News from Nelson Part 2

Happy Thanksgiving!

So now that we’ve told Banyan’s story of refurbishments, repairs, and romps through the mooring field at night, it’s time to give the update on us. Nelson is by far our favorite spot in New Zealand.  It’s pretty tough to choose a favorite. There are so many beautiful places with so much to offer, but we’ve really settled in here.  The girls are growing and maturing at an alarming rate and time with new friends and activities here is proving to be a real draw.

We’ve been living on the boat in the marina, but have been taking advantage of lots of house/pet sits in the area using as our main resource. With Adelaide now officially taller than me, the boat can feel a bit small at times. The girls especially, eat up their time with all things four-legged and I have to admit that I enjoy having a shower that doesn’t double as a catch-all closet. That said, when we do come back to the boat we all feel happily at home, sleep well, and—strangely—enjoy cooking in our postage stamp galley.

A few months ago, Cameron found me a horse to ride, so I have been getting a good mental and physical workout. The horse is a bit of a baby at times and still learning his manners. He hasn’t dumped me… yet, and his owner is pleased to have some help with his shenanigans. Isa comes along with me each time and is my sidekick, carrying my gear, picking hooves, saddling, and unsaddling.  She is working hard to earn a few riding lessons of her own which we’ve just managed to organize. 

Adelaide and I have started Seido Karate classes together. We are having a blast breaking a sweat and scrambling to learn all the moves, words, etiquette, and sequences. She and I are really enjoying the time together and learning a new skill amongst a lovely group of people. 

Adelaide continues with piano and has finished editing her first novel and is sending it out to publishers. She was proud to receive her first rejection note and is focusing on collecting at least 99 more. She really enjoyed attending a Christian spring camp here in Nelson with some new friends organized by a local youth group. It was the first time that she’d done anything like it and she LOVED it. 

Isa continues to enjoy two different orchestras and is preparing for her RCM (Royal Conservatory of Music) level 8 exams for violin so she is chocker-blocked with new music and theory lessons. It is amazing to listen to her progress. We are so proud of how hard she works and how beautifully she expresses herself through music. 

Future plans are still quite opaque. We are feeling pretty blessed that we have options and that the girls are amazingly flexible, happy homeschooling, and basically the coolest kids ever. With our enjoyment of New Zealand, the continued global COVID saga, and the girls’ growing attachment to friends and activities here, we are thinking about settling down for a bit. That would require one of us to get a job, which, really isn’t a bad idea on several fronts. Cameron has been casting around looking at some opportunities. He has dusted off his CV and is making the rounds, learning more about the wine regions locally and considering moving more into the grape growing side, rather than the winemaking side.  We’ll see what happens!

Happy Haloween! Celebrations with our friends, the Incendy Family!
The Thanksgiving pie lineup – Also a celebration with the Incendy Family

The NZ COVID Update

The first nationwide lockdown in a year had just started when last we posted and we all muddled through for about a month until things eased up.  It looked like the lockdown was going to snuff out Delta, but then it leaked out of Auckland and the numbers have been rising ever since. Thankfully there were no cases on the South Island until very recently so we got back to ‘normal’ fairly soon compared to Auckland. It’s unclear how things will progress. The country is pushing hard for a 90% vaccination rate at which point restrictions will ease. With 85% of the population fully vaccinated, and 92% with their first jab at least, it is a reachable goal.

It’s pretty easy to watch the statistics here as they are well reported by the health ministry and the population is large enough to be significant but small enough to be manageable from a data perspective. You can look up all sorts of demographics for COVID cases as well as, and in conjunction with, details about the vaccine rollout  You can check it out here. After giving out 5.3 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, you can look up the safety record here

While ‘mandating’ the vaccine wasn’t openly supported by the government, new rules have created an effective mandate. If you want to get your hair done, attend a concert, or go to the library, you need to show your vaccine pass. It’s pretty tough for those who choose not to get vaccinated and don’t have a medical exemption. The NZ government has done an amazing job at communicating and while you can’t make everyone happy, they seem to have walked the line gracefully between keeping the population as safe as they can, the hospitals from getting overrun (which they are responsible for as the health system is run by the government) and the economy from ruin. A tricky balance to say the least.  

We feel so incredibly blessed to be here.  These days we’ve moved out of the marina and are living on Banyan on the mooring when we are not doing a house sit.  We are looking forward to the Christmas holidays when the girls will take time off from school and we are hoping to sail off and enjoy Golden Bay, or the Able Tasman or Pelorus Sound (we’ll see which way the wind blows). We’ll keep you all posted on our doings and if any future plans become more clear, I’ll let you all know!  

Happy Sailing! 

The Wairau River Valley is the main river of the Marlborough region. The photo was taken on a drive to Marlborough to investigate job opportunities…


  1. Marianne McGriff says:

    Dear Banyan Crew,
    You are ALL gorgeous!!!! I LOVE hearing about Nelson, New Zealand and your plans to stay a bit. As our worlds have grown smaller with Covid, our LOVE has deepened with those we are spending time with…more in an email…sending much love, Marianne

  2. Helen Keplinger says:

    What a beautiful family, inside and out. You all are such an inspiration. The girls are so impressive!!! Love to all of you!

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Coming from you, one of the most productive people I know! Thanks, Helen:) The girls really are amazing. I’m so so lucky to have the privilege to shepherd them for a few more years. Hugs and Happy Chritmas!

  3. Laurence Donald says:

    Enjoy Nelson and good luck on the job hunting Cameron. Veronica and I have really enjoyed your travels to date. All the best to Ann and the girls.
    Laurence & Veronica.

      • Laurence says:

        Hi Anne,
        Veronica & I had just left NZ prior to your arrival in New Zealand. We have since cancelled two trips including for this month because of the Covid entry issues. However, we understand the current NZ government will make another announcement this coming April and it’s expected they may allow tourist back in provided they are fully vaccinated. We’ll see how that transpires, so don’t leave yet. Say hi to Cameron and the girls along with wishing you all a very Merry Christmas in the land of the long white cloud.
        Cheers -Laurence & Veronica.

  4. Michelle West says:

    Anne and Cameron and girls, fantastic hearing about your life in Nelson. When my sister was living on the north island about 30 years ago I went to visit and did some exploring on the south Island by myself. I landing in Nelson and thought I might never leave. I LOVE NELSON! So when John and I went to NZ 2 years ago we visited Nelson and Little Kaiteriteri. We both fell in love with the area. It is a perfect blend of beauty, art, community, and something about the land is just plain peaceful. It is wonderful to think about you there.

    We have been hearing on the news and from our friend outside of Omakaroa on the North Island about the tsunami. I was relieved to just now catch up on your blog and see you are down south! John and I have been hunkered in for the winter and omicron surge and have begun a deep plunge in learning more about global warming efforts, regenerative farming, and what is being done locally. I am going to begin a class next month with the local climate action group and see where that leads me.

    All the family is well. It would be so good to have a nice long catch up with you soon. Much love and hugs, Michelle and Uncle John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.