Reading list: Living the Dream by Derek Morrison

What does your untamed heart yearn for? Does your ideal lo-fi life await you ‘if only’? If you need a push to make living by the sea, lake or river happen however you can, or if you’ll just enjoy experiencing it vicariously, this book provides an opportunity. On pages replete with evidence that sometimes if you can dream it, you can do it, author Derek Morrison connects with folks who’ve pulled out all the stops or simply been very lucky to carve out a waterside life. Travelling from Ahipara in the north to Ōtepoti/Dunedin in the south, he visits people who through hard yakka and abodes that have been in their families for generations have direct access to their idea of endless escape, idyll and adventure.

MAIN IMAGE Kaitāia-based Robin Collins is a second-generation seaweed-picker who has spent his whole life visiting Tauroa Point, where wild horses roam. At 75, he still spends his ‘downtime’ here, “head down and arse up” restoring his family’s rustic bach, hand-digging drains and foraging for food along the coast. ABOVE Home away from home for the Forrest family is Yncyca Bay in Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound, where people and supplies have to be boated in.

Family and memories are themes that run throughout. As Derek puts it, “If the heart of a home is the space where everybody comes together, then the humble New Zealand bach is the heart of a family. It’s a focal point for friends and family to meet — a base camp for adding another chapter to their shared experiences.” As well as their holiday counterparts, architect-designed permanent homes are profiled too, all occupied by resourceful folk who revel in the pleasures, challenges and privilege of days spent near the water, having made the quintessential Kiwi lifestyle their own and available to share in all sorts of shapes and forms.

ABOVE On the Coromandel Peninsula, Matt and Amber Groube’s family are all about boarding — surf, snow and skate. Before they had kids and built their new home, they lived on the same land in the original cottage Matt and his parents moved into when he was a baby — the very first house in Pāuanui.

Some might say it’s in our DNA to seek connection to nature and out-of-the-way places, and dwellings like these foster a relationship that lasts long after the summer break or weekend away is over. What might you be able to do to answer the call of the wild?

Words Philippa Prentice
Photography Derek Morrison

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