In part three of our series, well-known Kiwis reveal their much-loved summer memories.
The Opotiki motel had a shop that was not much larger than your average wardrobe. It had an utterly distinctive smell that hides dormant in my memory. I can almost retrieve it — sweet, clean, a smell I associate with childhood summers as much as Coppertone suntan lotion. The shop sold emergency staples: bread, milk and butter, foodstuffs
that didn't interest me. I came for ice blocks, hot-day treats costing only cents then, way back in the 70s. The motel owners and their children staffed the shop. If the door was shut, you rang a bell and waited. Inside on the counter was one of those lamps with thin, waving fronds that light up in turn with different colours. They are common now, but to a 7-year-old in 1973, glamorous, exotic. I was always happy to wait outside the shop, and watch it change from green to blue to pink just like magic.
● Catherine Robertson's new book Gabriel's Bay is out now.
My holiday romance started when I was very young. I fell in love with this place over multiple summers when I was a kid. The Bay of Islands — there is just something so special about it, and when you round Cape Brett at the beginning of a Christmas cruise, you can almost hear the whole boat let out a collective "aaaaah". I fell in love cruising these waters with my mum, dad and sister, and now our three sons are sharing in the love as we sail with them. Boats, sun and saltwater equals happy families. The wonderful thing about the Bay of Islands is that there is always another beautiful bay to go and explore. It is ridiculously photogenic. This photo was taken on the first day of our last Christmas cruise in the Bay — we'd rounded Cape Brett earlier that day and anchored in Oke Bay. This was our sunset climb to the hill behind it. I think it accurately sums up exactly how bloody joyous I was feeling!
● Mel Homer is the breakfast radio host on Mix, and presenter of TV3's The Cafe.
I love Los Angeles. It's my favourite city. I spent a few months there in 2017 and miss it so much when I'm away. There are some places you visit where you feel like a vagabond, just passing through, unattached. But if you're lucky enough, there are others that evoke an immediate sense of belonging, a rare unwaning spiritual connection — LA is that for me. I was enraptured with the romance of music, movies and culture from 8 years old. I was obsessed with Drew Barrymore, her girl-power films and book, Little Girl Lost. I wrote to her and in return received a signed photo (in my room to this day), and I imagined it coming all the way from Hollywood. California Dreaming by The Mamas & The Papas was my favourite song. It was a great comfort and took me to another world at school. I was bullied and found the assemblies and music brought moments of respite from the chaos. It was always a dream to go to LA and the most terrifying part about actually going was the fear that it would not live up to my long-held expectations. One day in and, frankly, I was more in love than ever.
● Theia is a New Zealand musician.
As a child, camping was always something I looked forward to. Cooking on the open flames; bush walks; hunting and fishing — I loved it. I fondly remember spending time with my uncle, who loved the outdoors as much as I did; I couldn't wait for him to return from his home in Australia each year so we could have our annual camping trip. We loved cooking freshly caught trout and rabbit on the open fire together with potatoes and salad and my grandmother's "special" condensed-milk dressing. Now with my own kids, I love being able to show them what I enjoyed as a child — no technology, just good clean fun. I'm lucky to live in such a special part of New Zealand, the Wairarapa, where there are so many spots to hunt and fish within an hour of each other. I love listening to my kids' laughter and watching the joy on their faces as I joke around with them.
● Marc Soper is Wharekauhau Country Estate's executive chef and was the Best Ora King Dish New Zealand Winner 2017.