The West Coast

Now on to my own home region – The West Coast of the South Island.

Reefton Broadway 003

This is the region I was born in – it is the place I will always call home regardless of where I live or travel. To me it is the most beautiful and precious part of the country – but I will admit to being biased!

The West Coast, or ‘The Coast’ as locals call it, is an untamed natural wilderness of rivers and native rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures.
It’s a great place to explore by either car or motorbike because this region is 600km long and there’s a lot to see. In fact, the Great Coast Road stretching from Westport to Greymouth was recently voted one of the top 10 coastal drives in the world by Lonely Planet.

Meet the ‘coasters’ as the locals are known and you’ll find a bunch of independent, self-reliant but hugely friendly and hospitable people. Sit down and have a beer with them and they’ll regale you with west coast stories.
I was born in the small West Coast town of Reefton. A character gold mining town that was the first to have electric lighting.
In August 1888 Reefton became the first place in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity, even before the fashionable suburbs of London and New York!

Reefton, the West Coast’s only inland town located among the spectacular Paparoa and Victoria ranges on the Lewis Pass road near Victoria Conservation Park (New Zealand’s largest), is a sleepy idyllic place to visit.

Now a curious mix of old and new, it’s still a preserve of historic charm as many of the heritage buildings have been restored and offer an insight to the past.
I love to relax as I stroll down the main street wandering in and out of shops that have purposely kept their early 1900’s feel, there are art galleries, antique stores, a whiskey distillery, and dining in Reefton too.

Marlborough: home of Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

I thought it was about time I told you a little bit more about the region Ariki New Zealand Limited calls home, Marlborough New Zealand.

Marlborough covers the north-eastern corner of the South Island of New Zealand. The main town, Blenheim (population around 24,000) is 4½ hours by road from Christchurch, 35 minutes by air from Wellington and about 1½ hours by air from Auckland.
Here we enjoy long hot summers and crisp clear blue-skied winters.

Wine Growing in Marlborough

We have very diverse landscapes, from the snow covered alpine peaks of our mountains across the valleys of grape vines to the picturesque idyllic sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds. We are spoilt for choice of awe-inspiring scenery. And the warm, settled, sunny days that contribute so much to the region’s successful wine industry create an ideal climate for outdoor activities.

The Marlborough Sounds where I live offers iconic scenery and sheltered inland waterways ideal for fishing and boating. There is excellent cycling, mountain biking, tramping and walks including the world renowned Queen Charlotte Track.

The region also has a wide range of recreational activities from swimming with dolphins in the Marlborough Sounds to watching whales in Kaikoura; from walks through the bush and along the rugged coastline to relaxing at one of Marlborough’s many world-class wineries.

Marlborough is renowned for world famous Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s largest winegrowing region, and the soils and enviable climate that create it. The vineyards thrive in one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Our region is also about fresh seafood sought by the world’s finest chefs. Salmon, crayfish, mussels and of course Paua to name but a few.
Marlborough is the perfect place for romance, relaxation or adventure, in every season. Here we enjoy the finer things in life.

Picton at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound is a busy port town, the southern terminus of the Cook Strait ferries which are an integral part of New Zealand’s main trunk road and rail routes.
It is geared to all visitor needs with many cafés offering fresh food and excellent espresso plus several fine craft galleries, I love to sit on a sunny afternoon gazing over the .sparkling clear waters in this idyllic wee port town and devour some of the best gourmet produce in the country.
Blenheim is the largest town in Marlborough and has a good selection of designer, boutique, specialty and day-to-day shops as well as some of the country’s best restaurants and wine bars.
There is an abundance of fresh green tree lined parks and idyllic river side spots to sit in the sunshine and enjoy everything this town has to offer.
Marlborough is a great place to visit and an even better place to stay.

Picton Ferry

Ariki New Zealand Jewellery
We are very proud to be able to call Marlborough the home of Ariki New Zealand Jewellery.
Ariki is the world’s most successful designer/manufacturer of Paua shell jewellery. It is also one of the largest New Zealand jewellery manufacturers.
The name “Ariki” is from the Māori language and means “The Chief” or “The Best”. The name pays homage to the history of our native New Zealand people, The Māori. And we certainly strive to live up to the virtues our name suggests.

Internationally Renowned
The company was established in 1932 when a Marlborough family saw the potential of the Paua shell to be the focal point of a unique New Zealand jewellery collection. Their ambition has resulted in the Ariki Paua Collection being widely sold in New Zealand and throughout the world.

The Ariki Difference
Ariki’s Paua is harvested from areas renowned for their water quality, both pollution free and rich in minerals. These minerals give the New Zealand Paua shell its intense depth of colour and thickness of shell. By using only the best quality Paua shells Ariki’s Paua shell jewellery is able to clearly distinguish itself from its imitators all around the world.

Made and Designed in New Zealand
Ariki’s jewellery collections are proudly produced at Ariki’s factory here in Blenheim. We have a proud history of being a New Zealand based manufacturer employing New Zealanders to produce handcrafted quality products for sale in New Zealand and Overseas.

And I am in turn proud and honoured to play a small role in this remarkable industry.

Marlborough New Zealand Jewelry

Christmas Gifts: ideal for the New Zealand summer!

Marlborough New Zealand Jewelry

Christmas and summer holidays this year for me will be spent relaxing in the Marlborough Sounds with family and friends. I am looking forward to spending time in this most beautiful part of the country and in my opinion the world!
I have a few special people who have offered their hospitality as well as their boat to take us all out into the water surrounding my home – and I thought that there is no better way to thank them for this hospitality that to gift them a unique and special piece of New Zealand Paua Shell Jewellery – here are a few that remind me of these beautiful surroundings.

Dolphin Jewellery

PE332/PE432 – Dolphin Earrings
PO862/GP862 – Dolphin Pendant
PE370/PE470 – Dolphin Earrings with Heart
PB904/GB904 – Dolphin Bangle
PO556/GP556 – Dolphin Pendant with Ball
SP2 – Dolphin Pendant – Sterling Silver

I am lucky enough to live in Waikawa Bay at the top of the South Island of New Zealand and one of the highlights of those visiting the nearby Sounds is witnessing the graceful majestic Dolphins playing in the water.
The Dolphins playful nature is a reminder that everyone needs to play sometimes just for the sheer joy of it, to take time out of our busy lives and experience life as a child does.
They are also very caring and nurturing creatures… to both their own and to humans who visit their home in the sea. Purchasing any one of our beautiful unique Dolphin jewellery for someone you hold near and dear would certainly be a gift they would treasure for a lifetime.

Dophin Earring

Fish Hook Pendant

Traditionally to our native people of New Zealand, The Maori, fish hooks were extremely important both culturally and as a method to gather food for their whanau or family. Maori Legend holds that the North Island of New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner, Maui, using only a woven line and a hook made from the jawbone of his grandmother. The fish hook denotes the importance of fishing to the Maori people of New Zealand and their strong relationship to Tangaroa, the god of the sea.
Ariki New Zealand designers have created several unique and precious pieces of jewellery to honour this historical importance.

PO553/GP553 – Filigree Hook Pendant

The beautiful kowhaiwhai or scroll like patterns on this classic fish hook pendant are designed to represent the importance and significance of family, relationships and connections. The fish hook itself is believed to bring peace prosperity and good health. What better way to honour a special loved one than to wear this stunning piece of jewellery?

Filigree Hook Pendant

Hei Matau

PE133/PE233 – Hei matau Earrings
PO574/GP574 – Hei matau small teardrop Pendant
PO538/GP538 – Hei matau large teardrop Pendant
SP12 – Hei matau Sterling Silver Pendant

The fishhook or Hei matau design on these beautiful pieces of unique New Zealand Jewellery symbolizes prosperity, abundance, good health, a respect for the sea, and the life in it. Individuals wearing this symbol will personify the above traits and the gesture of gifting this stunning piece of jewellery will effectively be wishing these traits upon the recipient.

Hei Matau Pendant
Dolphins in New Zealand

Autumn has turned to winter in New Zealand

Winter in New Zealand

This week found me travelling to the West Coast of New Zealand and our autumn has now turned to winter. This photo showcases the snow-capped mountains reflecting in one of our many beautiful lakes and water ways.

I am always captivated by the ever changing landscape on my journeys around our majestic country.
Let me take this opportunity to carry on with the stories behind my very favourite unique New Zealand Jewellery pieces in our range of Paua Shell and Jade Jewellery.

Paua Dolphin Bangle - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery
Nephrite Jade Kissing Dolphin Pendant - New Zealand Jewellery
Paua Dolphin Brooch - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

With such a huge array of Dolphin jewellery available in our range I am never at a loss to choose something special and unique.
The Dolphin’s playful nature is a reminder that everyone needs to play sometimes just for the sheer joy of it. They remind us to take some time out of our busy lives to experience life like a child does.

I often see Dolphins swimming joyously and feely in the waters surrounding our wee piece of New Zealand Paradise.
They frolic and play in the waters surrounding my home and are truly a magnificent sight to see.

They remind me to take time out and enjoy the benefits of living in such a beautiful part of the world. Wearing any of my beautiful Dolphin pendants, brooch and earrings take me back to these precious moments.

Dolphins are highly intelligent. They trust their instincts and intuition and live peacefully with other species, including humans. It isn’t uncommon for dolphins to swim and play around swimmers and boats. Their gentle natures remind us to look for the good in everyone and strive to bring peace to our lives.

Dolphins in New Zealand

Sailors have long believed that dolphins are a good omen. Dolphins have been known to assist drowning people and to chase sharks away from people in the water. In one notable case, a pod of whales was beached in New Zealand. People were fighting to keep them alive but the whales were disoriented. A nearby pod of dolphins came over and herded the whales back to sea, saving their lives. Due to this tendency, dolphins have a well-earned reputation as protectors. They teach us to not only save ourselves, but to protect others in need.
Dolphins live in large cooperative social groups. Healthy adults work to protect and feed injured ones, and the whole pod rallies around mothers and their calves to protect them from predators. They demonstrate a level of selflessness that shows that coming from a place of love makes it easy to work with others without sacrificing our own needs.
Interestingly there are over 30 different species of dolphins in the world – the largest of all dolphins being the Orca or killer whale. So if you are lucky enough to sight some of these joyous carefree creatures please take time to reflect on their many virtues or maybe a piece of unique Paua Shell Dolphin jewellery can serve as your very own reminder.

Paua Sea turtle Necklace - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

GP777/PO777 – Sea Turtle Brooch
GP547/PO547 – Sea Turtle Pendant
GP808/PO808 – Large Sea Turtle Pendant
PE201/PE101 – Sea Turtle Earrings Small
PE463/PE363 – Sea Turtle Earrings
GP502/PO502 – Sea Turtle Necklace

We have an awesome variety of Sea Turtle Jewellery in our unique New Zealand Jewellery range. So I am sure that whatever your preference you will be able to find something perfect for any special occasion.

Although turtles breed in the tropics and subtropics, there are five species of turtle that are seen in New Zealand waters. And I have been lucky enough to come across them during travels around our pristine coastlines. I wear my Sea Turtle pendant and earrings to remind me of these trips.
Slow moving on earth, yet also incredibly fast and agile in water, Sea Turtles encourage us to take a break in our busy lives and look around.

Traditionally, the turtle is symbolic of the way of peace, whether it’s inviting us to cultivate peace of mind or a peaceful relationship with our environment.
The American continent is referred to as “Turtle Island” in the Native American folklore. It is said that the Turtle carried the weight of the land of that continent on her back.

The image of the Sea Turtle is also present in Hindu and Chinese cultures, where the turtle is the animal carrying Mother Earth and holding the world in balance.
Wearing a piece of our elegant Sea Turtle Jewellery may symbolise that you have an affinity with this ancient wisdom of the earth. You are naturally tuned into the elements, land, plants, people and animals. You carry your home on your back figuratively speaking and feel at ease wherever you are.
But for me personally because of their long lifespan, sea turtles often symbolize patience, wisdom, endurance, and good luck –virtues I definitely aspire to.

Major Earthquake rocks our Island paradise – Vicky’s Blog

Shake rattle and roll….as we head into the first week of summer our wee oasis in the Pacific is reeling from the impact of a major earthquake which rocked our lands just after midnight on 14th November 2016 and the hundreds of aftershocks still being felt to this day.

Kaikoura district just a short couple of hours drive from our base here in Blenheim New Zealand bore the brunt of Mother Nature flexing her muscles.

She wrecked devastation as she stretched, fracturing lands, destroying homes, land, roads, railway lines and anything else which stood in her way.

The landscape has been forever changed as have people’s lives.

Even our humble Paua did not escape her fury.

Thousands of Paua along with Crayfish and other sea life have been left exposed after the seabed lifted by up to six metres (over 19 feet) in some places.

Wrenched from their natural habitat they will wither and die.

The numbers of Paua living in this quake ravaged area could take years to recover. Especially as it was these areas where the young and growing Paua flourished in the mineral rich ocean off the coast of Kaikoura.

Paua shown here exposed after the seabed rose from the ocean by several metres

(Paua shown here exposed after the seabed rose from the ocean by several metres)

I had been lucky enough to travel along this pristine windswept highway on the Friday preceding the earthquake. I was visiting some local stockists of our beautiful New Zealand jewellery. They were all in good spirits, looking forward to the booming summer tourist season ahead.

Expecting thousands to flock to this idyllic wee seaside town, to swim and to surf, to view the whales and dolphins, to sample the local seafood, Crayfish and Paua, but now our main state highway is blocked by huge landslides, the main railway line destroyed and major damage done to the harbour and marina.

The town is isolated for a while to come yet.

The tourists cannot come visit.

Huge landslides block our main highways

(Huge landslides block our main highways)

The main rail track through the South Island has been destroyed shaken off its path and thrown across the highway into the sea.

(The main rail track through the South Island has been destroyed shaken off its path and thrown across the highway into the sea.)

But as is our “Kiwi” New Zealander way our country will rally together to repair the damage, neighbour will help neighbour and the long slow recovery process will begin.

In the meantime the rest of our beautiful country will flourish in its usual carefree summer way and visitors will still get to sample some of our awesome scenery and wonderful hospitality.