On a grey rainy day I take a cab from Auckland airport to where my friend, Tess, is having her works Christmas lunch. Crackers, Christmas hats, rubbery turkey and office gossip. I could be in London. But then Tess drives me to the highest point of the city and we look out over the ocean. Mountains and islands in the distance. Bay after bay after bay.
We drive east along the coast and, defying the weather, stop for an ice cream.
It is then I fall in love with Pohutukawa. Sprays of red, tinged with gold, just like Christmas baubles, burst out from behind dark green foliage. A tinge of white to suggest snow.
For the Māori the Pohutukawa has a sacred significance. Others call it a New Zealand Christmas tree. I can’t stop taking photos of it.
“For next year’s Christmas card, “ I explain to Tess.
But why wait.Love and seasons greetings to everyone from New Zealand.
P.S. Coming soon. Wearable Art in Auckland, Te Papa in Wellington, Te Anau and Milford Sound, a Brazilian Christmas in Hawkes Bay, Maritime Museum in Sydney and and the grand finale, New Year fire works over Sydney harbour.