What was your greatest holiday?

Touring with my band is perfect because we perform at night, hang with the locals (so get to know a city or town more intimately) and have plenty of laughs. Most memorable was playing New Orleans many years ago. We were hosted by the Neville Brothers who spoilt our band and whanau rotten - Aaron's mum cooked us gumbo in their home.

And the worst?
Never had a bad one, only bits that were bad. Those bits usually involve being cold. Stranded outside an apartment in Paddington in winter during the wee hours because the key was left on the coffee table inside. My partner, Toby, climbed a fire escape and set off alarms. No one in the flash hotels would admit us at 3am with no suitcase, until some lovely Russian guy new on the job took pity on us and snuck us into a room. The other was the first time being taken on a snowmobile across a frozen Lake Inari in the Arctic Circle (Finland) at about 32 below zero, ill-equipped. Clods of ice flew at us. My beanie flew off. It was like being scalped. Truly horrible. Did it again recently with a local reindeer herder, well prepared. Beautiful experience.

If we bump into you on holiday, what are you most likely to be doing?
Eating and drinking. It's my patriotic duty to research extensively local food and wine so I can provide comprehensive reports to the whanau. Someone should actually pay me to do this. Seriously. I've been offered everything from reindeer to moose to whale. I gave a pass on the whale.


If we could teleport you to one place in New Zealand for a week-long holiday, where would it be?
Rekohu/Chatham Island. I wrote a song we played at the opening of the Moriori marae over a decade ago. Learned heaps about their history. Never had the chance to look around the island.

How about for a dream holiday internationally?
Bhutan and Cuba - with Istanbul and Paris.

What's the dumbest thing you've ever done when travelling?
My girlfriend and I were stranded in the boondocks in Spain one night. Turned out to be the end of the railway line. We accepted help from the train driver and his friend. We were a couple of freshies. Had to grab our stuff and make a run for it in the middle of the night. Terrifying.

Complete this sentence: I can't travel without ... My phone. It just got lifted in Buenos Aires so now I know this to be absolutely true. It's the lack of a camera that bugs me the most.

What's the best travel tip you've been given?
Pack ahead of time. Don't take what you need, only take what you can't live without.

What was the most memorable meal you've had while travelling?
Chatham Islands. For morning tea, they served us what looked like sausage rolls. Turns out they were paua rolls. We feasted on weka, eel and paua. I sat next to the late Parekura Horomia and he handed me a whole crayfish. I never thought it would be possible to have your fill of koura but there's only so much of the stuff you can eat.

What's the best thing you've brought back from a trip?
Handmade rugs from Istanbul. It's not just these taonga, it was the experience, the memories around Turkey and the people involved. Six years on and I still exchange emails once in a while with the two carpet dealers.

Favourite airport to land at?
Auckland - love home.

What's the next trip you've got planned?
Just got an overture to perform in Toronto later on in the year. Keen to return to Taiwan to do some recording for my next album.

Moana Maniapoto performs as part of Revolutions at Auckland Arts Festival, March 9-10.