Monday, November 09, 2009

NZ Views: Waikato

This past week was one of the busiest I’ve had in ages. It’s actually not entirely over yet, with some odds and ends to clear up before moving into this week. All of which is why I haven’t blogged much lately. So as I take care of those last things from last week, I thought I’d just share some more of my views of New Zealand.

Yesterday we went down to the Waikato for a family get-together, a birthday BBQ. We were outside of Hamilton, near a settlement called Gordonton, an area Nigel and I have always thought was quite nice: It’s rural, but close to Hamilton and only about an hour and a half to Auckland. We also have family there or not very far from there.

The Waikato is a large region, which is primarily faming country (especially dairy and sheep farms), but it’s more varied than that. The area we were has farms, but also “lifestyle blocks”, large bits of land on which “executive style” houses are built. Often these houses are in small clusters, like a suburban subdivision, but on sections that typically range up to five acres.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in the middle of a continent, but I tend to be drawn to wide-open views over land rather than sea views, much as I like them, too. But one of the things I like most about New Zealand is the visual diversity: There are mountain views, places near dense bush or forests, overlooking wide-open plains or rolling farmland as well as, of course, plenty of sea views (and lake and river views for that matter). You want it? We got it.

I’m trying to post more photos of the places I visit, and I actually have more from another part of Auckland, when I get the chance to post them. These will have to do for now.


Unknown said...

I'm going to be living there soon!

amerinz's sis said...

Lovely!! It looks so peaceful there - quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the big city and its suburbs here.

Apteryx said...

I really hate to see this happening to NZ. It won't be long before those rich "executives" have their own gated communities, each section with 5, 10 or 20 hectares, just like America, while the rest of stare in disbelief and wonder what the hell happened.

Arthur Schenck said...

Louise: Indeed you will! There's a whole cluster of family in that area!

Sis: Yes, it is very peaceful around there. The nearest city is Hamilton, which isn't far at all, but the region is farmland for many, many kilometres in all directions.

Apteryx: Gated communities are extremely rare in New Zealand; in fact, I can't think of any off the top of my head, though I did hear of plans to build one in Canterbury.

Lifestyle blocks are nothing new, and really have nothing to do with executives. I just used that word to describe the style of the large houses built on the sections. The sections are often around 5 acres (which is a couple hectares), not that size matters that much in this case (just trying to be clear).

There's nothing "just like America" in any of the lifestyle blocks I've seen anywhere in the Waikato. Cities like Auckland and Tauranga and Hamilton itself and parts of the Coromandel are far more likely to have subdivisions that look like American ones, but they're not gated communities.

In sum, the point of these lifestyle blocks is to keep the land open, not carved up into small plots within sprawling suburban subdivision developments that Americans would find familiar.