From the editor - January 2011
I can hardly believe I’m writing this, but there you go. We are thinking of getting the internet at the bach.
I know, I know. The whole point of the bach is to escape. Nick and I are always telling people how we love the simplicity of our cabin at Pukawa on Lake Taupo: the days of walking and reading, eating and sleeping; the silence and the stars; the fact our cellphones don’t work.
We bought the Pukawa section shortly after we married, camped there in a two-man tent for years and, after kids, upgraded to a tiny caravan. We revelled in the fact that this same lakeside bay featured in family stories about even simpler times. In the 1930s Nick’s mother Barbara Platts – then a small child – would row with her family from the lakeshore settlement of Waihi to a camping spot in Pukawa Bay every summer. They would bring with them a sack of flour and a sack of rice and camp for the whole school holidays.
That story helped inspire the doing-it-rough choices Nick and I made on our early Pukawa holidays: we used lanterns and a long drop and slept in full thermals on icy nights. That, we thought, was what you should do in this sort of lakeside backwater.
But when the kids arrived we softened and built the bach. At first, having electricity and water on tap felt like a cop-out. We resisted the television for a few years, then slid slowly into full home comforts: stereo, microwave, a recycled pair of La-Z-Boy rockers.
And now we’re thinking of getting the internet: the final farewell to the rustic dream. You can’t pretend you’re going bush when you’re checking TradeMe sales and pinging emails off to your mates. But the fact is that, for me – and I suspect for many other Kiwis – holidays have become less about doing nothing and more about grabbing the chance to do what you want to do.
And, nostalgia aside, I find it hard to think of that as a step backward. If I am honest, the thought of spending six weeks doing nothing but going for swims and thinking up new ways of cooking with rice, flour and fish is, well, boring. What I really want to do this summer – in between the resting and eating – is get to know Facebook a bit better so I can keep in touch with the kids as they move away from home, and find some new barbecue recipes.
Hope you, too, get to do what you want to, and that part of that involves enjoying the mixture of Kiwi homes in this issue of NZ House & Garden – from the rustic charms of the Cresseys’ Kawau bach (with long drop) on page 28 to the high-tech Star Wars glamour of the Hewitts’ Christchurch home on page 68. Have a good holiday.
Story: Sally Duggan
Photographs: Belinda Merrie; Wendy Bown
Stylist: Tracey Strange Watts