A personal charm

Hermann Seifried was laughed at when he arrived on the South Island 40 years ago, looking to make wine. Today, he is the proud owner of an outstanding winery, and the father of an industry so successful it has become synonymous with the country itself. Seifried is just one example of New Zealand’s most underrated asset, writes the New Zealand Herald’s travel editor, Jim Eagles. Beyond the vistas and the vino attracting droves of visitors to the country, there are “the people who host all those unique lodges, personalised jet boat rides, walks in the wilderness, [and] great little restaurants serving Kiwi cuisine,” creating the backbone of New Zealand’s particular appeal. This innovative, adventurous spirit of New Zealand entrepreneurs is one of the country’s great strengths in a time of looming global economic contraction. John Wilson, for example, built himself a boat 30 years ago so he could explore Abel Tasman Park. He has gone on to head a company that escorts thousands of tourists a year to see the park’s golden bays and tranquil forests. “Theirs are the sort of businesses the government needs to encourage if our economy is to prosper,” says Eagles. More than anything, “the chance to meet and talk to such delightful personalities is a big part of what makes this such a great country to explore.”

Tags: Abel Tasman Park  Hermann Seifried  New Zealand Herald  Wine