This photo of a Pohutukawa tree at the Ahipara end of Ninety-mile Beach is our January shot for our 2017 New Zealand Calendar.
Jennifer chose this picture in part because it represents the close affinity many New Zealanders have with the beach (the other reason for including it this year's calendar is that Ninety-mile Beach is a significant landmark that is often overlooked for inclusion in calendars or greeting cards). I'm sure the scene is repeated many times over, up and down New Zealand over summer; a group of friends gathering to play volleyball.
It is something many New Zealanders appear to take for granted but for Jennifer raised in the United States it is something that stands out.
As someone born and raised in the Far North I think it has less to do with taking access to stunning beaches for granted and more to do with the laid-back approach to life than many New Zealanders have and is especially prevalent in New Zealand's Far North. This leads to what I would call a laid-back appreciation of our beaches.
This laid back appreciation can provide the appearance of taking things for granted when in fact people care deeply; be it our beaches or many other aspects of our life in New Zealand. While this phenomenon is something that transcends New Zealand culture it is extremely prevalent in the Far North of New Zealand.
I say laid back appreciation because there is an invisible boundary or line, that if it is crossed by organisations or individuals, people will react quite strongly to it being crossed. Which is a sure sign that things are not being taken for granted. I think "laid back appreciation" is a moniker that fits well with the Far North of New Zealand.