Peter Malcouronne meets new arrivals at Auckland Airport

Matt Everitt only expects his dad to be here - probably waiting outside in the car. But unknown to him, there's a horde from Ohope waiting at arrivals. A quick roll call: Matt's dad, Steve, 55, his mum Sheryl, 57, his younger brother Lucas, 18, and German exchange student Ebba Korth, 15, who's been staying with the Everitts for the past seven months.

And Kanye West.

Well kind of - it's a corrugated-plastic rendering of the hip-hop Hercules. Lucas, who got in from Wellington half an hour ago - and heads back in just 90 minutes - is also immortalised in cut-out form. He explains.

"I got it from my girlfriend for my birthday," he says. "We're all massive Kanye West fans and felt we didn't have enough people to welcome Matt home. So we bought him along as well."


And Lucas' doppelganger? "Well, I missed the Whakatane High School Ball last year. I was overseas - in London for the Olympics with the family. So we got the people who made Kanye to make me and so ... I went to the ball."

Sort of. He smiles - and then cheers. Matt's just come through the gate.

The 21-year-old had been away since last July. How was the trip, young man?

"Bloody great!" he says.

"After the Olympics, I got a job at a pub called the King's Arms - a couple of blocks off Oxford St. Right in the centre of London. Lived upstairs.

"It was very old, very quaint - the same guy had owned it for 42 years. And pretty quiet - I got good at doing crosswords."

He worked there for four months and then took off for Europe. Went on an 18-day tour with too many Australians, then went, on his own, to "the best city in the world".

"To Barcelona. I was only there four days, but saw heaps. The Sagrada Familia - the most amazing building I've seen. I'm a design student as well - it blew me away. The Olympic complex at Montjuic, the beachfront ... just everything.

"I just wish I'd taken my skateboard. Barcelona's flat, on a slow incline. You could skate from the top down to the beach - maybe 3km - without having to push. Then you could catch the metro back up and skate back down again.

"That would've been awesome."

Matt: "Do everything. Say yes. If you're talking to a random person and they offer to do something, do it. If you're in a hostel talk to anybody - talk to everybody. When I was in Barcelona, this guy invited me to the Pyrenees for snowboarding. I couldn't - I was leaving. But next time. For sure."