Notable New Zealanders Share Their Best Summer Memories

Nostalgic memories, yearly traditions, things to look forward to. The beauty of summer lies in its myriad possibilities, as these New Zealanders tell us

Jessie Wong. Photo / Supplied

— Designer, Yu Mei 
Summer is the epitome of what it is to be kiwi. When I was a kid, my family would go on holiday in the summer and the focus was always the beach. A long swim in the ocean does a world of good, and in the Pairman-Wong family it’s always a race to see who will get in first and stay in the longest. Now that we’re older nothing much has changed; the Yu Mei team share the sentiment and recently went on a trip to Hawaii that consisted of scoping out every beach on Oahu. On the last night of the trip we swam for hours in Waimea Bay and watched the beautiful sunset over the island — an experience I know I’ll remember forever.

Brodie McDonald. Photo / Supplied

— Owner, Seabreeze Cafe, Westmere
My daughter Mira waiting for waves at Anchor Bay, Tawharanui. Summer means being able to hoon out here with her, even if it's just briefly after school or after a day at the cafe. Once we’re on the water, I can reset. If we manage to pick up some Matakana oysters on the way home, it seals the deal. This is summer.

Ella Williams. Photo / Supplied

— Surfer
I love spending my summers in Whangamata. I’m usually working at surf shop during the day with my family ­— Braedon, Janine and Dean — but after work is when the fun starts. We always go for summer surfs on the beach or the Whangamata bar (that’s a surf break), riding longboards and tandeming on one another’s boards, being silly and having so much fun. I never need to travel to go on holiday because I'm always on holiday in the paradise of Whangamata.

Greta van der Star. Photo / Supplied

— Photographer and stylist
I try and return to Pakiri Beach every summer, to the same house with an olive grove and a 10-minute bush walk that pops you out high on the dunes, overlooking the beach. One year it was particularly stormy, we hiked to the beach and ran for the water. It was the beginning of a new year, and the bookend for a particularly challenging one, and the strength of the ocean felt so humbling. We dug pipis for dinner, drank red wine and played cards until midnight.

Alma Proenca. Photo / Supplied

— Photographer
This image holds a place in my heart from another lifetime on Manhattan Island, before I met my husband and son. It was taken in the New York summer of 1999 as I roller skated down the West Side Highway towards the Twin Towers ... with the sun sinking into the horizon. This picture represents a time of freedom, passion and liberty — in the city that never sleeps.

Ngahuia Williams. Photo / Supplied

— Model and agent
Summer is about being outdoors, being in water, being with my family. My mother’s trifle reminds me of summer, it’s a Christmas staple for the Williams family. Te Ngaere Bay will forever be my connection to my father. The ocean in the bay is so vibrant and beautiful. Fish and chips are my favourite thing to eat and reading books is an important pastime. I'm excited about spending time in Piha this summer, floating in the sea and spending time with my partner, Steve.

Russ Flatt. Photo / Supplied

— Artist and ceramicist 
For me it is all about family and friends. The beginning of summer is always immensely stressful but rewarding at the same time. Summer’s sun and fun. Pavlova (cliche) and so many naps. I always return to Lake Taupo in Kuratau. Summer’s an overwhelming amount of love, to the point I feel like my heart might overflow.

Raukura Turei. Photo / Supplied

— Artist
A precious summer pastime is walking through the tracks of the Waitakere Ranges with my whanau, which started before I could walk, peering out from the carrier on my dad's shoulders. The Karamatura Valley is a favourite for its many cascading rock pools and where I remember losing my prized hibiscus-printed togs as a child and watching them float from pool to pool away from reach. This summer with the closure of these tracks to protect our kauri, I mourn connecting with these special places, but look forward to walking along the coastal Hillary trail, setting out from Muriwai.

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