It’s come to my attention over the years that you either get the country or you don’t.
I lived in Hong Kong once, on the eighteenth floor of an apartment complex with a whiff of industrial waste on the breeze…
and a view through the smog of the planes coming in to land at the old Kai Tak airport.
I met a guy called Dave, who came from one of England’s grittier northern cities and was fascinated to learn there was more than one kind of sheep. Dave loved Hong Kong. I didn’t.
I couldn’t understand what you were supposed to do in the place. Okay, there were shops and bars and clubs, but what about the rest of the time? (After a night out with Dave I learned that you spent the rest of the time recovering sufficiently to do it again, but that’s another story.)
Dave couldn’t understand what there was to do in New Zealand. And that, I realised, more than our accents and our passports, was the true cultural divide between us.
I lived in other big cities after Hong Kong, and I learned to love the bright lights and the buzz, but really, I was only ever a tourist.
Home was always somewhere else, somewhere with a bigger sky. Somewhere you could watch the sun go down and the stars come out over country where depending on your point of view – there was nothing and everything to do.
Holly Ford grew up in a farming community in the Hokonui Hills in the South Island of New Zealand. Having lived and worked on three continents, she returned to her own patch of land in rural New Zealand, which she now shares with her family, an ever-increasing population of magpies and hares, and the occasional vacationing dairy cow. Her bestselling novels, packed with gutsy women who aren’t afraid to take what they want and men who are worth their trouble, celebrate life and love in some of the world’s most rugged country: the vast, spectacular mountain farms that form the backbone of New Zealand.