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Last Friday my second son and his eldest daughter who is visiting from Australia drove up from Ngaruawahia for an overnight stay. After several days of wind and rain the weather had settled and so the three of us headed out to Te Henga for an evening of live music, good locally-produced food from the Bethells café and a stroll down to the beach. There were ageing hippies, young hippies, ordinary folk, children and dogs all enjoying a magical early summer evening at the beach.

In the 1970s and 80s my children spent many summers being taken out to Te Henga for picnic lunches, or BBQ dinners over open fires with many of our friends, so this is a very special place with lots of happy memories for our family. It was therefore important to me to go there with my 15-year-old granddaughter.

The following morning my son took some photos of grandma and granddaughter underneath the pohutukawa tree that was planted on one corner of the section of the property over 40 years ago. This year it is spectacularly in flower which comes complete with the buzzing of hundreds of bees which can be heard from sun-up to sundown. Given it had very few blooms last year this year’s brilliant red extravagance is most welcome.

Before they left I began planning for my granddaughter’s next trip across the ditch for her sister’s 9th birthday in April, and for another special place that I would like to take them both to.