For Renee Wright, the best thing about a Kiwi summer is our laidback lifestyle.
Every year, the busy mum to Leo, 9, Gigi, 7, and Arabella, 4, relishes the chance to hit Aotearoa's beaches, saying, "To me, New Zealand summers are all about families out enjoying our incredible country, summer barbecues, backyard cricket and time in and on the water. It's simple, fuss-free, joyous and so, so good."
While Covid travel restrictions have prevented Renee, 40, from catching up with her much-loved sister and nieces, who usually cross the ditch from Sydney for the holidays, she will be making the most of seeing friends and family in and around the City of Sails.
"We usually tend to hang around Auckland over the summer break and then take a holiday in February," the TVNZ weather presenter explains.
Growing up, Renee spent her summers at Pauanui Beach with her cousins. "My dad was the community constable, so he would pack us up and we would go spend summer with our cousins. My parents both have large families, so there were a lot of us. We had so much fun and adventures."
Looking ahead, her New Year's resolution for 2021 was to live in the moment. "I intend to take each day as it comes and not sweat the small stuff.
"2020 has been an impossible year for so many and I consider myself one of the lucky ones as my family is healthy and adjusting to this new world that we live in.
"But it did teach us to go back to basics and enjoy the simple things in life. During lockdown, life was at a slower pace and it made us appreciate the simple things in life. Quality time with loved ones is everything."
Last summer, Melissa Chan-Green was adjusting to being a new mum. This year, the Newshub presenter is looking forward to enjoying lots of new adventures with her son Busby Green, 13 months.
"Busby is becoming a real little chatterbox with lots of new words every day," Melissa tells.
"So I'm really looking forward to being able to learn lots and have new experiences with him." The journalist will bring Kiwis the news over the holiday break, but when there's time later in January, she'll show "her boys" – Busby and English husband Caspar Green, 40 – around as much of New Zealand as she can.
"Caspar still hasn't seen a whole lot of New Zealand – it's actually hard to decide where to go first!" She's also hopeful that international borders will open so that 2021 might see her taking Busby to meet his grandparents and Auntie Sadie in London.
"I can't wait until the world is a safe place to explore again," she says. "One thing that 2020 has taught me is that it's so important to be present and in the moment because you never know when you might not be able to do that again – catching up with family or friends, dining out, going on holiday."
The 37-year-old says the best thing about the warmer months, apart from swing ball, is being able to enjoy endless summer nights – when you've had a big day at the beach and you're still cranking the barbecue at eight or nine at night.
"These days, that's just about past my bedtime, but I guess now I will be able to see the sunrise, which I certainly wasn't up for much pre-baby!"
For Breakfast news presenter Indira Stewart, summer is all about spending time with family. But like many of us, the 35-year-old is eagerly awaiting a safe reopening of our borders to see her relatives again.
"Fingers crossed, if it's safe enough, the borders will re-open without quarantine at some point so I can travel to Australia to see my parents and two brothers. I would also love to travel to Tonga and see my granddad and visit Niue again!"
Normally visiting her parents once a year, the last time she saw them was a well-timed trip at the end of 2019. She tells, "It was the first Christmas I got to spend with them in five years. I'm so glad we did because the pandemic was declared soon after."
Instead, Indira and her husband and four children will have a three-week break in Wanaka with her two sisters and their families. And, if her kids have their way, there will be lots of backyard picnics, which they have been doing for years.
After moving to New Zealand with her parents when she was 2 years old, her childhood summers remain special to her.
"Jumping on the trampoline, Tongan church picnic gatherings, playing cricket with neighbourhood kids in our dead-end street until dark and drinking 'otai, a Tongan fruit drink made from watermelon, coconut milk and other fruits," she says of her favourite memories.
Working in the news means she sees and hears the devastating impact of the pandemic every day, but she's hopeful that we will see the back of it very soon. And despite the difficulties of last year, Indira has learned how important it is to take care of her health.
"It's important to get enough sleep, exercise regularly and to be present with my family as much as I can," she tells. "Life is short and we shouldn't take what we have for granted!"
After a challenging 2020 that put a stop to travelling overseas to judge international dance events, accomplished dancer and choreographer Candy Lane is looking forward to a much brighter 2021.
"I'd like to leave behind hearing words like 'unprecedented', 'lockdown' and 'pandemic'," she says with hope. But more importantly, the mum of daughter Jaz, 26, and son Zak, 23, is looking forward to being able to travel to Australia again to see her girl and her grandson, August, two, who live on the Gold Coast.
Summer holidays are usually spent in Queensland with her family and partner Ricky, but this year, because of Covid travel restrictions, Candy, 59, and Ricky, 48, will be "doing something different".
She tells, "This year, we're hiring a campervan and driving to some of our stunning beaches and visiting friends along the way. It's something I've always wanted to do. My life is always so scheduled, so I just want to be free to wander."
For Candy, summer represents happiness – long, hot, sunshine-filled days, hokey pokey ice cream and barbecue dinners. As a child, holidays were spent at the family bach in Clark's Beach, south of Auckland, with her mum, dad and brother Brett, and she still has very fond memories of taking to the beach every day on her beloved pony Honey.
While the former Dancing with the Stars judge, who was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for her contributions to the entertainment industry in 2014, has never been one to make New Year's resolutions before, this year she has.
"Just because 2020 taught me how much in our lives we take for granted," she tells.
"Like spending time with friends, shopping, dining out, dancing together, travelling and big hugs. I intend on doing all of these things as much as possible.
"And I will try not to put things off. I will, as the saying goes, live every day like it's your last – because as we have learnt in 2020, it could possibly be!"
It's a busy summer for Newshub investigative reporter Michael Morrah and his wife Sarah, 38, along with their two children, Bella, 6, and Lulu, 4. The family spent Christmas in Hawke's Bay and New Year's Eve on Waiheke Island, before heading to the Tutukaka Coast with a group of friends.
"The plan is to laugh, celebrate the fact that we are not locked up in isolation, and make sure my daughters have a memorable holiday with their school and kindy mates," says Michael. "And also ensure my wife Sarah, who leads a busy life as a doctor, gets time to chill and work on her other passion, which is painting."
Growing up in Whangārei, his sun-drenched days spent on the beautiful beaches of the east coast hold happy memories for the 39-year-old.
"I used to collect tuatuas at low tide with my dad, rinse them in freshwater and cook them on the barbecue. He also introduced me to spearfishing," tells Michael. "I am semi-obsessed with fishing and spearfishing, and there's nothing that gives me more of a rush than getting into the water and exploring."
Reflecting on last year, Michael is proud of how we as a country dealt with a pandemic that has devastated the world. "It makes you realise how incredibly fortunate we are to be a small island nation with a population that largely followed the rules during a global pandemic. When you look at the situation globally, it makes you appreciate the simple things we often take for granted," he says.
But he would happily never see another 1pm Covid press conference with Chris Hipkins and Dr Ashley Bloomfield. "No offence to either of them, but generally speaking, no press conferences means there probably aren't too many major problems."
Looking at the year ahead, Michael has a lot to look forward to. "Music festivals, mates, and just being happy and healthy. I can't wait to see my youngest, Lulu, start school," he shares. "My plan for 2021 is to keep doing journalism that matters and continue balancing work with good times with my family and mates."
She may spend her summer working in the busy 1 News Tonight newsroom, but presenter Jenny Suo makes sure that she crams as many adventures into her holidays as possible.
And, while she would normally be camping, hiking or diving, this year she's keen to add a high alpine skills course to her adventures!
"I got a taste of mountaineering in September doing a three-week tramping trip around the South Island," she tells the Weekly. "I want to be able to go higher but do it safely. I'd love to be able to summit Mt Aspiring this year and then Mt Cook after that."
The keen camper says she loves to set up a tent on a scorcher of a day and then run into the ocean to cool off.
"Sometimes when we're almost at the camping spot, I close all the windows and turn the aircon off so that I get uncomfortably sweaty just to get that extra relief when we finally run in!" she laughs. "I also love waking up to watch the sunrise on the beach. It's often when the sea life is super-active too, and you can spot fish jumping out of the water."
While she loves Christmas, in her younger years, celebrating Chinese New Year was always the bigger event.
"It's huge. My favourite childhood summer memories involve getting together with my family and celebrating together. Most of the time, it involves a ridiculous amount of Chinese food made by my talented uncle."
The journalist, who turned 30 last year, admits that the milestone came with a bit of anxiety as she started comparing herself to others – something that wasn't the best use of her time!
"I'm now focused on making myself happy and it's pretty brilliant so far. I've decided to leave the self-doubt with 2020."
And she's also looking forward to her partner, Michael, moving to Auckland after working in Whangārei for the last two years.
"We're really excited to do some really mundane things, like go to the supermarket together!"
But when it comes to resolutions, Jenny, who makes the same one every new year, is keeping mum.
"Is it like a birthday wish, where if I tell you, it won't happen?" she asks with a grin. "Best not risk it!"