Finding inspiration in Kaiteriteri


Sunrise at Kaiteriteri beach. Photo: Jayne Muller

There is no limit to what can be achieved when determined minds come together.

And if it happens in a beautiful place, the results can be extraordinary.

I can see how true that is right now. I’m in Kaiteriteri, a small seaside town tucked into a secluded bay at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. The beach is a wide crescent of golden sand and as I write the lights of Nelson are twinkling in the early morning darkness on the other side of Tasman Bay.

There are four of us, S, J, F and D (that’s me) and we are here for 3 days to write. Each of us has a project that we want to get done and we’re counting on the peace and quiet and our collective creative energy to lift us up and carry us through the blocks that have slowed us down in the past. We are full of ideas and enthusiasm, and we’ve checked our self-doubts and fears at the door. That’s not to say they don’t sneak in but they come to each of us at different times and together we can shoo them away.

We’ve come to Kaiteriteri because it is beautiful but also because it is neutral. Our phones still ring and we’re connected to the outside world through our laptops but all of that is easier to manage because this rental house is not home.

We’ve brought everything we need and some things we don’t.  Candles and snacks and wine are not essential but they make us happy.  This time is our  gift to ourselves. Our chance to retreat from the busy-ness (and the business) of our lives.

Yesterday we found our special place to write. For F it was the quiet of her bedroom, S sat at the long wooden table with views across the bay,  and J and I chased the sun as it moved round the deck. For hours the only sound was the tapping of keyboards as we did our work. We’ve each got a “do not disturb” sign but by some strange synchronicity we all seem to need a break at the same time and when we share what we’ve accomplished and receive the encouragement we need to keep going,  extraordinary things happen.


IMG_0115In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert asks “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say YES.”

The sky outside is pink now and streaked with silver grey clouds. For us four, it signals the start of another day to say YES. Kaiteriteri has given us space to do our work and we will keep at it until it’s finished.

Categories: New Zealand: South Island, Stories


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