I have fond memories of being on the beach as a little girl, collecting pipis with my brothers. The tide stretched out for what felt like miles in front of us, exposing a multitude of pools in which gathered wee hermit crabs scuttling nervously back-and-forth under the water in their stolen shells. Buckets at the ready we would plunge our hands into the thick, wet sand and before long our fingers would sense the long smooth shell of a pipi. Extracting them from their watery homes we would place them carefully in our buckets and once we reached our fill we would trudge home barefoot and bleary-eyed to cook our pipis on the barbeque in the back yard.
Whilst collecting pipis virtually on ones doorstep is no longer common place, we are at heart an island nation, surrounded by the sea and her bounty. Driving down the West Coast of the South Island it is not uncommon to see trucks parked up selling Whitebait fritters or fresh crayfish to hungry travellers. Lazy afternoons are easily whiled-away on sun-drenched wharves, rod in hand, hat on head, fish smaller than one might have hoped. Brave souls brave cold seas, like seals in black neoprene, filling sacks with paua and scallops. And here in Auckland it just isn’t summer if you haven’t ventured out for an afternoon on the water to catch snapper and breath in the salty summer air.