The Diary: Taylor's Waiheke rave reaches 44 million fans

Singer's brilliant day off on island is gold for tourism industry.

Taylor Swift tweeted enthusiastically about Waiheke's beautiful scenery.
Taylor Swift tweeted enthusiastically about Waiheke's beautiful scenery.

She ran barefoot through the vines at Stonyridge Winery and drank bubbles on the deck at Mudbrick Vineyard.

Pop superstar Taylor Swift enjoyed her day off on Monday, following three consecutive Auckland concerts, by soaking in the sun on Waiheke Island and posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram of her idyllic adventure - to more than 44 million worldwide followers. Not bad for island tourism.

Taylor Swift on Waiheke Island.
Taylor Swift on Waiheke Island.

The 23-year-old star arrived by public ferry with an entourage of 11, including her mother Andrea and a small security detail.

Geoff Jewitt from Waiheke Executive Transport said he organised transport for the group on the island, including a private boat and vehicles.

Wearing a modest cream lace dress, the star posed along the rocky shore and tweeted: "New Zealand, thank you for your loud crowds and for days like this. Waiheke Island. Sigh."

She posted several picture-perfect photos. Tourism Minister John Key said Swift's unsolicited celebrity approval to all those millions of engaged online fans around the world was great coverage for Auckland and New Zealand. "Taylor Swift's endorsement of the beauty of Waiheke Island is a classic case where social media can be gold."

Five female pals joined her on the island excursion, including dancers Clair Ordaz, Caitlynn Lawson and Eliotte Nicole and back-up singers Kamilah Marshall and Melanie Nyema, who are part of Swift's extravagant Red Tour.

The group of girls looked thrilled to be enjoying their day off in between a hectic tour schedule and posed for several shots, which Swift posted to Twitter and Instagram. "Some of my favorite people, onstage and off," she wrote. "The more beautiful the scenery, the more we hug."

At Mudbrick, the group enjoyed a relaxed long lunch on the rooftop terrace followed by a leisurely private wine-tasting with the vineyard's winemaker, Patrick Newton.

"This is the second time Taylor and her friends have been to Mudbrick," proprietor Nick Jones told The Diary.

Swift visited the estate last year on her Speak Now tour. "She loves the laidback atmosphere of Waiheke. She's incredibly relaxed, very friendly and really well-behaved - and left a very generous tip."

Swift strolled through the fragrant gardens with her girlfriends, and later bought several cases of wine to take home, including Mudbrick's Reserve Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.

Then the group moved on to Stonyridge about 5pm for what was meant to be a brief visit, but owner Stephen White told The Diary they stayed for several hours, chilling out and supping wine on the deck. They left at 9.30pm after the sun went down, and Swift bought a few cases of the vineyard's Syrah to take home.

"She's a really good person with great values and morals. I was really impressed with her, so down-to-earth. She said she loves New Zealand and loves Waiheke.

"She just wanted to chill out with her friends and relax with no fuss," White said.

On Sunday Swift, wearing short-shorts and a pony tail, was snapped shopping in Parnell with her 55-year-old mum Andrea, who bought her daughter a $500 abstract painting from Parnell Gallery.

Earlier they'd had lunch at Thai Friends, eating green curry and coconut rice, and management told The Diary they closed the restaurant for the superstar. Alas, photos were a no-no, but she gave the maitre'd a guitar pick with her picture on it.

Swift is understood to have flown out on her Dassault Falcon 900 private jet late on Monday night for the Australian leg of her circus-themed tour.

Little man upstages Lorde

Lorde was photo-bombed by a mini-star while in Sydney. Upstaging two musical divas is no easy feat, but 3-year-old Egypt Daoud Ibarr Dean, the celebrity offspring of Alicia Keys and record producer Kasseem Dean (aka Swizz Beatz), did just that when his mum posed with the Kiwi teen backstage at the Aria Awards in Sydney on Sunday night. "Love Egy's photobomb of me and Lorde," Keys tweeted.

Lorde and Alicia Keys at Arias.
Lorde and Alicia Keys at Arias.

Clooney rumours

Could George Clooney be winging his way Downunder?

An Australian newspaper is reporting the Hollywood A-lister may be a guest at Fair Trade Fortnight in May, held by Fair Trade Australia and New Zealand, in his Nespresso ambassador role.

Clooney is well versed in environmental issues and is said to get on well with Harriet Lamb, Fairtrade International's CEO. He was at a similar European conference earlier this year.

In the spirit

"I am like an elf with an IV drip of 'Tis the Season coursing through my veins," wrote TV personality and mother-of-five Kate Hawkesby this week in a column penned for a tabloid mag about the joys, merriment and small miracles of Christmas.

Er, charitable turns? Alas, no: conspicuous consumption.

"Christmas is an unadulterated shop-fest where no one questions the fact you're traipsing into stores every day and no one looks all judgey [sic] at you when you swoop along the street laden with bags," said the self-confessed shopaholic.

It seems the seasonal spending even extends to the family pooch who, Hawkesby admits in a separate puff piece inside the mag, has its own Christmas stocking ... "with just a squeaky toy or something".

Gym boss no Grinch

For gym boss Phillip Mills, Christmas is a time for giving and remembering cherished loved ones.

His Les Mills staff Christmas bash, on December 20, is a concert at the Powerstation in memory of his brother-in-law, Dave McArtney, who died tragically this year.

Graham Brazier, Debbie Harwood, Andrew Fagan, Jordan Luck, Karen Hay, Shona Laing and co will perform for Les Mills' employees and friends.

"They played the concert a few weeks ago as a public concert and it turned out to be one of the best gigs I'd ever been to and I wanted to share it with my friends," Mills said.

"As the performers had put in weeks of rehearsal for that one night, they were happy to perform it again as a private concert."

- NZ Herald

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