“Hararei hari”- Maori for Happy Holidays from New Zealand!

WOW! it’s still crazy to think we are in New Zealand but what makes it even better is to be spending it with FAMILY! : )  My sister, Lisa and her Fiance Jake Pipe, arrived from Aspen, Colorado Christmas day to Whangamata, where Jake’s parents live to celebrate the holiday season.  I can’t imagine a better gift than this!

It’s only been a year since this photo was taken in San Carlos Mexico with Trevor’s Dad and step-mom (Larry and Betti Donnelly)…we have seen and done so much!

While we were waiting for my sister and Jake to arrive, Trevor and I explored the town of Whangamata and were kindly taken under the wings of Jake’s family, Rob, Pam, and Alice (Jake’s sister) by way of dinners and outings with their friends.  They said it is”the New Zealand way”…. We were so appreciative to spend time with them…BEFORE Jake and Lisa got here.  The kindness and openness really helped us settle right in.  Thank you Rob and Pam and Alice for being so accepting of us and sharing your world!

Shopping at the local grocery store just a few blocks away from the marina: These green lipped mussels are popular here and you can dive for them in lots of local places.
Taking care of some eye business…Trevor getting his prescription updated and new glasses to replace his old ones that are rusted at the hinges. We also made dental appointments for a cleaning and xrays too!
Had a few other boat projects..or rather issues we needed to look at: The wind turbine…AGAIN…was acting up so Trevor had to take it apart with our prop puller….
Whangamata is definitely a vacation destination for the locals. It reminded us of Ocean Shores in Oregon in the summer with little shops, bakeries, bars and restaurants, lots of families. What is different is that everyone sounds the same to us…we are still getting use to the accent : ) Here there is a “Santa” taking photos with families near the library and mini golf course.

We had already been invited to Rob and Pam’s house for dinner at their house the second day we were here….They also invited us on their regular Thursday night Thai food dinner at the local RSA (Return and Services Association), similar to the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) in the US. Thursday nights are Pam’s nights off from cooking : )

We were invited to Rob and Pam’s friend, Rod’s 70th birthday when we were all having Thai food at the RSA. We got to meet more of this wonderful community and hear old stories and banter between all of them…felt like we were part of the family!
Rod blowing out his birthday candles…. Kevin (to the right) sailed here to New Zealand with his family from England when he was 10 or 11… he has been a great resource for us here. Rod’s mother (to Rod’s left) is 90 years old… she told me she use to be a ballerina and professional dancer, lived in Scotland, traveled the world and her favorite place was Greece. Her outlook on life was inspiring…I want to be like her when I grow up!

Christmas day at the Pipe’s house – Jake and Lisa arrived Christmas day and picked us up to share Christmas with Jake’s family at their house.  We toasted with champagne, opened presents and then had an amazing dinner outside with their friends Dave and Michelle.

The Christmas Tree!
Trevor playing the role of “Santa”….(thanks Heidi Hackler, SV Due West for the santa hat…we love it!).
Rob getting into his new book. He loves music and plays guitar…. Pam and Rob shared stories of some of the concerts they went to in their earlier years.
Alice received a HUGE can of salsa…yes we will be having a Mexican dinner night soon! Alice enjoys cooking and boy is she good at it! She is currently recovering from brain surgery just a week ago and she is doing really well!
We all called this christmas the “liquid” christmas as everyone received some type of “liquid”…. here is Trevor with his “adult” liquid   : )

Christmas dinner – WOW…so much food!!!  Dave and Michelle are good friends of the Pipe family and their kids are all overseas so they joined us for dinner.  

Dave and Michelle cooked a goose…We have never had goose before and it was pretty good! Dave had a bit of trouble cutting through the bone but got the job done….
3 types of salad, mostly from fresh gardens (everyone here seems to have their own gardens..it is fabulous!), Chicken, Ham, and Goose…I was full for the next 24 hours!
A new Zealand tradition? Little wrapped cardboard cylinders called “pops” are passed around and you hold them with your fingers and pull…whoever gets the larger portion is the winner of the little gift inside….
Really everyone wins : ) There is a little piece of paper with a joke on it that we all took turns reading….Here is Alice reading her joke she received…and there was paper crown as well…..we all wear ours throughout dinner…. I got a pirate eye patch…fitting I thought : )
I can’t remember what this dessert is called but it was fantastic! Almost like a meringue pie of sort with fresh berries.
Another scrumptious dessert with lemon jello, sponge cake, and a whipped topping….yummmm!

Lisa and Jake were kind enough to bring some stuff for our boat in an extra suitcase…it was a big hassle for them and we are so appreciate for them to have gone through all the little steps to get us these items….this was our Christmas presents to each other…or really for the boat!  Thank you Lisa and Jake for doing all this for us : )

Notice the Spark Drone….yeah…Trevor couldn’t resist…it’s his present for the next year to come….. the next morning he was like a little kid…at 6 am all the parts and pieces were out on the table and he was putting it all together…and then when he finally got it set up…out he was flying it about the marina to test it out.

It is truly amazing to be able to spend this holiday season with family and meeting new family as well.  We know it takes a lot of resources to come to see us in New Zealand are so blessed to have Jake and his family here and of course..my beloved sister!  We love you and words can’t express how much it means to us that you are here with us!

We of course miss the rest of our families too!  And all of our friends back home…. We wish you all the very best Holiday and hope this new years brings joy, health, and lots of adventure…whatever that may be for you!

Lisa, Me, Trevor, and Jake at the Marina when they picked us up for Christmas… We love you!


  1. Oh my!! I haven’t seen you or Lisa for so long, especially Lisa!! Hugs to you all and I do hope we will get to see each other again before too long. I am curious to hear what adventures you are planning for 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! Congratulations to Lisa on her engagement too!

    1. I know..it has been forever!!!! I will pass on your kind words and hope you and your family bring in the new year with lots of love! Hope to see you sooner than later ; )

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