Te Puna


As I'm someone who began to think of herself as comfortably wealthy once I got to the point in my life that I could order extra guacamole on my Chipotle burritos without a second thought, it felt like the Kenny family lived next to a goldmine since their home neighbored an avocado orchard.

Equipped with mini tractors and a big bucket, Amanda, Carlos, Archie and I had a successful afternoon of avocado picking one sunny day in Te Puna.

Now I grew up in the rural suburbs  but the homegrown fruits and vegetables in New Zealand amaze me. Not only did they live next to an avocado orchard, but the Kenny family grew strawberries, lettuce, peaches, watermelons, beetroot, beans, tomatoes... everything! And they're not farmers either, they both work in marketing but just grow all of that right in their own yard. Apparently this is fairly common in New Zealand as the soil is super rich but I had no idea it was even possible.

To make salads at night, they would just go out and grab some vegetables, wash them off, chop them up and prepare the freshest and most delicious salad I've ever encountered. In the morning, I would just grab a handful of strawberries from the garden to have with my coffee. I used to be quite satisfied with myself eating "local and organic" when I would buy veggies from the farmers market in the parking lot behind Bank of America in Jamaica Plain so THIS just absolutely blew my mind. 


When I arrived in New Zealand it rained for a week straight. While there were enough cute cafes and art galleries in Auckland to keep me fairly occupied, the big city was gray and I was thoroughly unimpressed. My friend Amanda rescued me just in time and took me to Te Puna, a little country town on the east coast. We stayed with the family she used to nanny for back when she lived in New Zealand and after 3 months of backpacking it was a welcome break to stay at their gorgeous house (next to an avocado orchard!) with their two adorable little boys, Carlos and Archie.

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We started our stay at a holiday party at their families "bach" (summer home) and visited around Mount Manganui and Taraunga too, but mostly we ran around the yard (the boys can handle their mini tractors better than I can parallel park), enjoyed their garden where they grow their own fruits and vegetables (!) and had some epically meaty dinners. 

A hearty lamb dinner. 

A hearty lamb dinner. 

Mount Manganui

Mount Manganui


We prepped for Christmas by wrapping presents and laying out cookies and coffee (Santa had a long night of deliveries ahead of him, it was a smart call on Carlos's part).  The following morning, the boys were thrilled to see Santa's footprints next to their outdoorsy presents that included mini wetsuits and little sleeping bag.  

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I missed my family over the holidays but I had a nice little Kiwi Christmas thanks to Amanda and the Kenny family.