It's hard work finishing a government taskforce report while the country basks in summer sun, Professor Mason Durie says.
Regarded as one of the country's public health champions and a leading Maori academic, Sir Mason - who is made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today's royal honours list - has a heap of projects on the go in the early new year.
"I hope it rains, I might stay inside then," he says.
There are other distractions, too, for the 70-year-old Feilding grandfather of 14.
A new moko has also just been born to his eldest grandchild and he will soon celebrate 45 years of marriage to his wife, Lady Arohia.
Life is pretty good at the moment and Sir Mason has a sunny kind of optimism about the future of Maori health - an area where statistics can often be grim.
From a public health perspective, the long-term picture is a much better indicator of where Maori are headed, he says.
"If you look back 20 to 30 years you can only see growth and improvement," Sir Mason said.
"People do get lost in the negative statistics and think that's the case.
Smoking rates are still high but cessation rates are higher, life expectancy is greater now than it's ever been, immunisation rates are up."
Sir Mason, who worked in clinical psychiatry for 20 years, rose to prominence in the early 1980s when his ideas around Maori concepts of holistic well-being, underpinned by psychological, spiritual, physical and whanau health, were developed.
The report he's finishing up now will recommend ground-breaking changes to the way health is funded.By Yvonne Tahana Email Yvonne