Referring to this country as "God's own" is a quaint colloquialism.

It was coined by Irish-born Kiwi Thomas Bracken (also the author of our national anthem) in a collection of poems published about 1890.

Former Prime Minister Richard Seddon favoured the term of endearment, most notably in a 1906 telegram to the Victorian premier, Thomas Bent, the day before leaving Australia to head home to New Zealand: "Just leaving for God's own country". He didn't make it, dying the next day on the ship Oswestry Grange.

Local couple Godfrey Quemeneur and Rachel Downes have tapped into the sentiment, opening the boutique GodsOwn brewery on the same site as their Maraekakaho villa. (See story page 6).


While the couple confess to indeed worshipping beer, the brewery's name is a play on Godfrey in God's own.

After enjoying their hospitality on Saturday, I realised the enterprise is an encouraging example of having the right people do the right thing in the right place.

And it's not just another craft brewery; these two yesterday harvested the North Island's only commercially grown hops. Their pride in provenance doesn't stop there.

"Our aim is to do a whole batch from the land - grow our own barley, malt it and use our hops." With a trusty water supply nearby (one of their beers is made using only rainwater), this is an exciting endeavour.

The couple would claim this region as God's own. Neither is from here originally, but often it takes an objective eye to remind us of the natural treasures on Hawke's Bay's doorstep.