hot air balloon 2 - view

Hamilton offers several exciting tour destinations and adventures, among which is sightseeing the city on a hot air balloon.  It’s an exhilarating experience to have an unobstructed view of the whole place and looking down on life below. Every visitor to Hamilton should try this.

Perhaps, one of the most exciting adventures you could do in Hamilton is to ride the wind – literally – on a hot air balloon. An hour-long flight above Hamilton and Waikato is more than worth the money you pay for it. And getting up very early in the morning is a pleasant challenge.

Yes, a hot air balloon ride is done just before sunrise, while the rest of the community are still in the comfort of their beds or have just woken up.  The crisp morning breeze is superb. And perhaps, there is nothing more wonderful than watching the sun gradually comes out from the horizon.

Flying over the North Island gives you a magnificent view of the lush vineyards, pasturelands of the Waikato, forests, the local crops, lakes, rivers, mountain ranges, roads, and the communities.  And if you’re fortunate to fly on a clear day, you’ll have a bonus view of the snow-capped mountains of the distant Tongariro National Park.

And if you are keen about reflecting over the things you see, you’ll stand in awe at the marvelous deeds of the Creator.

hot air balloon 1Ideal for honeymooners as well as families

A hot air balloon ride is ideal for honeymooners, lovers, as well as for families and groups.  There are just certain qualifications, however, on who should go up on a hot air balloon ride for safety reasons.

  • kids below 8 years old are not allowed to ride
  • children below 12 years should be under parental guidance
  • fourteen-week pregnant women are not allowed to fly

The hot air balloon adventure is available daily from September to June.  However, since it is weather-dependent, you may not be able to take the flight on your preferred schedule. But you need not worry because your hot air ballooning team is always ready to coordinate with you on the matter.

Visit 100% Pure New Zealand for your hot air balloon booking.

Read More →
nziff 2

This year’s New Zealand International Film Festival is set to open in Auckland from 16 July to 2 August before it gets underway in Wellington a week later.  In this connection, therefore, the city announces the initial movie titles for NZIFF 2015.


Organizers of the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) are delighted to announce the first movie titles to launch the festival’s first programme for this year.  They are pleased to reveal that the films include five Sundance award winners, namely:

  • The Wolfpack.  This Crystal Moselle film won the Documentary Grand Prize Jury Prize.  It tells the story of the six Angulo siblings who were locked away in their apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan by their father.
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl.  NZIFF secured this Marielle Heller-directed movie from the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition section. The film, based on the well-reviewed graphic novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, is about the coming-of-age adventures of a teen artist, Minnie Goetze, who enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.
  • Umrika.  This Indian drama film by Prashant Nair won the Sundance’ Audience Award for World Cinema. The story revolves on a country lad who travels to America (also known as Umrika) and narrates his adventures to his countrymen through letters, a thing that sparks community debate and inspires hope.

nziff 3

  • Cartel Land. This action-based documentary by Matthew Heineman, is a classic western presentation that pits vigilantes on both sides of the border against the Mexican drug cartels.


  • Grandma. Written, produced, and directed by Paul Weitz, Grandma is a comedy drama film of a hilarious and protective grandmother who fights for her pregnant teenage granddaughter.

Organizers further announce that the NZIFF programmes will be available in Auckland starting 23 June, and in Wellington from 26 June.

Auckland is such a vibrant city that it never runs out of amazing activities for both its residents and visitors to keep busy with.  For sure, the announcement of the initial movie titles for the NZIFF 2015 draws excitement among film enthusiasts and filmmakers alike.

Read More →

Traditional-branding-is-conspicuously-absent-the-biggest-sign-in-the-window-just-says-Shop.-450x300The business industry is the most competitive realm to go through with all the competitors around it is hard for any entrepreneur to start up their own business. If they do, they will be wondering on why their competitor is always full of customers if they are both selling the same products. That would be the responsibility of retail design or the shops interior design. Because any shops appearance can make a great impact on the overall feel of the business and creating the right atmosphere is essential in attracting consumers and to maintain their loyalty in the business.

    To do so, retail shop owners should be focusing in the area that is mostly seen by customers which are the window displays. It is the most powerful tool in drawing passengers in and to attract them to enter the vicinity. The most effective window display stands are the ones that can stand out even on high streets and contains visually appealing and inviting displays consumers will love. The key is by creating a creative retail design for the window displays.

Tips for a creative retail design windows display:

    Always change the window display

The changing of window designs frequently can keep everything about the shop fresh and thrill for the consumers. As window displays showcases the products that are available for passers-by. Older retail stores have been changing their designs at the end of the season and to have an edge from them owners should consider changing their window displays at least 6 types in a year. To do so, take advantage of the most important calendar dates and think of ways on how to turn them into a very eye-catching displays.

    Create a BIG and Bold statement with window display

As a common misconception, window displays are not only for the merchandise but are also effective of making a statement that can be seen by anyone that will pass by the store. If the store is fighting for something they can convey their message by showing it on their window display.

    The brand should be reflected on the Exterior of the store

Before anyone notices a certain store, the first thing that will capture their attention is the store front. A shop hidden can literally drive costumers away before the store has their chance to win them over with their products and displays. To prevent this from happening, they should ensure that the paintwork and their signage are intact in collaboration with their window designs.

    They should use the right set of merchandise

The products to be displayed on the windows are highly important as the store displays. Although the product does not change every season it is important that they do not re-create an old display. Instead of focusing on the merchandise, they should be thinking of new ways on how they can showcase their products. They could incorporate their main merchandise on the different sections of the store. These can show costumers what the store can offer in just a limited space.

    The correct lighting is a must

Due to the fact that lighting can make or break a window display because the light directed on the merchandise acts as an important factor in attracting costumer’s attention. They should remember that not all displays need the same type of lighting. Spotlights are used to focus the attention of featured products while a softer glow can be an effective way in incorporating the windows display in retail design on the rest of the store.

    These tips are the effective ways on attracting potential consumers to purchase on the store, all they have to do is be creative and think out of their box.

Read More →
Foster and Allen - poster

The legendary Foster & Allen singing duo is set to perform in a live concert on the 4th of June at St. James Theatre, Wellington. It would be a night of humour and easy-listening music for all loyal fans of the famous Irish folk singers.  

Catch Foster & Allen live in concert on the 4th of June at St. James Theatre in Wellington.  The two-and-half hour show starts at 7:00 in the evening, but doors will open 30 minutes before that.

The singing duo will be supported by Ollie Kennedy on bass, Bryan Megahey on lead guitar, and Moyra Fraser on keyboards.

Foster & Allen began their singing career in 1975 by doing local gigs in different cabaret venues in Ireland, as well as in the UK. But it was only in 1978 that their music got noticed by many with the release of their single. A Bunch of Thyme became so popular that it consistently topped the Irish Music Charts for 53 weeks.

Following the single’s success in Ireland, Foster & Allen decided to release A Bunch of Thyme in the United Kingdom.  All radio stations aired the song then, paving the way for the singing duo’s singing career into the music industry.  Since then, Foster & Allen’ popularity immensely grew, capturing many fans abroad, particularly in Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Foster and Allen - portraitSome of Foster & Allen’s notable songs include:

  • A Bunch of Thyme
  • Old Flames
  • I Love You All My Life
  • Maggie
  • Gentle Mother
  • Silver Threads Among the Gold
  • Seven Old Ladies
  • After All These Years

Aside from their performance in the capital, Foster & Allen will also bring their show live in other cities of New Zealand, like: Napier, Hamilton, North Shore, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Christchurch, Timaru, Oamaru, Invercargill, Dunedin, Ashburton, Blenheim, and New Plymouth.

The Foster & Allen show tickets are fast selling. So, secure your seat now; otherwise, you’ll miss it.

Read More →
Six60 NZ Tour

After more than a year of being away, Six60 returns to New Zealand stage again with what the band dubs as its  “biggest and and most exciting tour to date”.  

Following a considerable time spent in the studio recording their new album, the Six60 band is back to do a concert tour in the different cities of New Zealand.  The group will start their gigs in May – that is, this month – promising to deliver high energy live shows for its loyal fans.  They will play songs from their debut album as well as perform some numbers from their new set, which was released on 27 February this year.

Six60In Christchurch, the band will perform on 29 May at the Horncastle Arena. Tickets to the concert are now on sale at ticketek. Doors open at 7:00pm, although the duration of the show remains tentative and subject to change any time.

Six60 achieved a phenomenal success in the field of music, boasting of the following recognitions:

  • Six New Zealand Music Awards
  • sold out nationwide tours
  • a quadruple platinum sales for its self-titled debut album, which was released in October 2011

Some of the most popular songs that mark Six60 include, Don’t Forget Your Roots, Rise Up, Only to Be, Forever, Special, and Lost.

The band is composed of five young men, who were then students at the University of Otago in Dunedin. They decided to name their group Six60 after the street number of the house where they used to live. From Dunedin, their fan base grew to other student hubs around New Zealand. Since then, Six60 continues to rise until it has carved a niche in the music industry.

The Six60 NZ Tour will also feature the support acts of Mt Eden, who is popularly known for the new wave of electronic music which he introduced in 2009, and; Raiza Biza, a Hamilton/Auckland-based young rapper, who is noted for his reflective and introspective lyrics.

You can also catch Six60 in other New Zealand venues:

  • May 16: Shed 6, Wellington
  • May 22: Claudelands Arena, Hamilton
  • May 23: Vector Arena, Auckland
  • May 30: Dunedin Town Hall, Dunedin
Read More →
IPC logo

After a week of gruelling competition at the national level, eight swimmers were chosen to represent New Zealand in the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in July.  The eight athletes outshone the rest with their outstanding performances at the Swimming NZ Open Championships.


The eight-member team will carry the New Zealand banner to the IPC Swimming World Championships on July 13 – 19, 2015 in Glasgow, Great Britain.  It will be composed of the following swimmers, six of whom are Paralympians:

Sophie Pascoe

Sophie Pascoe


  • Cameron Leslie, S5, SB3, SM4. Leslie was a world and Paralympic champion who swam his fastest record since London 2012 in the 150m individual medley SM4
  • Georgia Gray, S9.  The Glasgow event will be Gray’s first World Championships, and she’s eagerly looking forward to it.
  • Hamish McLean, S6. Just like Gray, the July event will also be McLean’s first World Championships.
  • Jesse Reynolds, S9, SB8.  The Glasgow competition will be his second World Championships event
  • Mary Fisher is a triple world champion in women’s S11 events
  • Nikita Howarth is a 200m individual medley SM7 gold medalist
  • Rebecca Dubber, S7, SB6, SM7
  • Sophie Pascoe, S10, SB9.  She is the reigning five-time world champion. She also set the two women’s S10 world records at the Swimming NZ Open Championships.

Of the New Zealand team, High Performance Director PNZ, Malcolm Humm, has this to say:

“We set a goal to produce more athletes who would reach the level required to achieve medal winning performance at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”

The July 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships is expected to have more than 650 participants from 50 countries. Each of these athletes will vie to secure a place in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

The competition will be held at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, in the same pool where the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games was also staged. Tickets are now available at the ticketmaster.

Since London 2012, the IPC Swimming World Championships is the world’s biggest international para-swimming competition.

Read More →
Sanctuary 2

The Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in the North Island of New Zealand is worth spending time in. That is, if you are one who loves to experience what life was like hundreds of years ago – literally! The Sanctuary is an ecological island where New Zealand’s native fowls and native bush of ancient times are being taken care of. Many of the animals in the sanctuary have already been classified among the threatened and endangered species.


The Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is a 3,400-hectare primitive volcano that has been converted into a conservation project by the local community, who formed the The Maungatautari Trust.  To keep the habitat safe from predators, the organization enclosed the entire area with a 47-kilometre pest-proof fence.

Since the restoration project began almost 10 years ago, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari authorities have observed a significant increase in the number of native forest bird species and native birds, in general.  They also noticed a remarkable regeneration of the  forest.

bird 1Today, the sanctuary is now a pest-free habitat for a myriad of wildlife, including:

  • hihi
  • pitoitoi
  • tuatara
  • kiwi
  • takahe
  • yellow-crowned Kakariki
  • tieke (saddleback)
  • kokopu (native fish)
  • forest gecko
  • Duvaucel’s gecko
  • Pacific gecko
  • Green gecko
  • copper skink
  • long-tailed bats

How to get there and what to expect

The sanctuary is just a 40-minute scenic trip from Hamilton, and there are various ways to reach the mountain.  You just have to coordinate with the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari for convenience and for briefing.

Once you get past through the pest-proof gate, your journey begins to the ancient New Zealand forest.  There are several well-maintained and wide walking tracks inside to make your visit comfortable.  You may either opt for a guided tour, if you’re afraid of getting lost in the forest; or, you may choose a self-guided bush walk.

And as you move around, be prepared to be serenaded by the native birds. You will surely be amazed, too, to find New Zealand’s native bush in the sanctuary’s natural and self-sustaining forest environments.

The Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is truly a majestic eco-tourism destination. You’ll never regret visiting the place.

Read More →
Waiheke Island 1

Waiheke Island is the ultimate retreat for people who want to get away from the normal grind of city life.  Everywhere you look here is greenery, freshness, and total relaxation. The island is home to lush olive groves and vineyards. At the same time, it is a place of adventure and fun where you can enjoy kayaking, swimming, strolling around, and have picnic under the sun. Located in the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island is just a 35-minute ferry ride, or 17.7 kilometres away, from downtown Auckland.

Waiheke Island mapNext to the Great Barrier Island, Waiheke Island is the second largest in the Hauraki Gulf. It is a perfect destination for day trip and eco-tours. Although, you can also stay longer as there is a wide range of accommodation to choose from in the island.

Waiheke Island is considered a national taonga, or treasure, because of its wildlife and diverse habitats, historical sites, and cultural heritage.  In fact, the island is part of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, the agency that safeguards the historic landmarks and natural features of the gulf that are of national and international significance.

What makes the marine park a highly protected area is its quality and presence of wildlife and plants that are not found anywhere else in the world.

The parklands and public reserves on Waiheke Island are managed by both the Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation (DOC).  Among the reserves in the island are the:

  • Matietie Historic Reserve
  • Stony Batter Historic Reserve
  • Te Matuku Bay Cemetery and Scenic Reserves

Stony BatterActivities to do in the Island

If you love sightseeing, you can have short walks along the reserves where you may immerse in the beautiful scenery and learn of the fascinating history that the Waiheke Island is noted for. You may also want to experience the tunnels and gun emplacements at the Stony Batter Historic Reserve.

And since Waiheke Island is known for its vineyards and wineries, why not join a guided tour through the fabulous wineries on the island?  And of course, you must try wine tasting of world-class wines.

You may also go swimming, kayaking, or just laze around in any of the white sandy beaches at the Onetangi, Oneroa, or Palm Beach that slope down into the Hauraki Gulf.

Read More →
Gallipoli exhibition - invitation

The new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park formally opens on 18 April, the beginning of Anzac Week.  The park, said to be the biggest government project to commemorate the first World War centenary, is built to honor the 18,166 New Zealanders who died during that time.

Te Papa exhibit

Wellington launches Anzac Week from 18 April through to 25 April, 2015. It starts with the formal opening of the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to the public. A rededication of the Hall of Memories, and an update on the Roll of Honour were performed during the official ceremony.

Two exhibitions were also opened to remember the heroic actions, tragedies, and triumphs that New Zealand soldiers had to undergo during World War I.

hospital shipGallipoli: the scale of our war.  Gallipoli was the first campaign that New Zealand launched in World War I.  The exhibition combines movies, model-making, and museums to make it closer to reality, and to allow visitors to experience an immersive journey through the battlefields of the First World War. There are also 3D maps and projections that allow you to hear enemy fire.

Developed by Te Papa in collaboration with Weta Workshop, Gallipoli runs from 18 April through to 24 December at the Te Papa Tongarewa.  Entry is free of charge.


Great War Exhibition. Shown at the Dominion Museum Building at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, the Great War Exhibition brings you back in time to 1914 – 1918, allowing you to get a glimpse of New Zealand’s significant role in the first World War. Personal experiences from people who were there in the battlefields are among the highlights of the Great War Exhibition.

General admission to the exhibition is free to allow as many visitors as possible the experience of immersing into a significant part of New Zealand history.  A guided tour is also available for a fee.

Check out with the Wellington City Council for more Anzac Week activities.

Read More →
Christchurch - marathon 1

The Christchurch Airport Marathon is back.  After four years of preparation following the earthquakes, Christchurch’s foot race returns to the central city on 31 May 2015. This time, the new race base will be at the Cathedral Square. From there, participants will run on a flat, fast, and spectator-friendly figure-8 course.  The course is meant to allow participants to travel along spectacular landmarks like the Avon River, Hagley Park, Canterbury Museum, and Oxford Terrace.

Chrischurch - Airport marathon logo

The Christchurch Airport Marathon, inspired by the Commonwealth marathon of 1974, is known to be one of the most scenic and fastest races in the world.  This year’s foot race allows every age group to participate as the event  includes varied categories, such as the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, and Kids’ Mara’ Fun.  Recreational participants who intend to run or walk, must enlist under the Run section.

It should be noted that the walk categories are not official race walks.  Rather, they are timed social walks that will give an award to the first three men and women to finish the course. And regardless of age, all participants are eligible for the Open and Age Group awards.

The categories are automatically decided on the race day itself based on the participant’s date of birth.

Christchurch - marathon 2

Organizers have already determined the course description, and mapped out a tentative race route.  However, these schedule might change prior to the race day. That’s why participants are advised to check out the programme from time to time.

Entry fees

Entries should be made on or before May 8, 2015; otherwise, late fee is applied. Here is the list of entry fees according to category.

Full Marathon – Run and Wheelchair

  • Early entry: $80.00
  • Late fee: extra $25.00

Half Marathon – Run and Walk and Wheelchair

  • Early entry: $65.00
  • Late fee: extra $20.00

10k – Run and Walk and Wheelchair

  • Early entry: $35.00
  • Late fee: extra $10.00

Kids’ Mara’ Fun – Run and Walk and Wheelchair

  • Early entry: $15.00
  • Late fee: extra $5.00

For further information, visit the Christchurch Airport Marathon website.

Read More →