I have never written to a magazine before but after receiving the last issue in the post I cannot contain myself. Life & Leisure with its now-defunct byline “changing the way we live” has been my absolutely favourite magazine of all time. It was full of really interesting articles about ordinary people living extraordinary lives, doing things they were passionate about and really believed in. They were not necessarily beautiful people living in beautiful homes surrounded by valuable possessions.
However, the last few issues have been full of glossy, glamorous advertising (which, yes, I realize generates necessary income to allow the magazine to continue) but such an about turn in relevance makes it alarmingly similar to a number of other magazines already on our supermarket shelves, along with well-written but insipid articles.
I would like you to reconsider your values and remember what it was that inspired you to start this magazine in the first place. You don’t have to be trendy to be a trendsetter. This, I hope, is constructive criticism, written with love for my favourite magazine which I want to see continue.
On a recent trip through the Haast to the West Coast I was pleased I had saved the latest copy (Issue 28) of NZ Life & Leisure to read on tour. My husband is a keen fly fisherman and a hopeful whitebaiter which meant we explored side roads, river mouths and their upper reaches in search of trout and whitebait. I had the chance to relax and admire the beautiful bush and scenery while reading my Life & Leisure.
So many of the articles struck a chord. We had driven past Bendigo Station days earlier and over the years have watched the spread of vineyards up its hills. I recently read The Vintner’s Luck and can’t wait to see how Niki Caro has captured that fascinating story on film. How thrilled I was to find an article on our niece Sharyn and her partner Jeremy making their lovely NZ Artisan Honey, although I am yet to sample it. Then on our way home to Timaru we passed Christine Fernyhough’s Castle Hill Station which looks just picture-perfect amongst those stunning rocky outcrops.
Now when I remember our brief West Coast holiday and recall the tui gurgling in the bushes above me, the weka and their young scurrying over the roads , the snowy mountains and glaciers and beaches it is all intermingled with the lovely stories your magazine provides.
Leona Woodnorth, Timaru
We have some truly amazing people living in our communities. Bette Flager’s feature in Issue 28 on globe-trotting grandma Roslein Wilkes and her work with Riding for the Disabled was inspirational and heartwarming. Without the dedication of people like Roslein and the organization that is Special Olympics, people of all ages with an intellectual disability would not have an opportunity to participate in sports.
All credit to NZ Life & Leisure for running the story and highlighting the achievements of this group. It is through increased public awareness that focuses on ability, rather than disability, that the wider community will come to better understand the needs of others. Like their non-disabled peers, this group of riders has committed to their chosen sport, to learn and strive to achieve. The photographs by Nicola Edmonds complemented the feature beautifully and sensitively illustrate the skill, pride and pleasure derived from the participation of all those involved.
Susan Allen, Nelson
Wow.. what a beautiful magazine! I’ve seen it around at doctors’ surgeries and so on but never purchased it. I heard an ad for it on the radio this morning and the mention of Christine Fernyhough made me go straight to a bookshop to look for it. I bought it instantly and had just a quick look at it in my coffee break. So many lovely stories and pictures … to die for! Almost have to go and put it out in my car so I’m not tempted to pick it up for another look. Will have a lovely read of it at the weekend. Well done – fantastic-looking magazine and lovely stories.
Angela Rowson, Auckland
This morning I found myself at home as a result of our local Lamb and Calf Day being postponed and I picked up my latest copy of NZ Life &Leisure. I became engrossed and sat reading for a precious half hour. So many stories struck a chord with me and I found myself reflecting on what it is to be a New Zealander and, importantly for our family, a rural New Zealander.
I love that your magazine celebrates the lives of ordinary people in our communities and focuses on the everyday-ness of extraordinary New Zealanders. The piece on Niki Caro and her family coping with overseas living was a great example of this. The Castle Hill children collecting eggs for their holiday reminded me that I needed to pay our eldest son’s wages for the farm work he had done over the long weekend. He is saving for his first rabbit-shooting rifle and would love to be let loose amongst those Bendigo Station rabbits. Boys of the High Country is the first entry on my Christmas shopping list and Annabel Langbein’s cooking pages reminded me that our own farm-raised ham is ready to be collected from the local farm-kill butcher. It doesn’t seem that long ago that learning to negotiate those levers and knobs shown in Tim Gilbertson’s Land Rover was my ticket to long-awaited driving freedom.
Hopefully the skills our children are learning as they help around the farm on their motorbikes will help in their own learning-to-drive years. Carolyn Viskovich’s beautiful apartment is very different from our farmhouse – a 100-year-old house we relocated and spent untold hours rebuilding and redecorating – but the dream of a fantastic home to live in and work from continues to drive us to plaster, paint and plant.
Thanks for prompting these memories and thoughts. It is too easy to become engrossed in our busy lives and forget to appreciate how good life is in rural New Zealand. As my bookshelf becomes crowded with the boys’ copies of Rod&Rifle, hunting and motorbike magazines, Life & Leisure will continue to be my number-one choice.
Keri Lourie, Takapau