022 27296. More information on Duart House, can be obtained from their website at www. duarthouse.org.nz


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Where everything has a story

After being evicted from their farm and succesful business in Zimbabwe, Louise Stombart and her family found a new output for her designs in the form of Birdwoods Gallery in the Hawkes Bay town of Havelock North. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE HOLMES


characters / birdwoods gallery

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Far left: sculptures and antlers mark an entrance way to the Birdwoods Kitchens. Right: The newly built gallery area complete with tasteful monochrome furniture for enjoying a coffee or tea. Bottom right: sculptures found in the gardens and gallery.

On entering Birdwoods Gallery for the first time, it is immediately obvious that this is no ordinary gallery. It feels more like a home filled with beautiful and fascinating objects. They describe their store and gallery as a place where “everything has a story”. You will not find mass produced or replicated products here. Everything is original and largely hand-crafted. Birdwoods Gallery started out its life as a Metal Sculture business created by Louise in 1991 back in Zimbabwe. She would use recycled materials to create her own designs and ran this as a business alongside the farm she ran with her husband, Bruce. The metal sculpture business proved to be successful and lead to the employment of many local families. Unfortunately, in 2003, Louise, Bruce and their family were forcibly evicted from their farm which came as a huge blow. Deciding to relocate to New Zealand in 2004, the family found themselves in the sunny village of Havelock North. So began the creation of the Birdwoods Gallery we see today. The family farm unfortunately had to be abandoned but Louise’s designs are still being created in Zimbabwe today by their exployees after they also relocated within South Africa. Over time, she has gained an international reputation with her designs on display at the renowned Chelsea Flower Show in London and Keukenhof Tulip Gardens in Amsterdam.


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The family’s beginnings in South African have taught them to adopt a “waste not want not” approach which has been thoroughly embraced through their art and the gallery places real value on products that make use of old items, thus giving them their own charm and character. A quick wander around the main store displays everything from paintings to wooden bird houses small wire sculptures.

Above: Louise sits with her dogs at Birdwoods entrance. Archie, the dog on her lap, can often be seen snoozing on the doorstep. Top right: Beautiful bird sculptures on display in a fireplace in the main gallery. Bottom right: the light and airy space of the main gallery shop which also plays host to a small cafe where coffees and a variety of cakes are on offer to be consumed in the beautiful setting of the adjoining conservatory.

The art on display and on sale comes from both South African artist and local New Zealand artists. The general rule being that Louise has met or knows who created everything. She is genuinely enthusiastic and excited about the work on display and will happily discuss the origins of anything that takes your fancy. In addition to the main gallery, Birdwoods offers beautiful gardens with sculptures on display that can be wandered around at your leisure. Witness metal giraffes and crocodiles as well as the stone sculpture garden containing stone sculptures created by Zimbabwe artists. Birdwoods is also home to a traditional sweet shop. Opened in 2006, the shop positioned next door to the main gallery offers an array of all the traditional sweets you could want. The sweet shop building was once a colonial cottage. As with everything at Birdwoods, it was rebuilt using recycled materials. It displays bunting and tables with umbrellas outside for a real nostalgic feel.


LOUISE IS GENUINELY ENTHUSIASTIC AND EXCITED ABOUT THE WORK AND WILL HAPPILY DISCUSS THE ORIGINS OF ANYTHING THAT TAKES YOUR FANCY.

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The SWEET SHOP building was ONCE A colonial cottage. aS WITH everything at birdwoods, IT was REBUILT using recycled materials


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undiscovered manawatu / horseshoe bend

LUCKY FOR SOME WHEN IT COMES TO LITTLE KNOWN AREAS OF THE MANAWATU, THERE ARE FEW MORE BEAUTIFUL SURPRISES THAN HORSESHOE BEND RESERVE AND IT’S VERY OWN BENT HORSESHOE CAFE.

WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE HOLMES


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Talk to any Palmerston North locals about picnic spots and swimming holes and you would quickly find the words Horseshoe Bend crop up. Nestled in the hills below the Ruahine Ranges lies one of the Manawatu’s best-kept secrets. Situated in Tokomaru, about a 20 minute drive outside of Palmerston North, Horseshoe Bend is a quiet, idyllic little spot surrounded by established trees providing a shady place for a picnic on a summer’s day. The area is full of walks and swimming holes and with its relatively untouched nature, lends itself to being one of the region’s most popular picnic spots with an abundance of birdlife to entertain. A wander through the reserve on a Sunday afternoon can present you with tuis, fantails and pukekos. Taking full advantage of this beautiful spot is Steve Tolley, owner of the Bent Horsehoe Café. He and his wife have restored what was an old school house and created a restaurant with some of the best views in the area. Remnants of the cafe’s school hall past proudly remain with a large chalk board covering one wall. This is now used to advertise muscians playing upcoming gigs at the cafe’s Sunday evening acoustic sessions. The shelves are crammed with books and boardgames, all on offer to customers who wish to spend a rainy afternoon in a picturesque location. A friendly and outgoing business owner, Steve is never short of a few friendly words and happy and willing to discuss the area with anybody who is interested. They loved the place so much, they actually live not two minutes’ walk from the café. After an afternoon spent at the café, Steve had more than convinced me to take the trouble to wade across the water and venture further along the river. He speaks with fondness of his family’s camping trips along the riverbanks and encourages all vistitors to take full advantage of the areas beautiful walks. Whatever the time of year, the area is well worth visiting and the Bent Horseshoe Cafe is always on hand for refreshing drinks after a swim in the swimming hole or a hot drink after walking up into the hills.


Remnants of the Bent Horseshoe Cafe’s school hall past proudly remain with chalk boards and school chairs and books out on display.

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The trails around Horseshoe Bend can lead up into the hills or by sticking closer to the water, there are a number of picnic benches waiting to be used. The Bent Horseshoe Cafe is situated at the top of the hill just before the entrance to Horseshoe Bend Reserve. The cafe is open Fridays to Sundays and features acoustic music nights on Sunday evenings.

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local artist / david abbotts

Painting a brighter future

By day david Abbotts helps run a successful wallpaper design business, but in his spare time he Is lending his artistic eye to a more environmentally-friendly cause namely the conservation of New Zealand’s wildlife. WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS CATHERINE HOLMES


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David Abbotts made the move from England to New Zealand 30 years ago with his partner Diana. As a trained artist, he found work creating wallpaper designs - an industry he has found to be far more thriving in New Zealand than the country he left behind. In addition to wallpaper he has created illustrations for greetings cards, usually with a Kiwi flavour. Initially it was the work that kept in here but over time the place has earned his affection. He found inspiration in the hills surrounding his home in Pukerua Bay on the Kapiti Coast. When asked about these inspirations he speaks of the texture of the surrounding bush. From the tracery of the Kanuka branches to the ehythmic shapes of the hills and the evening shadows in the gulleys creating drama as the sun goes down. The New Zealand landscape and environment has become a huge part of what he does. This may have played a part in his more recent work in which he has turned his attention to conservation, with a particular interest in New Zealand’s various endangered species.


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“I like to touch the pulse of concern and give people a gentle reminder. Touch their heart and keep it simple. It’s an old cliche but pictures can say a thousand words.”

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When asked about his focus on conservation, Abbotts speaks of the apathy of the general public and his attemps to combat this through his artwork. “We live in a world that is seeing a lot of change at the moment. Change which is not that beneficial for the future. We are informed of dire consequences if things carry on the way it is. For many this is just too much to take on board so we go into overshoot, carrying on regardless.” Not a fan of statistics or preaching, he sees the public as being put off by these methods - he is not interested in boring or frightening people. But through his artwork, he can have a more subtle but effective communication. “I like to touch the pulse of concern and give people a gentle reminder. Touch their heart and keep it simple. It’s an old cliche but pictures can say a thousand words” Amongst his other inspirations, Abbotts lists music as a major one. With an eclectic taste, he uses numerous artists from a variety of periods to kick start his creativity.


His studio built at the bottom of the garden houses speakers and a stereo along with sinks and adjoining bathroom, transforming the small but well-designed space into the perfect artist’s retreat. The studio was designed by both Abbotts and his wife Diana. The design is certainly a success and always a talking point for visitors, although Abbotts does admit that he should have taken more of Diana’s input on board and added a few more windows! New Zealand Living 69


destination / hawkes bay

View over Craggy Range Winery from the top of Te Mata Peak

drinking in the Hawkes Bay landscape WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS CATHERINE HOLMES The stunning Hawkes Bay landscape plays host to many wineries, but the rustic charm of Craggy Range Winery wins out with their world class wine and environmentally friendly approach to wine making. We take a tour to soak up the beautiful Hawkes Bay location and experience this world class winery for ourselves.


Back in 1986, Terry Peabody was persuaded by his wife and daughter to enter the intimidating world of the wine industry. They were successful and the decision was made to own their own winery – under condition it never be sold and the business remain in the family as their legacy for years to come. They searched from France and America to Australia for the perfect location. But in the end the New Zealand climate and the county’s youth and the philosophy of the people to try new things, meshed well with his own plans for producing new and improved wines that would take on the world. They wanted to create wines that would be internationally known. Classics. New Zealand was the place that harnessed that spirit.

Reflections of Craggy Range Winery at sunset

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Together with architect John Blair and designer Pamela Brown, they have created a stunning winery inspired by the practical farming archicture of New Zealand, using natural materials and circular, barn-like shapes – this is evident on arrival at the building with large wooden doors and farming tools on display in the opening. The building is beautifully designed with the large glass panels providing views across the vines.


businesses that make a living off the land can be responsible and keep the country clean and healthy for generations to come.

In addition to its world class wine and stunning location, Craggy Range also places value in the environment and sustainable living. They run a winery waste system which uses the waste water discarded from the winery and redistributes it across the land as irrigation. They also shun allowable additives and synthetics in favour of real and natural ingredients. Their sustainability policy has been up and running since 2001 and shows that businesses that make a living off the land can be responsible and keep the country clean and healthy for generations to come. New Zealand Living 73


The spectacularly large Curved Wine Celler named “Sophia� houses 8000 litre French Oak Curves. They are used to ferment Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Craggy Range’s approach to wine making is that there is no simple, repetitive formula. New Zealanders have an intuitive approach to working on the land and this has been embraced with a feeling that farming should be a case of applying your skills to the conditions you are presented with throughout the year, rather than relying on a pre-defined methodology. This is how the wines here are so finely tuned. It is a system that is clearly working well for them. Craggy Range’s Te Muna Pinot Noir recently won the Best New World Red Wine at the China Wine Challenge and their 2010 prestige collection has been receiving excellent reviews internationally. But for the staff here, their main priority is the consumer. Any visitor stopping by is warmly welcomed and it is impressive that a business that has grown to such a huge size can still retain its roots and customer focus. What started as a small family business has now grown into the most technically advanced winery in the country, and one of Hawkes Bay’s most welcoming and friendly businesses.


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catherineholmesphotography catherineholmesphotography@gmail.com


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