Lesley and her best friend Perry hosted a party of 20 of their closest girlfriends this past Friday 13th. Drew and I were roped into helping set up. Here are photos of the lovely floral arrangements put together by Perry. All the flowers were cut from the gardens, amazing considering its winter.

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Waiohika…a stunning family estate 10 minutes outside the surf town of Gisborne on the North Island’s east coast. We have been lucky to stumble upon Lesley Witters, the one-woman wonder responsible for this piece of historical paradise with its vineyards and gardens.

The house, built in the 1920s, and grounds have been featured in a number of books on New Zealand architecture specifically because the designer was heavily influenced by the American Great Frank Lloyd Wright.

[Photos l-r: the entrance sign, the resident black swan couple, Robin and Kirk on the front lawn, Zach and Robin in the lounge, the Polaris we drive around when gardening]

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One of our complaints up until this point is that we’ve really missed out on good NZ music. Part of the reason for that is we’ve avoided spending too long in any of the cities. Wellington in particular is known for its local music scene.

Solution: WWoof at Waiohika, the venue for the annual New Year’s Eve bash known as Rhythm & Vines, the number one launchpad for great New Ziwi music. The main organizers, Cris and Hamish (one of the founders as well) live at Waiohika so we’ve been able to pick their brains about good music to listen to.

[Photos l-r: the waterslide that gets filled for the festival, Robin checking out the Vine stage]

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Drew can’t pass up a bargain including this made in NZ, locally-designed hoodie. Priced regularly at $150, he scored it for $30. Here he models it at the Gisborne Saturday Farmers’ Market.

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Our friend Brooker T. has raved about them. Now we appreciate his love of the golden kiwi. A subtler, richer taste than its green brother, the golden kiwi is our new favourite snack. We only wish you could buy a dozen for two dollars back home.

One of the few remaining regions on the Northland we haven’t explored, we took a two-day road trip around the East Cape. Primarily Maori-owned, this part of New Ziwi is a step-back in time, with a very relaxed, chilled out vibe.

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Canada Day Kirk descended upon Robin and Zach in the Mount, and things just haven’t been the same since. Pancakes, bacon, maple syrup, red and white outfits, mimosas and 10 hours of the Tragically Hip. Also plenty of rummers, skateboards, surfing and that balancing kiwi. After a grand weekend, we hit the road for the East Cape, stopping in at the very touristy Kiwi 360.

[Photo l-r: Canada Day Breakfast at Robin and Zach’s, can you spot the Diwi?]

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