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What Kiwi stars will be doing this summer

On the road with the stars!

In New Zealand, we’re lucky to have such beautiful places to spend our down time. Five favourite faces explain what summer means to them and where they’ll be spending their vacations

Barbara Kendall

Olympic windsurfing champion & company director

One place you can be guaranteed to find Barbara Kendall during the summer is in the ocean. “For me, summer is about being anywhere near the beach and being able to play in the ocean. Preferably with good waves!” she says.

“Hopefully, we can get away on our boat, and meet up with our friends family on their boats on the Hauraki Gulf. We’ll go diving, windsurfing, surfing and foiling.”

The Olympic gold medallist, 54, says she’s happy wherever she is in the summer, as long as it includes four essential ingredients. “Living very simply, barbecues at night, playing in the ocean and with good company, telling stories around the campfire.”

She says if she only had a few days for her holiday, she would fly to Great Barrier Island, and get straight into camping, tramping and surfing.

And if it rains, she is quite happy to put on her raincoat, go dance in the rain and walk through the bush.

“Summer, for me, is all about freedom, nature, adventure, pōhutukawa trees, sun, sand, salt, family, friends, boats, surf, fishing, diving, exploring and laughter,” she enthuses.

Barbara can remember as a child going to sleep when she was tired and waking up when she was ready, then putting on her togs and being in them all day.

“We would play in, on and around the ocean, then a fish would be smoked on the beach after a good day’s fishing,” she recalls.

Barbara’s New Year’s resolution is to focus on her health and wellbeing, which is “very relevant for my golden years!”

And this year, she is looking forward to reaching some significant targets for the company she directs.

Arria is a software business that transforms structured data into natural language through algorithms and modelling.

“I’m really looking forward to that.”

“Time with whānau is rare and precious, and I’ll make the most of it wherever we are able to spend it.”

Marama Davidson

Co-leader of the Green Party

A trip north to the Hokianga is usually on the cards for Marama Davidson, 47, and her family for the summer holidays, but this year, she may stay home in Auckland.

“I always try to take the whānau to my homeland in the Hokianga to unplug. It’s a very rural, isolated and beautiful tūrangawaewae, and we get to reconnect with nature and our whakapapa,” explains Marama.

“But it is also at risk of Covid-19 in terms of lower vaccination rates, poorer housing conditions, the normal health accessibility issues in rural areas and a high prevalence of health-compromised whānau. So, my first priority will be to keep them safe and not create unnecessary travel or burden on their infrastructure.”

Marama, whose second mokopuna Ariya arrived just in time for Christmas, says it’s another reason to stay in the City of Sails.

“I may want to just relish my time with my loved ones at home over summer,” she shares. “Time with whānau is rare and precious, and I’ll make the most of it wherever we are able to spend it.”

The one thing Marama plans to do no matter where she ends up is to do “absolutely nothing!”

“Doing nothing is such a treat. Sleeping, reading a book, swimming, eating. Easy, low-key things.”

Her favourite childhood summer memory is of being in the Hokianga with wild nature everywhere.

“The fact they are my whakapapa means my descendants and I also belong to those rivers, mountains and seas.”

The other aim Marama has for summer is sleeping.

“I’m starting to see my own pattern here,” she laughs. “I also enjoy catching up with my parents and my siblings, and their tamariki. And lots of yummy eating and barbecues at home. Nature always – sea, river, bush – all of it.”

Marama says she stopped making New Year’s resolutions decades ago, but she does try to set goals for the year ahead. “They’re always aroha-driven: aroha to the planet, aroha to the whānau, aroha in my mahi for the people.”

“I can’t wait to show everybody what we’ve been working on.”

Ryan Bridge

AM show host

It’s all about getting wet for Ryan Bridge during the summer. “Mum always took us swimming. The river, the beach, the pool. She always says, ‘You never regret a swim’ and I have not regretted one single swim in my life,” he says.

And rain won’t put the presenter off making a splash and enjoying himself.

These holidays, the 33-year-old is heading to his partner’s family for a break. “It’s been a tough but rewarding year.”

Summer means being a “proper human” for Ryan.

“It means exploring this beautiful country, sitting on the beach, then swimming, then sitting on the beach again.”

One thing Ryan hates, however, is being in a rush.

“If I only had three days away, I would spend two nights exploring but always come back for the last night at home. I hate being rushed on that last day of holiday.”

His favourite vacation spots are Coromandel and the Far North.

“Both are stunning and tropical, and give you a feeling of being somewhere very far away.”

He’s also made a New Year’s resolution to see more of his family and take a big breath before he heads back to work on February 8.

“It’s going to be an exciting start to the year,” he enthuses. “We are launching a brand-new TV show. It’s a total break from what viewers have been used to over the past few years on Three and I can’t wait to show everybody what we’ve been working on.”

Jennifer Ludlam

Shortland Street

When you live on gorgeous Waiheke Island, it’s easy to believe that you are always summer holiday, tells Jennifer Ludlam. But this summer, she will be leaving the idyllic Auckland island to head home.

“I will travel to my hometown of Taumarunui to see family. I also plan to spend quality time with friends who are visiting from abroad,” she says.

Jennifer has fond memories as a child of her family loading up the car in Taumarunui and driving north to Auckland on long metal roads to holiday at the small coastal town of Mairangi Bay, as it was then.

When Jennifer is on vacation, she likes to let the days unfold. “It is so nice to not have a schedule, early starts or be learning lines!” she admits.

“I love to walk, swim and garden, and at the end of the day enjoy a nice glass of chardonnay and watch the sun set.”

When she has a three-day weekend, she will often get on the car ferry from Waiheke and drive the coastal road to Coromandel, head to Raglan or in the other direction to Leigh. And she doesn’t mind if it rains this summer either.

“It would be a little cruel, but personally, I would be delighted because it would mean my water tank is full, the garden is watered, and I would just put a raincoat on and go for a walk!”

Jennifer has never made a New Year’s resolution, but if she had to make one, it would be to say “yes” more often. “And to remember to reach out to friends to check in. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own life at times.”

She feels blessed to live in New Zealand, but she is sure she is not alone when she says she hopes she can travel overseas again.

“I have spent a lot of time over the years travelling through Bali and Asia, which feel like a second home. I have made many friends there, so it would be nice to be able to safely visit again.”

“Wherever makes you happy, and wherever you’re able to relax and reset, is most definitely the best place to spend summer”

Jeanette Thomas

Host of The Breeze Breakfast

When you get up every morning at 3.30am, summer break a chance to catch up on a year’s worth of missed sleep for radio host Jeanette Thomas.

“It’s the longest break I get during the year, so it’s a chance to fully rest for the year ahead,” she admits.

And that means heading to Great Barrier Island, which she says “generally involves lots of laying around, doing absolutely nothing, which sounds pretty perfect”.

Hahei, in the Coromandel, is another beautiful spot she loves.

“Wherever makes you happy, and wherever you’re able to relax and reset, is most definitely the best place to spend summer,” she asserts.

One of Jeanette’s favourite childhood memories was heading to the East Coast for her first proper summer holiday in 1984.

“My mum took us kids there and we borrowed a caravan to do it. My memories are of sun, surf and sand – a quintessential Kiwi summer during the good ol’ days,” she says.

If the 49-year-old only had three days for a holiday, there are four things she would insist on doing. “A swim at the beach, barbecue with friends, a pink gin on the deck and a big, long walk with the dogs.”

And if it rained, well, then there would be some grumpiness and a lot of Netflix watched.

Jeanette has never been one for New Year’s resolutions, but she is looking forward to having her work colleagues back in the office in 2022.

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