The call of seeing more of New Zealand was too strong for Manchester-based alt-folk duo Good Habits to turn around and go home when Covid-19 hit their touring plans.

Instead, they are staying in the seaside town of Paekākāriki until they can continue travelling.

Embarking on a tour of New Zealand from the start of January to the end of March, Good Habits were almost ready to finish when they had to cancel their remaining gigs because of the call to start social distancing.

Singer-cellist Bonnie Schwarz and accordionist Pete Shaw studied together in Manchester were part of a four-piece eclectic indie-folk band under the same name before launching Good Habits as a duo and heading to New Zealand.

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Good Habits performing on their New Zealand tour.
Good Habits performing on their New Zealand tour.

Schwarz is half Kiwi, so the trip was about combining their love of travelling with meeting and connecting with people on the other side of the world to where they live, all through music.

"We were mega lucky that it was right at the end of the tour when we only had a handful of performances left that we decided to cancel the rest of the tour," Schwarz said.

"We didn't know we were about to go into lockdown but we decided to wrap it up and quit while we were ahead, end on a high in Christchurch."

So they've been bunking down in Paekākāriki since.

"We've come here and felt like the Kāpiti Coast is the best place to be in the world right now.

"At the beginning of lockdown it was a bit hit-and-miss deciding what to do because of course we couldn't predict the future.

"It was a hard decision because we couldn't get support from either country because of the situation."

It was a gamble that has paid off for the duo, who have been living with Danni Parsons and Lance Shepherd, who make up folk-acoustic duo In The Shallows.

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Another day, another new location for Good Habits while touring New Zealand.
Another day, another new location for Good Habits while touring New Zealand.

Their most recently completed project was for the New Zealand Police Creative Genius series, which has since had 37 thousand views.

Calling creative New Zealanders to step up in lockdown, "we are embracing the brilliance of our creative industry, and bring to you the NZ Creative Genius series of videos produced by talented people from around the country", the police wrote in a Facebook post.

"This is not an easy time, let's get through it with humour, grace, empathy and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity. We are all in this together."

For Schwarz Shaw, living with other musos has meant, with their combined equipment, they have been able to not only continue playing but record and produce music.

"Danni sent the information about the NZ Police's campaign and we just really had fun with it," Schwarz said.

"It was very last-minute.

"We had to change what we wanted. We wanted to say something about staying positive and staying connected and the importance of looking after your wellbeing and mental health.

"So we came up with the paper idea to get the message out really clearly."

Filming their music video on Paekākāriki Beach as the sun was setting, the feel-good song is about the importance of staying connected even though we've moved to level 3.

The lyrics are written on pieces of paper making it clear what the song is about.

"The sun was setting so quickly, as you can see in the video its getting darker and darker, so we only had about 20 minutes to film the whole thing.

"We're in such a privileged position to be able to make our music, edit it, mix it and try and create some positive content."

Talk To Me was recorded and produced in their bedroom.

They have provisional flights home next month so the duo want to create as much music as possible and with the UK still in complete lockdown, have decided New Zealand is the best place to be at the moment.

"All anyone can do right now is play it by ear and take it day by day," Shaw said.

Having planned on staying a few extra months after their tour anyway, they are now making the most of where they are living.

"Since we've been in level 3 I've been swimming every day.

"It's such a luxury to be able to swim in warm water - well warm for us anyway, it's glorious.

"New Zealand is amazing, it's so lovely."

Working on a mix of projects for people all over the world, the projects include writing songs for a media company in China and auctioning themselves off to create a musical eCard.

The duo are also starting to work on their next album inspired by their New Zealand travels and their leap of faith to stay on the other side of the world away from home at this time, and the adventures it has brought.

Check out their video for the NZ Police here.