Wilderness

Growing up under canvas

IN THE LATE 90S, MY DAD – an aircraft engineer – was invited to work at Boeing Seattle for several months. He came home brimming with the exciting news – the family could fly over free to visit, and what’s more, we could go to Disneyland.

It sounds like every eight-year-old’s dream, but the plan broke my heart – the trip would mean missing our annual family camping trip to Otamure Bay, Whananaki. My brothers felt the same, and though I don’t remember complaining, apparently we were so distraught, Dad rescheduled his business trip so we could go camping.

Like many Kiwi families, we spent summer after summer camping on the same small patch of grass. Our canvas city consisted of four other families for up to five

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