Rhythm and Vines  

Rhythm and Vines is a record breaking three day international festival which is held very close to the city of Gisborne on the North Island. It occurs every year between the 29th and the 31st of December as a celebration to end off the year and also to be the first music festival in the world to witness the first sunrise of the year, and as the East Cape experiences some of the warmest and most stable weather in all of New Zealand, there are very high chances of seeing the sunrise in the middle of summer. This year it will be at Waiohika Estate, Gisborne, NZ | 28-31 December 2018

in 2010 the festival was awarded the Best Event at the New Zealand Tourism Awards, and has since been growing in popularity and size with new extensions and ideas being introduced almost every year. It has gained a lot of international recognition as the website reports that 11% of all their ticket sales are for an international audience and from people travelling from abroad to attend.
The festival started in 2003 as a small gathering of university students trying to celebrate the New Year. Three friends from the University of Otago - Hamish Pinkham, Tom Gibson and Andrew Witters - started a party on the Waiohika Estate, which was originally Witters' family home, and they set up a stage which wax headlined by The Black Seeds. The event was attended by 1,800 guests. As it was so successful, they decided to do it again in 2004, only they added a second stage and had an attendance of 5,500 people instead. In 2005 they opened a new Rhythm stage arena, and hosted New Zealand's favourite reggae group Fat Freddy's Drop. By 2007, the festival contained four music stages and an attendance of 15,000 people.
As the festival kept growing in size, the organisers decided to extend the event to three days, which helped to obtain overseas recognition from bands taking part in international touring programmes. World renowned acts such as Public Enemy and Franz Ferdinand started attending the festival, allowing it to establish itself further and to keep growing. To date, the festival entertains over 25,000 people every year.
The music on show covers a wide variety of genres and styles. Obviously there is a large focus on home grown talent, and previous talents include New Zealand electronic/indie giants The Naked and Famous who became especially popular with their hit “Young Blood” from their debut album, Fat Freddys Drop who play in an afro-cuban/reggae style, Broods with their dark and dreamy electro-pop, and Six60, who have played multiple times. There is also a lot of acts from New Zealand's neighbour, Australia, as the music of Pendulum and Chet Faker and other popular Australian artists often graces the stages. In more recent years, the festival has seen artists travelling from all over the world to perform, from Zane Lowe from the UK and Major Lazer from America. The line up for the following festival is announced around August every year on the official website (rhythmandvines.co.nz).
As the festival has been growing in size, it has started to introduce new ideas, besides adding more stages and larger artists, to give the festival an identity and to attract a more diverse crowd to the event. Since 2015, the festival has hosted Giggle and Vines, mixing some live stand up comedy into the mix. 2015 also saw some stunt motorcycle riders jumping across the main stage.
Running simultaneously to Rhythm and Vines is the partner festival Rhythm and Alps, held in the Cardrona Valley close to Wanaka and Queenstown on the South Island. This has been running since 2011 and is also growing in popularity, although still has a much smaller capacity and only runs over two days instead of three.
Rhythm and Vines is the biggest and best music festival in New Zealand, and we can only expect it to expand and extend it's horizons in years to come. It is the perfect event to immerse yourself in popular music and festival vibes, while also witnessing up and coming New Zealand artists and learning about the often suppressed New Zealand music scene. Day passes and multi-day camping passes are all available through the official website.

 

Pounamu  

The Maoris are excellent storytellers, and the stories and legends that have helped to shape the culture over time creating a fascinating world to immerse one's self in. All of the shapes and symbolism in Maori culture is very symbolic and everything has a reason.

Pounamu is the Maori name for what the New Zealanders call greenstone, and what is commonly referred to as jade. The stone has played an important part in the history and the culture of the Maori tribe, and has carved itself into modern Kiwi culture. Most New Zealanders will own a piece of pounamu, and seldom will they take it off, so much so that if you spot somebody with some greenstone around their neck abroad, chances are they will either be from New Zealand or that they have spent some time over there.
For the Maoris, it has been used to make weaponry and jewellery for centuries. The stone itself is very strong and has to be carved using diamond coated tools. As with everything, they have a story that describes it's origins. Waitaiki, a beautiful woman who was married to the Maori chief Tamaahua, caught the attention Poutini of the taniwha, which is a mythical dragon type creature that lives in the water. Poutini kidnapped Waitaiki and fled southwards from the Bay of Plenty towards the West Coast of the South Island, chased by Waitaiki's husband Tamaahua.
To keep her warm, Poutini lit fires that also left a trail for Tamaahua, in which he found a precious stone. Poutini was scared of his determined pursuer and took sanctuary on the West Coast, stopping in Milford Sound. Here, he decided that Tamaahua would not stop until he had taken back Waitaiki, and Poutini decided that the only way he could keep her was to turn her into stone, which is the pounamu that New Zealanders find on the West Coast. Poutini, upon discovering that the love of his life had been turned into stone, sang a song of sorrow, that some believe you can still hear resonating around the hills in Milford Sound if you listen very carefully.
The Maoris also believe that the stone, while absorbing some of the oils from somebody's skin, absorbs some of the person's essence. They believe that you are not supposed to buy it for yourself, but that instead you are supposed to buy it as a gift, and will usually wear the greenstone a little before giving it to the recipient to pass on some of their essence. It is considered a treasure, and the stone is actually protected by the Waitangi treaty. The most treasured stones are those with a long history of being passed down through generations, and are sometimes given as a gift when making important agreements.
The stone is usually carved into pendants of Maori symbolism. One popular example is the spiral, known as a Koru, which resembles a young silver fern about to unravel, and is lucky in new beginnings and change. Another is the little indigenous warrior, the Tiki, which is supposed to bring power and strength to those who wear it. It is also very common to see the fish hook, or Hei Matau, which also represents strength as well as safe passage across water. These symbols and shapes are also found in the indigenous buildings, in their tattoos, and in many other aspects of their culture.
The stone can only be found on the West Coast of the South Island, and is easiest to find on the rocky beaches and on the mountain stream riverbeds. As you are travelling down the West Coast there are a number of greenstone carving workshops and shops where you can find out more about the stone and it's place in Maori culture. It makes an excellent souvenir with a lot of personal meaning, and is something you can't find anywhere else in the world.
Next time you're on the West Coast, make sure to keep an eye on the stones under your feet in case you happen to come across some Pounamu, but also remember it's bad luck to hang onto your first piece and that you should pass it on as a gift.

 

Fast, affordable and very tasty  
Like every other big metropolis on the planet, Auckland has caught the street food bug pretty completely over the last few years. Now, locals love nothing more than hitting the food trucks, pop-up stalls and take away stands when it's time to chow down. Fancy joining them? Here's our guide to the best street treats in New Zealand's biggest city.
Saigonz
You'll find this little gem operating from a caravan in the Takapuna Markets, where you can pick up delicious pho, spring rolls and curries for a bargain price tag. The real menu highlight, however, is the mouth watering Vietnamese chicken salad. For those who prefer the restaurant experience (bores!), you can head to their permanent residence on Beach Street for a proper, sit down meal.
The FIRED Wood Oven Pizza Co.
Look out for this mobile eatery at any big event or festival held in the Auckland area. The brainchild of famed restaurateur Rob Roughan, it shows up wherever large groups of people congregate to serve delicious wood over pizza at extraordinary speeds – apparently it can fire off 175 pizzas an hour when it gets going. The best thing on the menu is the simple, classic margherita – a real treat for cheese lovers.
Torro Churro
Fancy something sweet and tasty? Then Sretko Nenadic's churro stall will be just the thing for you. It opens up at the Pakuranga and Glenfield night markets, the AUT campus, the Otara and Takapuna markets and appears every Friday at Silo, serving up sugary South American confections for hungry diners with a sweet tooth.
Marsella's Tacos
If you prefer something quick and tasty with a Mexican flavour, then Marsella's Tacos in the La Cigale Markets and Coatesville Markets will be a great choice. Run by the titular Californian chef, it serves up home-made tortillas stuffed with juicy meat and thick, delicious sauces. Plus there's all the bits and pieces you would expect: homemade guacamole, chips, six layer bean dip, tamales and anything else you could name.
Piggy's Pies
If you're like us, that name is all you'll need to be enticed to Dave O'Hagan's wonderful pie stall that turns up at all the major Auckland events. Nothing is better after a couple of cold beers than biting into one of O'Hagan's soft, meaty, gravy soaked, pastry coated creations.
Banger Boys
At the Silo every weekend and at many of the big events in the city, you will find Banger Boyz, a New York-inspired sausage truck. Expect artisan rolls stuffed with high quality sausage, caramelised onions and plum sauce – absolutely delicious.
Arts festivals in New Zealand  
One thing Kiwis love is art of all descriptions. A creative and culturally rich country, its combination of traditional Maori culture with European influences, incredible landscape and friendly atmosphere translates into a thirst for forward thinking art, music, comedy and film.
This lust of the arts is encapsulated beautifully in the country's art festival schedule. Across the 2014 calendar, New Zealand will play host to numerous events that celebrate creativity, from the mainstream to the avant garde, and everything in between. Here is our guide to some of the most famous and worth attending.
OI YOU! RISE
Taking place in Christchurch, between 20th December and 23rd March, OI YOU! RISE brings together street art from around the globe. The highlight for many will be the largest collection of art by controversial and world renowned UK street artist Banksy, whose work will be shown on the walls of the Canterbury Museum. There's a huge selection of other innovative and exciting work to see at OI YOU! RISE, however, with pieces on show in three gallery spaces across the city from both international and native urban artists.
NZ Street Art Festival
Sticking with street art for the moment, you might also want to be in Kawerau on the 8/9 February, for this collection of New Zealand street art. Kawerau is a small town in the Bay of Plenty and this festival is designed to be kid friendly. That means no alcohol and music, art and fun for all the family.
Auckland Festival of Photography
Between 29 May and 20 June, one of the world's most exciting and consistently high quality photography events will take place in Auckland. A stunning visual arts fiesta, it includes a huge number of both free and paid events, meaning there is something for every budget and level of interest.
New Zealand International Arts Festival
Wellington once again proves itself to be the headquarters for all things cool, creative and cultural in New Zealand by playing host to the International Arts Festival between 21 February and 16 March. Over 300 events from just about every discipline, from dance to film to comedy to music, and performances and exhibits from some of the world's top artists make this a must-visit for anybody with an interest in culture. This year's highlights will include music from Lutheran Masses, Power Plant visual art exhibition in the Botanic Gardens and a puppet performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream that will blow your mind.
Having fun in Hamilton   

As New Zealand's fourth biggest city, Hamilton is unsurprisingly a great place to go for a drink. Hamilton is a city in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island, Hamilton is nestled on the banks of the mighty Waikato River and is known for its walks, elaborate themed gardens, cafes, bars and nightlife. Here are our top night spots for visitors to the city.
CBD Corner Pub
This is one of those great Kiwi pubs where you get quality beers, lovely food and a warm, friendly atmosphere. It's great for a quiet cold one and a chat or for a long night out. Hang around until after 9pm and the DJs take over and the place turns into a great nightclub.
Diggers Bar
Known locally as the ‘home of live music', Diggers Bar is a real Hamilton institution. Across the average week you'll see every type of live group take to the stage, from two piece acoustic acts to full on rock bands. It's got a great atmosphere, fostered by the old school décor and the warm surroundings.
The Bank
One of the best combinations of food and drink you'll find in Hamilton, the Bank offers a great menu of both alcohol and grub. Looking for a great deal? Then head down on Sunday for the steak special. For just $6, you get an Angus Sirloin fillet, with fries, mash, veg, salad and greens. For a dollar more you can throw on egg, mushrooms, onions, bourbon sauce, pepper sauce or chive and garlic. Wash it all down with a nice pint of Guinness – a great way to spend a Sunday in Hamilton.
Furnace
If you like style and comfort when you hit the town, then Furnace will be a great spot for you. With a classic menu of pasta, pizzas and very filling mains and a long wine list with some wonderful vintages, it is a lovely place for a classy evening of wining and dining. In fact, it's been awarded several times, winning the Best Restaurant in Waikato award for 2009 and 2011 and was runner up in 2008 and 2010.
Speight Ale House
For the thirsty sports fan (and that pretty much sums up most Kiwis), the Speight Ale House could not be better situated: in between the Waikato River and the Waikato Stadium. A great place to warm up for a big match with a cheeky beer or celebrate a big victory afterwards, its rustic décor and vibrant atmosphere make it a lovely spot for a beverage.

 

The history of the Wellington Sevens  

New Zealand Sevens World Series event is moving to Hamilton in 2018. Hamilton, claimed from Wellington the hosting rights for the NZ HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Hamilton was announced earlier this year as the new host of the event after Wellington's 18-year hosting of the rugby sevens event. So yes Wellington Sevens to become the Hamilton Sevens. Hamilton City is set to host the New Zealand leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series from 3rd – 4th February 2018. With a rich rugby heritage, Hamilton and the wider Waikato region will no doubt come alive with sevens rugby action. Public ticket sales allocation has sold out for the 2018 NZ Sevens.

But here's some of the background history about Wellington Sevens. One of the world's most fun, frantic and downright enjoyable sports tournaments used to take place every year in New Zealand's capital of cool, Wellington. Though it might not be as famous as the World Cup, the Olympics or the Superbowl, there are few tournaments anywhere in the world that can match the Sevens for good vibes, great ambience and a really party atmosphere.

2017 Wellington Sevens was on the 7th February and lasted two days. It should come as no surprise to see the host nation in the familiar position of firm favourites. Since the tournament was founded in 2000, the All Blacks have taken home the top prize on a record six occasions, while taking the runner up spot twice.
They do not, however, come in as champions. That honour belongs to England, who vanquished Sevens-loving Kenya in last year's final and are being tipped by many to meet New Zealand in the ultimate game of this year's contest.
The Wellington Sevens is the fifth event in the IRB Sevens World Series Circuit. The Circuit, which begins in Gold Coast, Australia each October and ends in London England, the following May. In between, it takes in Dubai, Port Elizabeth, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Glasgow and, of course, Wellington.
Of all these stop overs, Wellington is one of the most famous and fun, with players on the circuit regularly citing it as their favourite place to play. The crowd are there to enjoy themselves, often arriving at the venue in fancy dress. Popular costumes over the years have ranged from Fred Flinstone to George W. Bush to Austin Powers to the Care Bears.
In recent years, kissing has also begun to be a big part of the event. Beginning in 2009 with a ‘Beads for Kisses' campaign, which involved spectators exchanging beads with each other for kisses, and now taking the form of kissing booths around the venue.
The 2017 tournament brought together 16 teams in total: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Wales, Figi, France, Kenya, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Tonga, USA and, of course, New Zealand. It kicked off in the 35,000 capacity Westpac Stadium in the city centre.

 

Hit the town in Christchurch  
Though the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes did damage to the city centre that remains to this day, it remains a lively night spot and a great place to go on the tiles. Here are our favourite places to go for a beer in the Garden City.
South of Lichfield
Also known as SOL, this is one of the hippest and swingingest area of the city. The streets here are packed with places to eat and drink, with pedestrian walkways linking bar to bar and club to club. If you're planning to bar hop around Christchurch, this is definitely the place to begin your night. Whether you fancy a quiet pint and a chat, rocking out to live music or a heavy night out, you will find what you are after on the streets of SOL.
Minx Dining Room and Bar
One of the most famous restaurants in the city is the Minx. An award winning diner where you can enjoy fresh European fare and a host of sophisticated cocktails, it's well known across Christchurch as a place for those looking for an upmarket night out to go. The Head Chef Nicola McDermott has a hell of a resume, having previously worked in the London Marriott and the Pearl Restaurant.
Micky Finn's Irish Pub
Right by the tranquil banks of the Avon river, you will find one of the city's most consistently popular little watering holes. A proper little Irish pub, where the Guinness, beer and whiskey flows late into the night, it's one of the nicest atmospheres you'll find in this area.
The Fox and Ferret
For some pub grub, you can't go wrong at the Fox and Ferret. While lots of places claim to be ‘gastro-pubs', this spot really lives up to the title, with a tasty menu of traditional drinking food, a bunch of British ales, lots of atmosphere and very friendly staff.
The Holy Grail
It's no secret that Kiwis love their sport and, of all the country's many, many sports bars, the Holy Grail in Christchurch is the biggest. Across 17,000 square foot, you will find a huge 10 metre projector screen, four bars, a big menu of tasty bar food and a 70 seater grandstand. For the big Rugby games, it's almost as good as being in the stadium.
Jim Beam Homegrown festival   

If you're going to be in Wellington New Zealand next 7th April 2018, then it is well worth your while picking up a ticket for the Homegrown festival, which rocks the waterfront, it's a day out to match any other in the rock calendar, though what makes Homegrown so special is that every performance comes from a live act that is 100% Kiwi. That makes the event the biggest collection of New Zealand pop and rock artists ever.
After this year's record sell out Jim Beam Homegrown are back in 2018 on 7th April.

The line-up across all 5 stages will be HUGE + we've got a new stage to check out in Frank Kitts Park (The City Stage)!!
$79 Tickets Anyone?

This year for the first time Jim Beam Homegrown are offering Super Early-Bird Pre-Sales from $79 + booking fee.

Depending on how quick you are there will be options for limited $79, $89 and $99 pre-sales. These will be on sale from September 4th but you can't get your hands on them unless you register with Jim Beam Homegrown between 23rd August and 2nd September. So hit Jim Beam Homegrown on the 23rd for the registration link and you're good to go!

Once they're gone GA tickets will be $129 + booking fee so get in early and save up to $50.

The 1st line-up announcement will be on October 16th.

When you get to Jim Beam Homegrown you will need to swap your ticket for a wristband that will get you in and out of the different stages during the day.

Getting ready for Jim Beam Homegrown

Remember to bring the stuff you're going to need:
  • Make sure you bring photo ID for proof of age, your ticket, any (legal) medication you may need, a charged mobile phone, enough cash for the day. If you have any chronic conditions or illness (ie epilepsy, diabetes, asthma) be sure to carry information regarding your condition & emergency contact number on you at all times.
  • Allow enough time to get to & into the show. Presume around 30mins to get thru the gates & security depending on the time of day.
  • Dress for the day & weather by wearing sensible clothes & shoes.
  • You can bring into the event an unopened bottle of water (no glass) & reasonable amounts of food without problems.
  • Please note NO food or drinks are allowed to be brought into the TSB Bank Arena (Rock Stage) - their rules sorry.
  • Keep it real & keep it legal. Anyone caught holding or dealing illegal substances will be treated the same way as anywhere else.
  • Don't turn up drunk or out of it, as you may be refused entry.
  • Check the back of your ticket for restricted items such as video cameras, alcohol & umbrella's as we have no provision to check them in so you will need to get rid of it or take it back home or to your car.
  • Still cameras are allowed for personal use only.
  • For public transport around the Wellington region please go to www.metlink.org.nz

 

Outdoor fun in Auckland  

One thing that New Zealand has in spades is outdoor activities. There is simply no end to the things you can do in the great outdoors across the majestic country. In Auckland alone, there is a menu as long as your arm of fun ways to get in touch with nature. For the uninitiated, here are just a few of the possibilities.
Abseiling
Does roping up and down some of the world's most beautiful cliffs and mountains sound like a nice day out to you? Then why not do some abseiling in Auckland? The surrounding area plays host to limestone cliffs and waterfalls as high as 120 feet. If you'd prefer to stay in the city centre, you can do the Rocket Ropes: two towers on Tom Pearce Drive where you can climb, abseil and rappel.
Bungy Jumping
Auckland is a great place to overcome your fear of heights.
 
In the 1980's, a couple of young kiwis, AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch, set up New Zealand's first commercial bungy operation, with a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. Since then, New Zealand has become the home of bungy, with numerous other operators starting up.
 
All over the country you can leap from bridges, climbs, rail viaducts, specially made platforms perched on the edge of cliffs, and stadium roofs.
 
The Nevis bungy is the highest and involves an incredible 134-metre plunge. You can also take a leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge against the backdrop of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour.
 
In the Central North Island, just upstream from the Huka Falls, lies the Taupo Bungy - 47m (154 feet) above the Waikato River. You can choose to be dunked in the Waikato River below at the end of your jump.
 
Every day of the week locals and tourists alike enjoy the experience of a bungy among stunning landscapes. Bungy jumping remains one of New Zealand's most popular and renowned leisure activities.

 

Quotes about New Zealand  
It's no surprise the gorgeous landscape, rich history, jaw-dropping wildlife and vibrant culture of New Zealand have inspired some pretty famous and brilliant people to say some pretty interesting things over the centuries. Here are some of our favourite quotes about New Zealand.
I had a good time shooting in New Zealand. I almost bought a home there while I was there, because I loved it so much. Josh Hartnett
I've spent half my life on planes. I have a lot of love for New Zealand, though. That is where the really arty, whimsical side of the family resided - in Hobbitland. Alice Englebert
I love working in New Zealand. It's just the most beautiful country I've ever been to. Grant Bowler
By and large, women in New Zealand are fortunate compared with some other countries, including many in our own region. But there is still progress to be made. Jenny Shipley
I'm from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island. Evangeline Lilly
New Zealand is not a small country but a large village. Peter Jackson
It's fair to say that, for much of my lifetime, New Zealand certainly was a property-owning democracy and working people, ordinary people, had assets. Helen Clark
On many occasions New Zealand has spoken about the need to ensure that women's concerns are fully integrated into all aspects of the United Nations' activities and structures, not marginalised in one part of the Secretariat. Jenny Shipley
New Zealand is a pretty no-nonsense place to work, like Australia. I mean it doesn't falter to anyone. Dustin Clare
The Humpback Trail on New Zealand's South Island is really beautiful. It is a 70 km walk over about four days and is fairly arduous. You go through prehistoric forest and up to the top of Humpback Mountain, where there are amazing views down to the Tasman Sea. Toby Stephens
There's a real purity in New Zealand that doesn't exist in the states. It's actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It's a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected. Elijah Wood
  
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