Stacey Morrison says travel comes naturally to New Zealanders, writes Stephanie Holmes.
Stacey Morrison is quite possibly the busiest woman in New Zealand. Not only does she co-host The Hits Drive Show with Mike Puru, she's also an ambassador for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, a best-selling author, a teacher at Massey University, and mum to three children.
And somehow, among all that, she still manages to fit in a healthy love of travel. From her first overseas trip to Japan as high-school exchange student, to family holidays in Hawaii, to eye-opening trips to Russia, Stacey has loved — and learnt a lot — from seeing the world.
Speaking to me and co-host Tim Roxborogh for the new episode of Trip Notes — our fortnightly travel podcast — Stacey says a love of travel is a natural part of the DNA of all New Zealanders.
"We have the voyager spirit in us because we all descend from, or are someone, who has travelled to get here," she says. "I do think it's a unifying spirit of New Zealanders at our best. We are adventuresome and I've always wanted to embrace that."
In the meantime, here are some of her travel highlights:
"That was my first opportunity to learn a foreign language. I learned Japanese before I learnt Māori . . . My host family took me everywhere. I lived in Utsunomiya and that's about 100km north of Tokyo, in Tochigi. They took me to Hiroshima, Kyoto . . . we were really blessed and lucky.
"One of the things I really learnt was about resilience and how to look after yourself when you're homesick . . . and I'm really grateful for that."
"What we discovered is that we would speak Māori, and they would speak Hawaiian and we found that in between there was enough that we could understand each other . . . So you see likeness, but also appreciate difference."
"It wasn't my idea, but my sister chose for us to go to the Magic Mike show. Funnily enough, we actually decided spontaneously to renew our vows that day. So we both remarried our husbands and then took off to the Magic Mike show. It was a hens' party in reverse."
"My husband was performing there with Moana and the Tribe. We were staying at the New Zealand embassy, so we were very fortunate. It was so cold though, you could barely go outside. We saw a billionaire launch his book inside the embassy and he had a harem of women, who all looked like supermodels — something like the Addicted to Love, Robert Palmer video. But the billionaire couldn't deal with the fact that two Māori men were there with their tops off doing haka and all the women were fawning — that was our own version of Magic Mike — so he just had a big sulk, turned around and left."