Pick a destination (preferably a special location like the Waitomo Caves, Pancake Rocks, Ninety Mile Beach or Golden Bay), pile everyone into the car and head off on an adventure. Take Twisties and Cheezels to snack on, put on the Great New Zealand Songbook CD and crank up the Split Enz and Crowded House songs. Play I Spy and don’t forget to stop for a hokey pokey ice cream on the way!
We’re surrounded by beautiful bush in this country – there are even pockets of bush with easy walking tracks in our big cities. Look out for native birds and trees – some tracks have plaques pointing out local flora. Take your togs if the bush borders a beach or has a stream where you can go swimming. Go on a farm visit and feed baby lambs. Check out the Department of Conservation’s website for ideas and tips on where to go – visit doc.govt.nz.
You can’t beat a good old fashioned Kiwi knees-up. Get everyone to bring a plate – suggest cheerios and tomato sauce, pineapple and cheese on toothpicks, sausage rolls, asparagus rolls, cheese rolls, chips with dip made from reduced cream and onion soup, lamingtons and Pavlova. Serve Lemon & Paeroa. Have a lolly scramble for the kids and play favourite Kiwi music like DD Smash, Bic Runga, The Exponents, Fat Freddy’s Drop, the Feelers, Che Fu, John Rowles and Hello Sailor. Make sure you invite someone who can play the guitar so you can have a singalong, and include at least one rousing rendition of Ten Guitars.
These don’t have to be expensive. Lay a sheet of tarpaulin in the garden, run the hose over it and you’ve got a water slide. Spend the day at the beach swimming, making sandcastles, playing cricket and eating fish and chips out of the paper on the sand. Turn off the TV at night and play cards or charades. Go cycling together.
Get out the Edmonds Cookery Book and bake some family favourites such as Afghans, Anzac biscuits, hokey pokey biscuits and cheese scones.
Every kid should have a childhood that includes Hairy Maclary and other iconic characters from Kiwi books. Introduce little ones to books by Lynley Dodd, Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Pamela and Richard Wolfe, Betty and Alan Gilderdale, and Dorothy Butler. Older readers should check out Kate de Goldi, Tessa Duder, Maurice Gee, VM Jones, David Hill, Barbara Else and Ted Dawe.