My Southland Story: Behind The Camera With James Jubb

Mum and Dad relaxing lakeside, watching the kids water skiing on a Southland Lake.

Last year James Jubb created a little gem: a video series appropriately called My Southland Story. Its goal is simple. To tell the stories of Southland and why it’s an amazing place to work, live and play. 

He wants the world to know that if you’re willing to work and to fall in love with the landscape and lifestyle, then you too can live the Kiwi Southern Dream. 

James himself has a good yarn to share about how he became one of Southland’s most passionate advocates.

Read moRE

3 Evans Sisters: Lovin’ The Ice Skating Life

I just love watching figure skaters on TV. I can’t believe how they leap and spin across the ice on a mere five thin mm of steel.

What do you reckon — inspiring… terrifying… FUN?  Yes, all that grace and beauty begins with a kid having fun.

But that kid also has to be brave enough to get up when she falls, with the grit to try again — and again!

In Athol, there’s a whole family of them —  Adriana, Chonelle and Gabby Evans. Three girls who love the competition, challenges, and friendships of their hectic ice skating life.

Adriana, Gabby and Chonelle holding some of their ice skating outfits.
Adriana, Gabby and Chonelle Evans at their Athol farm. These are just some of the many bling-covered outfits the girls have skated in over the past 8 years.
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Bridging The Kawarau Falls

The new Kawarau Falls bridge.

Kawarau Dreams and Nightmares

If you’re a tourist, or new to Queenstown you probably sweep over the new Kawarau Falls bridge without giving it a second thought.

But I never take it for granted. In fact, I’m still pinching myself to check that it’s real.

Why?

Because trying to cross the old one-way bridge used to be a nightmare.

For years we called it a bridge, but the old girl was actually a dam.  Although, she never quite managed to stop the river water flowing.

Here’s how it happened.

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Kiwi Saffron: Proudly Growing In Southland

A single saffron flower in the paddock.

Kiwi Saffron’s Steve and Jo Daley are as down-to-earth as any couple you’re likely to meet. He’s originally from Te Puke – think Kiwifruit and beekeeping. She’s from pioneer Southern farming stock. With those backgrounds, as you can imagine, they’re not afraid of a bit of work.

And that’s just as well because as well as caring for cows on the farm, beekeeping and contract fencing, Steve and Jo are the hard-working duo behind this small, but increasingly successful, organic saffron company.

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Buzzstop Honey Centre: Loving Our Bees

The beautiful Buzzstop Woolshed

The little Buzzstop honey sign sits on Queenstown’s busy state highway. The traffic streams past unaware that just over the paddock lies a sweet, rural delight. Recently, I went to visit Nick Cameron of Buzzstop Honey Centre to get the buzz on his latest venture.

A Tale Of One Woolshed

The old girl was sagging at the seams. 70-years worth of bird droppings encrusted every beam. An ancient smell of sheep wafted up through the open floor grating. Even in the thin winter light, Nick could see the thick piles of dung below. He kicked at the thin, slippery boards which covered the floor.

“Whose crazy idea was this, anyway?” he grumbled.

“Yours, mate” the others chorused, hoisting the wheeled scaffold through the gaping doorway.

Nick clambered up the ladder, heaved the first bucket of hot soapy water and disinfectant up behind him and took out his scrubbing brush. It was time to start work.

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Athol Valley Market: A Delightful Day Out

The Athol Valley Market is a welcome addition to the summer scene in the Upper Mataura Valley villages. I went along to talk to local organiser Amanda McMillan about her latest venture.

Athol Valley – A Community Market

At the heart of a local market is the sense of community. People want to come together and support their local artisans and businesses. It’s less about dashing in and out to grab groceries and more about lingering to chat and chill.

And that perfectly describes the laid back vibe of the Athol Valley Market and its host The Hide. In fact,  Amanda and Hide owner Meegan have a shared goal to support local enterprises and the diverse community found within the Upper Mataura Valley.

Meegan, Amanda and cheese at the Athol Valley Market.
Meegan and Amanda with The Hide’s latest delicious offering. You can buy Gibbston Valley Cheeses at the Athol Valley Market on Sundays and at The Hide every day of the week.
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