This time of year New Zealanders move about their country like bees around a hive. We never sit still, well many of us.
It would be interesting to know how many of us like to visit the towns we were born in or grew up in, our hometowns.
I wonder how many of us have actually never left our hometown to live elsewhere. I have no idea of course but I bet the number is not that large.
Most of us get to a certain age and we are out of there, work, travel, romance, study, some of the many reasons hometowns lose their allure at a certain age.
I have just spent a few days around Christmas in my hometown.
We stayed in a motel not 400m from our first flat, rented in 1972. Another 100m along the road was the hospital I was born in nearly 70 years ago.
My siblings, children, many cousins, my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren were all born there.
I rode my bike to school along the road the motel is on, the main road of my hometown, in the 1960s.
Believe it or not back then the road had a dedicated cycle path which has long ago been obliterated by the roadway.
It was, even then a very busy road but the cycle path was a safe way to travel.
Mind you, cycling and walking were more normal activities than even now in our "enlightened" times.
Nothing to do with climate change but all to do with cars being more expensive and less available than now. You walked, rode your bike or got the bus.
Anyway, I love my hometown. It is like an old slipper, a bit worn and frayed in places but comfortable and welcoming.
It is now no longer the quiet little city I grew up in but it still pulls at my emotions.
Everywhere I go when I'm there I have memories, mostly wonderful memories. Family events, where the circus used to set up, favourite fish and chip shops, my schools, still there and still going strong but with a very different cultural outlook to what I experienced.
My town has changed an awful lot in 70 years. It was always a bit cosmopolitan with many different cultures happily knocking along but it now reflects the 21st century New Zealand that I personally really like, a country that welcomes people from all over the world. More colourful, more interesting.
I suppose because my town was, to me, never small and stifling, always interesting, I never suffered from being too big for it.
What I notice now though, and have done for some years, is how everything seems so much smaller than I remember it.
My neighbourhood was pretty much my world as a child although I knew my way around my town like the back of my hand.
I travel through my neighbourhood nowadays and the houses seem smaller, the roads narrower. My neighbourhood is actually quite small but growing up it was huge to me.
I can still drive through it and pretty much name every family in every house. I even still know some of those people and we have all not changed a bit.
We still see ourselves as we were when children.
What is it about the human condition that, when many of us return to our hometowns we still physically feel part of it, we feel safe, secure, warm and just right? Is it something wired deeply into our behaviours?
I have even had that safe, warm feeling in parts of England and Ireland and I was born here three generations after my forebears from those places arrived.
Is it what Māori call "turangawaewae", a sense of identity and independence one feels when being in a certain place?
Returning home to the town I now live in and have for nearly 40 years I experience the same feeling but not as deeply.
I love living in my new town but I do not have the depth of friendships and memories I have in my hometown.
I love my friends in my new town and the way they have told us over the years that we are almost natives but not quite.
Perfectly understandable as this is their hometown, their wonderful memories. Many left as young people, our daughter included, but were drawn back to the peace and serenity my new hometown instils in people who have lived here for a period.
The beauty about New Zealand is that wherever any of us live, if not in our hometowns, we are never more than a drive or a short flight away from friends, family, memories and that comfort and security many of us experienced growing up in our hometown.