MJ & Clayton's Southern Roadtrip

MJ & Clayton's Southern Roadtrip

I love this amazing country called Aotearoa! I love my job meeting & hanging out with creative people!! So whenever I get the chance to combine the two with a road trip I am up for it.

My trip last week started a little while ago when our amazing Peter Latham convinced me that if I am heading to Wellington why to also pop over the ditch to Te Wai Pounamu, done!

So last week Cam helped me load the van with stretchers & frames for Peter & artworks to deliver to clients around the lower part of Te Ika a Maui. After a breakfast meeting with the team on Friday morning I was off. The plan was get to Wellington in one day. Through driving rain & squalls I managed to get to Tirau in get time, first of a few pitstops along the way, next Taihape & lastly Levin before arriving at my intended destination.


I reached Wellington around 07:00pm to pick up a commissioned piece of works from Sheree Willman, taking that one to Nelson for a client. Next stop was my first delivery at 08:30pm in the hills of Miramar with a Paula Coulthard – one of her Nocturnal prints to an amazing client. Then to to Parrot Dog for a beer & dinner with Frankie. 

Saturday saw Frankie & I up early for the 08:30am Ferry crossing to Picton. WOW!!!! I had never done the crossing before & what a great trip, the Sounds are truly stunning & to be with Frankie it was even more special.

A quick off load & pickup in a Picton carpark with Peter & then lunch…. Beers, Boys, Burgers & the Briad (that’s Zoe, Petes dog) 


Next stop Tuamarina Hilltop to visit The Wairau Affray memorial, this is the location of one of the first incidents in the NZ Wars…..mmm time for reflection.

Next stop Blenheim to deliver 3 prints & some Simon Lewis wards jet planes….. then off again!

We arrived at Serena’s place in the Hills above Nelson about 5 that night, welcomed with an amazing cheese board & views to die for. Serena & Dave live an incredible lifestyle off-grid. This was the first of the real load-ups! 5 pieces, one massive piece that nearly didn’t fit, but with a little giggerry pockery in it went.

Down to Nelson where Melanie-Jane meet Frankie & I for a night staying at the Rutherford Hotel. A night in with a lovely bottle of Chardonnay & movie time.

Sunday morning was all go, go, go! After an incredible breakfast at the Boatshed (highly recommended) it was out to Brightwater to catch up with Royce & Trudi from McGlashen Pottery. These guys have been with us from the beginning & are so amazing, a tour of the factory & then off to their home for a cup of tea & cheese scones… thanks to their kids who had just popped in with the grandkids & dog.


Next stop a whirl wind visit to Candy Clarkes home, time to reshuffle the van & check out the studio. Candy lives in an amazing villa overlooking the city, very inspirational!


Then off for lunch… 13 of us, this is what we love, connecting with everyone… Candy Clarke, Serena Buonaguidi-Hayes, Wendy Lineham, Zoe Buchanann & Anthony Gent & their partners…felt like we had the half the Nelson artistic community in one spot!


Next stop… Flamedaisy Gallery where Anthony works, another reshuffle of the van as we picked up 3 boxes of amazing glass work by Anthony… boy its getting full.

Then off to drop off the commission works to a client in Nelson, drop Melanie-Jane to the airport for her trip home…… ahh but here the catch, the airport got fogged in. She called Frankie & I about an hour out of Nelson to let us know she would be spending a well deserved quiet night in by herself back at the hotel.

We boarded the Ferry for a leisurely & extremely smooth nighttime crossing back to Poneke (Wellington), Frankie finished a Uni assignment while I watched a cowboy movie on Netflix…. Modern tech right, makes a slow journey more fun.


It was a late before my head hit the pillows for a well deserved rest, up early again, Breakfast at the Maranui surf club…..mmm bagels & an Americano to start the day. Next stop delivering another Paula Coulthard piece to an amazing client (it was actually purchased on Friday, wrapped & brought to Nelson by Melanie-Jane for me to deliver in person). So up the Seatoun Hill I went, boy Wellington can be hilly.

Next stop to catch up with Tim Christie for a restock, if your ever in wellington a drop by his Yogallery it is well worth the time. It is both a yoga studio & his gallery, great concept. So on to reshuffling the van for the last time. Boy was it full & another 2 artists to visit!

Next up another hill to catch up again with Sheree Willman, she had painted an amazing painting called KeteWhakairoaKoru…. Sorry folks but MJ has first dibs, luckily there is another piece on its way soon...


Now off to Taupo for the night…..the worst part of the trip, rain & wind on the desert road, where I was overtaken by a car pulling a caravan, I’m really not used to driving a van in these conditions I can tell you.

Up early Tuesday morning to catch up with Chris & Victoria Jones….. what a wonderful couple they are. They have recently moved into a lovely new home just outside Taupo & close to the studio Chris works in…Chris has been blowing glass here in NZ for about 17 years now, another master!!!!! 


The van was so full I had to load up the seat next to me with some of Chris’s incredible works…about midday I set off back to Auckland.

On arrival back to the office we unloaded the van while face timing MJ & Lee-Anne in store…. Wish I had recorded the "oooohhhs" &  "woooows" from those two they were absolutely magic.


On reflection driving by your self throughout the country is  a truly amazing experience!. The landscape changes so often, from the green fields & hills of the Waikato, the starkness of the volcanic plateau with all her glorious Maunga through the Horowhenua district and its grasslands, the hills of Wellington & majestic sights of the Marlborough Sounds, the wine districts of Marlborogh & the tree line hills outside Nelson 

We really do live in God-zone!