Friday 27 November 2015, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith
Tea Tree and Touch Downs
International airline pilot turned Whitianga farmer Nicholas Murray Leslie thought he wanted to be a doctor.
He'd grown up in the U.K, his father had been to war and didn't have the money to put young Nicolas through medical school.
So Nicholas' father asked his seven Scottish uncles, who were well-respected Edinburgh doctors, if they could help out.
"They had a kind of committee meeting.... and they came back to my father and they said 'Well it's a pity that your son Nicky is not a bit brighter but we cannae waste our money."
Nicholas says he's glad they made that decision.
"The best thing that ever happened was (for me) to go to work in the mines at Huntly and pay for my education as a pilot."
Nicholas came to New Zealand by ship in 1955. He was 20, had one pound in his pocket and the promise of a job in Taranaki as a herd tester. His next position was driving bulldozers at the coal mines in Huntly; a dangerous job with long hours but one that paid well well enough for Nicolas to be able to afford flying lessons.
Once he qualified as a commercial pilot, he worked for NAC and Bay of Plenty Airways before landing a job with Qantas and moving up the ranks to become a 747 captain.
He'd fly over the Coromandel Peninsula on his way into New Zealand, look down and think it was a beautiful part of the world.
For 30 years now Nicolas has been based on his organic sheep and beef farm just out of Whitianga where he also has a tea tree oil production business.
Manuka and Kanuka is harvested from the property, the oil is distilled on site and is exported around the world.
Carrots and garlic are Shaun McVicker's bread and butter.
He grows certified organic vegetables on his fertile property in Clinton, South Otago.
Originally a derelict sheep farm when he bought it 14 years ago, the land has been successfully converted to a well organised market garden that grows over 60 varieties of chemical free vegetables.
Shaun grows five kilometres of carrots a year which equates to a yield of roughly 100 kilograms a week. Each year between 25 and 30 thousand garlic cloves are dug up and keep the Dunedin Farmers' Market supplied year round. Beetroot, lettuce, zucchinis and capsicums are other important cash crops.
The Dunedin Farmers' Market has been the cornerstone of Shaun's business since he gained organic certification. As well as supplying vegetables throughout the year, he also sells Wairuna salads, organic herbal teas, spices, seeds, herbal oils and vinegars at the market.
Most of the workforce on Shaun's farm are WWOOFers or Willing Workers On Organic Farms. There are always at least a dozen WWOOFers on the farm from all over the world. They work about 4 hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation. Most of their time is spent weeding, harvesting and cleaning the fresh produce.
Shaun admits that after adding up all the hours of back breaking work, having an organic market garden is probably not the best money earner but he's happy none-the-less. "We make an okay living but we have brilliant lifestyle, so I'll choose the lifestyle over the money any day!" he says.
A Warm Wairoa Welcome
Angie Whitworth thinks she is living in absolute paradise.
And she'd like other people to come on over.
She lives in Wairoa, in Northern Hawkes Bay - a town with a population of just over 4,000 and where you can buy a house for less than $100,000.
Angie owns a busy cafe on Wairoa's main street and is part of Upstream Wairoa, a group formed to promote business in the town.
The says with the projects Upstream Wairoa has in place, "It really feels like Wairoa is on an up."
The Gaiety movie theatre has re-opened and now plays block-buster movies. A taxi service has started in Wairoa and recently a florist shop opened its doors.
Markets are held regularly to entice people from surrounding areas to come to town; lights now illuminate the town's bridge and banners flutter across it.
There are lots of empty shops in the main street but an 'art in empty places' project is underway to make them worth a visit anyway.
In summer, Wairoa will host another Hummer of a Summer, a string of events co-ordinated to showcase the area as a summer destination.
Upstream Wairoa is also promoting tourism, the region's beaches, hot pools and Lake Waikaremoana.
Alex Powdrell is also part of the group and says it needs to get the word out that Wairoa is the gateway to the Lake Waikaremoana walk.
"In the North Island people fly south to do one of the Great Walks down there without realising they have actually have one on their door step."
Alex says Wairoa is a wonderful spot to bring up a family.
"There's nowhere else in my mind that would give me the lifestyle that we currently lead for affordability..so we're living the life of kings in a beautiful little town raising beautiful families."
Michelle Thompson is Chief Executive of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHANZ). The Alliance is working with rural health professionals and industry and community groups on suicide prevention strategies and to break down the urban/rural divide.
The cherry harvest has started in Hawkes Bay and all North Island regions are feeling a little better after good rain last weekend. At the top of the South Island, the huge forest fire In Marlborough is an indication of just how dry conditions are with summer not yet started.