Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All Is Forgiven

I've had a love/hate relationship with New Zealand for over 30 years. Although unfairly deserved by them for the most part - I've now forgiven them for past trangressions, mainly for producing an ex-husband & his very 'unusual' family! From my first trip there as an 18 year old backpacker, it has always bowled me over with its beauty & diversity. And I've seen it grow from a sleepy backwater with no confidence in its abilities, to a vibrant, sophisticated country full of a confident self-assurance that makes me positively bubble up with pride & emotion.

One of New Zealand's greatest icons is the Kiwi bach. When I lived there in the late 70's as a very young new bride, they were all a bit of a mystery. Some Friday nights, Husband # 1 used to head off 'Over The Rimutakas' from Wellington to spend the weekend with his uncles in their bach. What they did there I was never quite sure, but it definitely had the Secret Men's Business thing happening. It took me quite some time to 'get' that a bach was the Aussie equivalent of a shack or an American cabin.

Wiki says 'Bach pronounced Batch (or a Crib in the South Island), is the name given in New Zealand to structures akin to small, often very modest holiday homes or beach houses. They are an iconic part of New Zealand history and culture, especially in the middle of the 20th century, where they symbolized the beach holiday lifestyle that was becoming more accessible to the middle class.'

'Bach was originally short for bachelor pad, but actually they often tended to be a family holiday home. Baches started to became very popular in the 1950s, as better roads and more available cars allowed family beach holidays, often to the same beach every year, and hence to the construction of a bach in that spot. One humorous definition of the bach is 'something you built yourself, on land you don't own, out of materials you borrowed or stole.'

This is a current offering of a Kiwi bach - on gorgeous Waiheke Island close to Auckland. It's a beauty & yet unpretentious & welcoming. I hope you agree. I know for sure I'll get some comments from my dear NZ friends - be kind now!!

Images: SVB


  1. oh, would love to be curled up with a book and lemonade by the outdoor fireplace. just gorgeous!

    loved your alice story, millie. here's to finding your wings. i was a late bloomer... found mine when i was thrust into a sea of 35,000 at college and knew i'd have to make myself known in order to swim not sink.

    i'm busily searching, seeking, hunting for my heart photo. pam

  2. Aah yes, the good old kiwi bach! Sadly the genuine baches are disappearing as coastal land becomes valuable and are being replaced by "holiday homes"... a flash home away from home!
    We all still covet the simple, humble bach - probably even more so when times are a bit depressed like now!
    PS - don't let 1 kooky family put you off kiwis!!

  3. Well there you go, didn't know that!

    I could lay around for hours in photo number one!xx

    ps had a giggle over your comment

  4. Hi Millie,

    I felt I just had to leave a comment on your "Alice" story. I thought it was very beautiful and really struck a chord with me. I think we can all look back and see the little girl in all of us and then history repeats itself with our children as we try to give them self confidence and guide them through the mine-field that is called "life". Always love your stories and "call in" often! Hope you are feeling better within yourself. I don't have my own blog, as I'm very new to computers but I love all the blogs that I visit, every one is so nice.

    Have a wonderful day, the sun is shining here - can't help but smile...

    N.W. Coast Tasmania

  5. Janine, what a lovely comment, thank you so much! Yes, I'm really starting to feel my old self again, will know more when I see the Surgeon again next month. You are a very welcome visitor, I hope one day you can join this amazing community with your own blog. Let me know if I can help if you decide to go ahead.
    Millie ^_^

  6. pretty cool, building something out of nothing on something you don't own.

    i am moving to NZ!!


  7. When I first saw the pictures I thought that it belonged to you....had virtually written the email...telling you how wonderful you beautiful...what a wonderful writer...and mother...and wife...hoping you might invite me over from England to miss our winter and enjoy this wonderful bach that you ' own ' and then I read the text...Damm!!!!XXXX

  8. Oh , by the way Millie... did I mention that I was off to Amalfi ???

  9. I'm one of those lucky enough to have been holidaying at the same little beach, in the 'kiwi bach', every summer since I was about 5 years old. At first we borrowed other bachs, then my Dad built our bach, 10 years ago Brunnel & I had the opportunity to buy our own just over the fence, & now my brother is building his own. The thing I love the most, apart from the beach & the bach & the bush, is that my girls are now growing up with the children of the children my brother & sister & I played with! I can never take our bach for granted, but count myself so so lucky to have this special place to visit. Amanda xx
    PS NZ - vibrant & sophiticated - high praise indeed!

  10. Hi Millie,

    I am really sorry that you had a bad experience with NZ.
    As Donna said, please do not let one kooky family put you off NZ and us kiwis.
    thankfully we are not all like that!

    I liked you post about the bach.
    It is amazing the prices they are going for on Waiheke Island.
    One bedroom ... that you could not swing a cat in, are going for about $300- $400 thousand.
    Gone are the days when you could pick up a little bach for about $6000.

    I hope that you are having a good Wednesday and I hope that we can still be blogging buddies.


  11. Looks lovely - one of these days I really must make the effort to check out NZ! So close and so pretty! Tracey xx

  12. I have been to NZ a few times and am always taken with its beauty. I could spend a few lazy days in this beach beauty! Ax

  13. It's quite a few years since we visited NZ - after seeing these beautiful photos I think a re-visit would be a great idea. Leigh

  14. I will go there one day. Maybe we could vacation together and watch beautiful sunsets and eat wonderful food while Jason and MOTH can exchange power tool stories. Sounds like a great time. Love ya, Heidi

  15. What a great place to relax. Love the bunk beds.

  16. And I thought Bach was just a clever composer...I do love a bit of Bach and your pics are no exception, xv.

  17. Darling Millie your comments are spot on :) I'm glad you have fallen back in love with NZ, its hard not too

  18. Millie I am one of the NZ'ers who grew up with bach holidays. My early years we rented a bach in the MarlboroughSounds every January for 3 weeks, then just as we were nearing our teens my parents bought a place in the Pelorus Sounds, so the holidays were more frequent and continued until my own children came along. These holidays left us with amazing memories, wonderful times!!!

  19. Spectacular. I felt transported looking at these photos. Thank you!


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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