Celebrity News

What Kiwi stars are looking forward to these holidays

Holiday plans are go!

As many families are finally able to reconnect for Christmas after a year of ups and downs, the Weekly asked six of our best-known Kiwis to share their holiday plans

Kerre McIvor: Kai, kids & kayaks!

There have been quite a few Christmas Days in NewstalkZB host Kerre McIvor’s life, but she thinks this one will be her most memorable because she is living with her daughter Kate, son-in-law Ranko and her two grandchildren, Bart and Dora.

“We are living in our new home as a blended, multigenerational family and that will make Christmas very special,” she says. “We’ll get my mum up from Hamilton, then we will have four generations under one roof and that will be the icing on top of the Christmas cake.”

Kerre, 56, has already bought a kayak for the kids to enjoy on the water, but mostly she just wants to spend time with her beloved grandkids.

“I want to play in the backyard with their new toys, just enjoying time with them, going at their pace,” she tells. “I don’t care

about expensive presents or lavish feasts – it’s about the people on Christmas Day. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.”

A family tradition on Christmas is all about the tree. “We tend to make a big deal about going to select the Christmas tree, then Kate always decorates it to her favourite Christmas carols. I have no doubt we’ll be doing that this year,” says Kerre. “I do like carols as opposed to Christmas songs and my favourite is Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

“I also like to go to midnight mass if we’re celebrating Christmas in the Hokianga – the cattle really are lowing on Christmas Eve, given that the service is often in a tiny old church in the middle of a paddock.”

Kerre says she’s received some wonderful presents over the years – first-edition books, thoughtful home-made books with old photos and memories, and photo albums.

“I once got an iron for Christmas from Kate’s dad when I was hugely pregnant with her. That particular present was not well received.”

Christmas morning will start with Kerre’s signature smoked salmon and caviar blinis with Mimosas. “Our lunchtime feast is always ham and Mum’s special recipe trifle. However, Kate got good at that while she was in London, so maybe she can do that this year.”

Kiri Allan: Whānau, whisky & waiata

It’s been a huge year for Labour MP Kiri Allan, who had treatment for cervical cancer and worked hard to keep the country safe in a year dominated by Covid-19.

So Christmas this year will be time to be with the people she loves.

“My daughter, partner, parents, siblings, cuzzies – the whole crew!” she says. She’s looking forward to seeing her Auckland-based parents, too.

And on Christmas Day, Kiri will be partaking in her annual ocean dive.

Kiri’s most memorable Christmas was her daughter Hiwaiterangi’s first proper


“We dressed her up as a baby Santa and watched her grandparents giggle with her all day as she jingled like a little reindeer,”recalls Kiri.

Her childhood Christmases also involved laughter shared with her cousins.

“We would be at Nana and Grandpa’s house in our papakainga, with all the cousins there, watching the aunties move, sing and create magic for our Christmas feast.”

These days, Kiri contributes to the feast with her signature dish – ceviche.

“I do it every year and there’s always a bit of tension between the aunties who do a traditional raw fish with coconut cream and me. I love the zest and spice of a great lime and chilli-inspired ceviche, so I always add it to the table – and it’s always smashed!”

Later in the evening, a family tradition involves whisky.

“There comes a time in the evening where we always have a blind single malt tasting – an annual highlight.”

Kiri’s most cherished Christmas gift was a Polaroid camera, which lived around her neck for the entire summer.

“It was a super-cool, old-school Polaroid and I took copious amounts of photos that were processed in real time.”

Playing in the background on the big day will be Kiri’s favourite Christmas song, 35 by Rob Ruha and Ka Hao.

Kura Forrester: Partying to Mariah!

Christmas Day is best shared with anyone who makes you happy, says Shortland Street actress Kura Forrester.

“I find having my nieces and nephews around really helps make it feel extra special these days,” she says. “I’ve spent the year feeling so grateful for my work, my friends, my health and my family.”

And on the day, she has found the magic formula for a good Christmas is good company, with a few extra things on the side.

“I love ambrosia pudding, Mimosas, day naps, laughter and love!”

Kura’s most memorable Christmas was spent in London – the only Christmas she has ever spent away from home.

“My one and only ‘orphans’ Christmas was spent with a bunch of friends at the pub having a classic white Christmas. It was super-fun.”

When it comes to Christmas gifts, Kura remembers thinking that Santa was amazing for knowing that she and her siblings needed boogie boards when she was a child.

“We all got them, and I just thought it was so cool and so amazing that Santa knew just what to get. Magical!”

These days, the perfect Christmas gift for Kura is perfume, although her sister got her some Adidas slides last year that she lives in.

“We have a family tradition of doing Secret Santa, but we always end up telling each other who we have before the day. It’s a tradition to do that.”

This Christmas, Kura, 36, is experimenting with making the entree for her family, which involves cranberries and camembert. “I’m working on baked camembert with cranberry and bacon stuffed into puff pastry – delicious.”

And the music she will choose to play her nieces and nephews will be Mariah Carey.

“Mariah. Always Mariah Carey and it will be All I Want for Christmas is You!”

Kura says she’s had a great year in 2021 and is hoping that 2022 brings a few more hugs, kisses and parties.

Robert Rakete: Babies & barbecue

It’s a special Christmas for Breeze Breakfast co-host Robert Rakete this year as he has a new mokopuna to fuss over.

“It’s been a long time since we had a baby on our lap at Christmas time and our granddaughter, Te Raumawhitu, will be three months old, so that’ll be an extra-special time,” says Robert. “But we’ll still be leaving room to make a fuss of the big kids too!”

Robert, 55, says there are three things he needs to have for a good Christmas Day and that’s whānau, ambrosia pudding* and an afternoon siesta.

He and his wife Nikki also wear matching outfits on the day. “Such a joy – for us,” he laughs.

Robert recalls waiting patiently as a child on Christmas morning for his mum and dad to wake up.

“I would walk past the sitting room, door slightly open, with a fleeting view of the tree to see if there were

any presents underneath it. We had to wait for Mum and Dad to say it was okay to go in.”

His eyes light up as he remembers his favourite gift, which was a toy “Smash’Em Up” stock car.

“When the car hit the wall, the doors, bonnet and boot flew off . It was hours of fun, until you lost the doors, bonnet and the boot.”

This Christmas, the Rakete clan will be listening to Robert’s favourite song, Darlene Love’s All Alone On Christmas on repeat while he tries to cook up a storm on the barbecue.

“I burn stuff on the barbecue,” he admits. “I don’t eat meat and have no right being in charge of one.”

As he heads into the new year, Robert says he’s been incredibly lucky in 2021.

“I still left home and went to work, and this year Te Raumawhitu was born,” he shares.

“Next year, I’m looking forward to hugging our family and friends whenever we want!”

Simon Bridges: Snoopy, snowmen & socialising

National MP Simon Bridges says when it comes to Christmas, it’s his wife Natalie who keeps the spirit going for his whānau.

“Natalie loves Christmas,” says Simon, 45, who withdrew his interest in leading the National Party at a late stage last week. “She generally starts playing Spotify lists of Christmas music in the car and house a month or more before the big day.”

Their favourite tune is Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, which is her best song by a mile, says Simon, although his children prefer Snoopy’s Christmas, which he can’t stand.

Simon’s favourite memory is the first Christmas he and Natalie had when they moved into their first proper house together, at Mount Maunganui.

“We hadn’t started a family yet, but cooked a big meal as if we had. It was a beautiful day, just the two of us, and after a beach swim and a big roasted lunch, the red wine made us sleepy, so we spent most of the rest of the day sleeping on the carpet before waking up for Christmas movies in the evening. It was bliss – a great romantic Christmas, pre-kids!”

Simon has fond memories of being the youngest of six children, sitting down to a family meal with tables pushed together, but his best childhood memory is a present he got.

“It’s not very PC, but one year I got a large plastic machine gun, and I used it a heap over the next few years playing war and rescue missions with mates around the neighbourhood. Even as bits of plastic broke off, I loved that toy.”

This year, the “tight crew” of Simon, Natalie, and children Emlyn, Harry and Jemima will be sitting down to ham or turkey cooked by Natalie, with a bit of red meat barbecued by Simon.

Simon says Natalie is starting a new tradition this year, with Christmas carols at the local church on Christmas Eve, then about 40 friends around to their house for ham rolls and a drink or two.

“In recent years, we’ve had close friends over on Christmas morning for bubbly and salmon bagels, and we might do it again,” he tells.

Another family tradition is Natalie and her Christmas decorations and ornaments.

“Every year, for about 10 years now, she has purchased something new for our home. While they started simply, they’ve become more and more elaborate in recent years, from moving carnival scenes to snowmen with circulating snow. I’m beginning to worry we’ll run out of room.”

Nadia Lim: Food, glorious food

A relaxed attitude and some cheesy Christmas music are the two things celebrity chef Nadia Lim needs to have a good Christmas.

“It’s nice to have as much family around as possible, but if they can’t make it, that is all good, we can catch up on any other day of the year!” she shares.

Nadia, 35, says one of the nicest Christmas times she has had was when she had a surprise cupcake reveal on Christmas Eve. “I made cupcakes and one had blue in it to reveal Bodhi, our oldest, was going to be a boy.”

As a child, she recalls being allowed to stay up late on Christmas Eve, making and wrapping presents “almost always food-related” for everyone.

And when it came to gifts, Nadia’s great-aunty wins the prize for best-present ever. Nadia explains, “When I was about five years old, my great-aunty Cath gave me a pillowcase filled with scrap pieces and off cuts of fabric from things she had made. I loved it and attempted to make fairy clothes with it.

“It’s a good example of gifts that don’t have to be expensive, and you can be resourceful and creative with what you have.”

It comes as no surprise that Nadia’s family Christmas tradition involves food, specifically tiramisu.

“It’s my signature dish for Christmas Day and is usually eaten on Boxing Day as well!”

She says her family also sticks to sustainable gifts that can either be eaten, grown, read or have an everyday use.

And as for cheesy Christmas music, Nadia’s favourite track is Frank Sinatra’s Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

As she heads into 2022, the MasterChef turned farmer hopes that life will be a bit less frantic.

“But it looks like it’s going to be anything but with what is planned!”

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