Today was going to be another long one, most of it spent in a car driving from Rotorua to Gisborne.
It was a big day for me because it was my son’s 21st.
At 1 pm local time it would be midnight coming into the 15th back home and I knew that he would be out with his mates so I sent him a happy birthday text.
He did not want a party or anything special on the day. Even though the things that we were doing were very cool and once in a lifetime things I was missing home and really looking forward to the big family meal we would be having when I get home.
I hope the jet lag is not too much of a killer.
The superb scenery we drove through certainly helped ease the ache of homesickness.
Driving through the beautiful countryside to Gisborne.
A quick stop to stretch the legs.
When we got to Gisborne we met some real larger than life characters.
Boyd McGregor, a good Scottish name but a proper Kiwi man, his mate Steve, a second had car salesman, Israel Dagg, the young All Black star and Daisy his beautiful delicate girlfriend.
They would be taking us on a couple of our further adventures in New Zealand.
Boyd runs a shark cage diving business and I can not imagine him running any other sort of enterprise.
His rugged, sun-tanned, stubbly face that shone with a broad cheeky smile added to the slightly scruffy T-shirt and shorts with bare feet and a part of the index finger of his right hand missing marked him out as a man of the outdoors with a need for danger.
Steve was a little bit larger and perhaps a lover of the finer things in life may have looked slightly more refined but from the way he spoke about hunting, shooting, fishing and sharks he was obviously out of a similar mould.
The scar he carried was less visible that Boyd’s. His was round his tight foot, a reminder that a fish bait grinder on a boat is not something to mess with when at sea. Five years since the incident and a large part of his foot being reattached plus a lot of treatment he still had no sensation in most of his foot.
Israel is fast becoming a household name in New Zealand.
Like many people that have a genuine skill and natural ability to be exceptional he carries it with a humility and self deprecating aura.
Like his two older mates he has a certain mischief that shines out of his broad smile and bright eyes.
It is said that opposites attract and on the surface that’s what you would think in the case of Israel and Daisy.
He is large dark and quietly outgoing. She is blonde, slim, slender and slightly timid looking.
Not only can she thrash Israel at squash but she is a mean fly fisherman.
This afternoon’s jaunt would not rank in the pantheon of excitement but was non the less great fun.
The four of them lead us on a long drive out of the small town to a picturesque riverbank.
Great location for trout fishing.
Boyd gave Dan a quick lesson in fly casting over the river before we recorded the interview.
Whilst he was doing that I had a quick wander around and found a plum tree laden with fruit. I pick some of the perfect ones that had fallen and took them back for us to eat.
They were very juicy and all the more tasty for being straight off the tree.
They don't come any fresher.
Israel and Dan did a bit of fishing and chatting.
With a couple of radio mics on the pair stood out in the river and talked.
Nigel mics Israel.
I recorded the chat and got various different angles for editing purposes.
Nigel wades in to adjust the mic.
Then we did some quick set up shots for use, along with library footage of Israel playing in introducing him in the film.
The pair had not caught any fish and neither had any of the other three.
They had been having a go further up and down the river.
Israel having a proper go at catching a trout.
Boyd in what was clearly his style was quite determined to catch a trout that we could have on his barbecue later.
He disappeared with Dan up the river.
A very short time later Daisy came back wading through the water with a handsome trout in the net.
Daisy with the catch.
Dan would not be Dan if he had not jokingly tried to convince us that he had caught it.
With the invite to a bbq confirmed and the promise of not only fresh fish on the menu but also fresh venison we could not refuse the hospitality.
The drive back to Gisborne in the evening light was a real joy.
No wonder New Zealand is a great place for movies.
Really great locations.
Still signs of Christmas in sunny Gisborne.
It would not have seemed right to go without a contribution to the evening so Stuart and Fraser took themselves off to the local supermarket to collect a few cold beers.
They came back laughing loud and empty handed, and ran to their respective rooms.
As they passed us they said they needed their passports because the woman in the supermarket had refused to sell them the beer because she thought that they did not look over eighteen.
They are both approaching thirty.
When they returned with the beer it was time to head to Boyd’s for the bbq.
He suggested that the beers were put in the chiller and pointed the pair to a large fridge like door.
They expected a largish area with shelves filled with stuff when they opened the door.
The proof that the venison we would be eating was fresh took them rather by surprise.
Almost a full furry deer carcass and various other dead animals were hanging up on hooks.
Boyd had shot the deer a couple of days ago.
The barbecue was very good with superb food and nice chat.
Daisy showed another of her skills by preparing some superb sauce for some huge green mussels.
By his own admission Boyd had overcooked the massive crayfish that he had also recently caught but as far as we were concerned they were excellent.
There was a lot of talk over the food and drink about the weather for tomorrow’s outing on the high, hopefully not high at all, seas.