New Zealand

New Zealand remains one of my favourite places in the world, hands down. My first trip there was to film a television show, where I met a woman in Rotorua who offered up some genuine Kiwi hospitality, which I immediately took her up on, as well as visiting with other friends near Auckland.
I later volunteered in trade for free accommodation at a beautiful retreat centre that I returned to many times over the next couple of years. All in all I spent a cumulative nine months in New Zealand.

Singing, Performing, Traveling, and Chasing Passion


Chasing Passion: This is the story of how a little girl who sang into her pillow growing up is learning to sing to the world. (Or maybe just a bigger pillow). Both of my parents are musicians. Growing up, we lived in a two-bedroom apartment with two pianos; often one … Read More

Driving Creek Railway: A Different Kind of Train

Driving Creek Railway

With 16,000kms of Australia’s rail lines under my (slightly maniacal) rail-enthusiastic belt, I recently conquered the formidable train infrastructure on New Zealand’s Coromandel peninsula: all 2.6kms of it. It’s Called Driving Creek Railway. But this 2.6km train journey has a story all its own; one of art, conservation, and engineering. … Read More

Crater Walking on Mount Tarawera, New Zealand

Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, at the crater rim of Mt Tarawera volcano in New Zealand

“We’re going to WHAT?!” a fellow hiker said in disbelief when we looked at the massive volcanic crater of Mount Tarawera that we would shortly descend into – and back out of – in the next few hours. I could hardly believe my own eyes, but you know me: I’m … Read More

Mana Retreat Centre: Video

Having written enthusiastically about living at Mana Retreat Centre and learning the art of meditation, you’ll know that  I’m a big fan of Mana Retreat Centre and its unbelievably beautiful vistas! Please enjoy this video that encapsulates the beauty and energy of Mana Retreat Centre and the Corormandel peninsula in … Read More

Sister Shalom, and the Art of Meditation

the art of meditation

Sister Shalom, a short woman clad in Buddhist robes and headdress, is standing silently in front of a candle as we walk into her garden on this dark night and take our places across from her. Her bright eyes and mouth are only the surface expression of her smile, which … Read More

Living at Mana Retreat

Living at Mana Retreat

For the last month, I’ve been working in trade for my accommodation at a little piece of paradise in New Zealand: It’s called Mana Retreat. I’ve just left (ready for my next adventure), and I’m already working out how and when I will come back. This post was originally published … Read More

Maori Culture in New Zealand

Maori culture: While visiting Rotorua (both as part of shooting the tv show – as well as subsequent visits when staying with friends), I had the opportunity to visit two Maori villages and cultural shows. One was Tamaki Maori Village, and the other was Mitai Maori Village. Both were very … Read More

Adventures at Agroventures

As I mentioned in my week-in-the-life of shooting a tv show post, one of the adventures we got to experience was a half day at Agroventures (now known as Velocity Valley). It’s best described as an adult playground, with a collection of fun activities that will get the adrenalin pumping. … Read More

Helicopters, Sledges, and Jet Boats: Oh My!

We really had no idea what lay in store for us when we were driven to Kaitiaki Adventures headquarters for the day. This post was originally published in 2010. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. Our small television crew of three were cordially received by … Read More

My New Zealand Introduction

New Zealand kiwis

Kia Ora from New Zealand! (“Kia ora” means hello, goodbye, thanks, you’re welcome, ta, have a nice day, pleasure to meet you, and just about any other friendly expression you can think of in the native New Zealand language and culture of Maori). Actually to be fair, by the time … Read More