Visiting Southland

Southland Will Always Be Home

I have just returned from a couple of weeks in Southland, New Zealand’s southern most province. My mother and extended family live down there and the area will always be “home” to me, no matter where I actually live. I’m not sure if its weird or unusual to feel such close ties to somewhere I left over 40 years ago and where I’ll never live again, but there you are, I’m stuck with being a very proud Southlander.

I’ve always loved going home. Naturally visiting my family is the draw card which takes me there but this visit filled me with a real sense of calm and purpose. It’s taken me a few days to figure out why this visit should be different and I think it might be something as simple as me being a passenger whenever we travelled. I’m usually the driver – I can’t navigate for peanuts and the GPS annoys me horribly. This visit hubby assumed the driving for no obvious reason and I was left to soak up the sights and sounds of the countryside like never before.


I’ve always appreciated the beauty of Southland. The rolling farmland, the quiet, sandy beaches, the thunderous surf on rocky outcrops, the sedate little townships splattered around the province. cosy

But during this last fortnight I was filled with the idea this is where I should be writing about. Auckland is where I live now and most of my stories have used Auckland as the setting for at least part of the story, but perhaps I should be paying more attention to the beauty of Southland.

Even in a romance story, settings are important. We can use the landscape, the wide open spaces, the attitudes of local people, even the weather to augment the romance building between our two characters. Southland has much to offer any writer.

As I near completion of my second story set around Riversleigh, I wonder if I can think up another. Perhaps I could attempt a “Riversleigh” series. Hmm, not sure about that. I’ve never considered writing a series, although I know they are popular. Has this visit ‘home’ come at a time when I needed to focus my stories a little more? Focus them on the beauty of Southland?

I guess only time will tell.

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