I’ve always admired New Zealanders for their sense of belonging in the outdoors. Their land really is the natural equivalent of the burger with the lot – glaciers, alpine peaks, volcanoes, beaches, rainforest, even one tiny spot of desert – and, in the main, the people appear to know and appreciate their natural good fortune. It’s a connection that seems to give them an insouciance about conditions and weather that you see in few other countries. There’s little that stops Kiwis from getting out to play.
When I arrived in New Zealand a few days ago, Cyclone Lusi was bearing down on the country. This storm had killed 10 people in Vanuatu and was forecast to arrive in New Zealand with wind speeds of up to 130km/h and the sort of rainfall that would have done Noah proud. And I was about to go canoeing.