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Pacifically New Zealand, Farm Tours and more...

Pacifically New Zealand, Farm Tours and more...

Fancy That... A new Gift Store with Real New Zealand Flavour  
If you’re a Tauranga local and looking for gifts with a real Kiwi flavour, Fancy That, the city’s newest gift and souvenir store – is angling to win you over. The big store which opened in late September, is run by the long-time former manager of the Tauranga Visitor Centre, Frances Campbell, and her husband Bill. So not surprisingly, they are also aiming for a share of the visitor market – tourists buying souvenirs and mementoes.

Frances Campbell points to their tagline of ‘Pacifically New Zealand’ to explain their focus. ‘The stock is not necessarily New Zealand-made, but everything in the shop has a New Zealand flavour...’ Fancy That has a huge range of colourful products, stocking items from souvenirs to some Tauranga-made products – such as the popular block-mounted photographs of local photographer Kirk Donoghue, who’s snapped some iconic shots of surf, Mauao, etc.

Their aim for the store is a one-stop shop – especially where local people are concerned.  Frances Campbell points out that locals for example, are constantly travelling overseas, and gift-giving is part of those trips. ‘Gifts get exchanged between New Zealand and anywhere else in the world all the time. Whether it’s birthdays, weddings, travelling, Christmas...’

Catering for such gift-giving means ensuring there’s something different to choose from every time they buy a present, says Frances. ‘I’d really like to think they could come in and find something (each time), and didn’t have to go anywhere else.’ 
Frances and Bill Campbell aren’t setting out to make Fancy That a store that’s necessarily full of local art and handicrafts. The focus is to find things that aren’t being sold by other gift stores in Tauranga. ‘We’ve got a few of the souveniry lines – a few – but our main focus really, is to get things no one else has got,’ says Frances. And she sees a need to constantly update their stock, to attract repeat customers – even if it means getting rid of something to stock new items. ‘It’s got to evolve all the time, otherwise you’ll lose those ace customers...’    

Locals, she feels, will be their bread and butter customers, with the cruise ship market and other visitors providing the cream on the top.  To that end, settling down after the ‘huge job’ of setting up the shop, the pair are planning a customer loyalty programme.
Fancy That has already had early tourists through the doors, according to Frances and Bill – perhaps not surprising for such a high profile spot on the corner of Mid City Mall and Devonport Road in the former Big Photo premises.

The pair say it’s amazing just how many tourists are around, from the U.K. and loads of Australians, in particular. How do you access the big cruise ship passenger market? You hire a bus to bring them to the store, says Frances – with Bill chipping in – don’t give all our secrets away. 

We at BoTCom say poke your nose into Fancy That and you’ll find an impressive range of NZ-themed souvenirs and mementoes. They range from humble key rings to colourful tea towels, and Maori-motif wallets, to some terrific photographs of Tauranga scenes mounted on canvas. If it’s Kiwi flavour you want in a gift, you’ll find it here.

No. 8 Farm Tours is the latest tourism venture to launch in the coastal Bay of Plenty.
The tour company offers trips to visit real working farms, providing an insight into the lives of New Zealand farming families. Tours depart from Tauranga and include visiting a variety of local Kaimai-based farms including sheep, deer and dairy.

The business was established by Andy and Sarah Somerville. The pair are passionate about the rural culture of New Zealand and, through their farm tours, want others to share in experiencing the lifestyle of farming Kiwis, and the beautiful locations in which they live and work.

To be precise, No. 8 wire is 4mm gauge, galvanized fencing wire. Because it’s easy to bend, it has been popular with farmers as an all-purpose ‘fix-it.’ Not surprisingly, the expression ‘No. 8 wire mentality’ is often used to describe New Zealanders’ ability to make or fix anything - using whatever materials happen to be at hand. “The use of ‘No.8’  in the name seemed a great fit with our business - many of New Zealand’s most famous inventions had their origins on farms, some going on to be used around the world,” says Andy.

The tour includes the story of how early settlers found themselves in a land far from anywhere; the importing of goods was still a distant dream and improvisation was a necessity. “Passengers on a No. 8 Farm Tour will meet some of the Bay of Plenty’s finest farming operations and the characters that run the farms.”

The Sommervilles say you might even pick up a bit of ‘cocky’ (farmer) terminology, the peculiar vocabulary shared by those who work the land, and to help you out, they’ve included a short glossary of words and phrases you might hear. 

Tours depart daily from the Tauranga and Mount Maunganui i-SITE visitor centres. The tour options include morning and afternoon tours for up to 20 passengers Cost: $145 adults and $90 children, including ‘smoko’– morning or afternoon tea.

No. 8 Farm Tours also caters for cruise ship passengers, special interest groups, corporate team building, corporate hosting and school groups.

Chopper Flights to Tuhua – Mayor Island 
Until now, visiting Tuhua has meant a lengthy boat trip – an obstacle for those who aren’t confident sailors. That’s all changed with Aerius Helicopters’ launch of half-day guided tours of the dormant volcano, that has one New Zealand’s largest Pohutukawa forests. Visitors are taken to the ‘Big Tree,’ a massive pohutukawa specimen with a girth of more than 15 metres, that's one of the country’s oldest. The tour includes the Devils Staircase, the stronghold where tribe would defend the island in battle.

Aerius says ‘you’ll see and hear many of our native birds including nectar-feeding bellbirds and tui, wood pigeons, morepork, fantail, kaka (brown parrot), grey warbler, waxeye, kingfisher and, soaring on the thermals, the harrier hawk. The island is also home to the Kiwi.’

For the more energetic, the company will customise a full day tour to include diving, kayaking, or an extended trek to the one of the many hot springs on the other side of the island.

The island has a special status for local Maori, partly because of the presence of black obsidian, a volcanic glass created by the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. The name Tuhua has a double significance: it applies to the locality itself and also to its glassy black obsidian, which was prized by early Maori for cutting and scraping tools and weapons.  Tuhua was also the ancient name for Me'etia Island in the traditional homeland of Hawaiki, another source of obsidian.

Another feature of Tuhua’s volcanic history is the diversity of eruption types. Virtually every known style of volcanic eruption has occurred from this small volcano. Quarantine restrictions apply to keep Tuhua pest-free. 
The $495 trips will run until the end of April next year. Children under 20 kgs cannot be taken due to lifejacket restricts. For further details contact Aerius on 0800-864 354, or visit their website:www.aerius.co.nz

Kiwi 360
How many products can you make from kiwifruit? The answer is everything from sweets to wines, and digestion-aiding medicinal products. If you’re passing Kiwi 360 beside State Highway 2 on the way to Te Puke, call in to the theme park’s shop to see the many uses of this health-giving fruit.   

Some of the biggest-selling lines include kiwifruit jam and chocolate. You can also buy Comvita’s jars of kiwifruit and honey. Health products that are based on kiwifruit include Kiwi Crush, a ‘digestive enhancer,’ and Phloe Healthy Bowel. It’s a completely natural digestive aid to keep you regular. The manufacturers say it combines prebiotics, enzymes and fibre, all found naturally in kiwifruit.  

Towards the back of Kiwi 360’s store is a large, well-stocked tasting bar, with everything from different varieties of kiwifruit to try, to Nekta, a drink made with a combination of kiwifruit and aloe vera juice. Tasty alcoholic drinks include kiwifruit wine made by the Preston family (who run Mills Reef Winery at Bethlehem), and the excellent Deinlein range of fruit liqueurs. The family brought their traditional craft from Bavaria, Southern Germany, to launch a Tauranga distillery in 2001.

Since getting their first liqueurs on the market in 2002, Deinlein now supply over 100 outlets nationwide, from small wine shops to department store such as Smith & Caughey's in Auckland, Kirkcaldie & Stains in Wellington, and Ballantynes in Christchurch. You’ll also find the range, that includes Kiwi Gold and feijoa liqueurs, in souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants and some duty free stores.

Keep an eye on Kiwi 360’s website, for the launch of online shopping where you can buy lots of kiwifruit products.  The company says it’s responding to demand in setting up the online shop.

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