Hawaii or Te Puke: Where to go for your next vacation?

Photographer/The spin-off

“Today I am in Te Puke, the heart of kiwi country.”

This story comes from the team at thespinoff.co.nz.

Should Christopher Luxon have stayed in the heart of Kiwi Country instead of vacationing in the Rainbow State? We weigh the pros and cons of each destination.

A video posted last week on National Party leader Christopher Luxon’s Facebook page opened with the unambiguous statement: “Listen, today I am in Te Puke, in the heart of Kiwifruit country.”

Today, however, he confirmed to scandal-hungry reporters in the press gallery that this was not true. “I was on leave last week with my family. I went to Hawaii with my family like I tend to do in July,” Luxon said.

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He had, however, been to Te Puke the previous week, and the main thing this whole saga shows is the importance of adding a #latergram hashtag to your posts. It also raises an important question that no one has really stopped to consider before: Te Puke or Hawai’i?

With the cost of living crisis and New Zealand businesses desperate for more visitors, should Luxon – and all of us – holiday closer to home? Let’s consider the pros and cons.

Luxon - sad

Sungmi Kim / Stuff

Luxon – sad

Te Puke Mayor Garry Webber said there was absolutely no doubt where you should go next. “[Te Puke’s got] all the amenities of big cities but not the people or the traffic jams,” he said when approached for his two cents. “If you go to any of the beaches, from Mount Maunganui to Whakatāne, there are miles of open beach as good as anything you’ll see in Hawaii. You don’t have to share it with a bunch of international tourists.”

Webber has been to Hawai’i before, but said he cut his trip short to return to Te Puke. “The beaches were so crowded. We had booked for a week. After three days, I told my wife, “I’m leaving. It just wasn’t for me. I’m a country boy at heart. There were so many people there.

Webber makes a compelling case, but since he’s literally the mayor of Te Puke, he may not be the most objective voice. Let’s compare the options for ourselves.

First of all, the tourist attractions offered in the two localities. According to the 100% Pure New Zealand website, Te Puke offers only one activity: for a reasonable price of 18 to 20 dollars, you can visit a kiwifruit orchard and discover “the history of the kiwifruit”.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, Te Puke is a fan of kiwis – there’s a giant monument of them you can visit. Hawai’i has a slightly longer list of attractions, but none of them are Kiwi-based. For furry fruit fans, the decision is easy.

If landmarks and tourist attractions aren’t your thing, consider the appeal of the great outdoors.

Just outside Te Puke you’ll find Mount Maunganui, with its amazing cafes, beautiful beach and a range of walks offering plenty of Instagram opportunities. Honolulu’s popular Diamond Head is much the same. And while Hawai’i is home to some of the most scenic beaches in the world, Te Puke Swim School also has clear water and warm temperatures, and it boasts a 4.9-star (0. 3 stars more than Honolulu’s iconic Waikīkī Beach).

Finally, consider shopping. While Te Puke may not be able to compete with the high-end retail therapy offered in Honolulu, it does have a place called Giftwrapt, a hardware store called XCetera, and most importantly, a Caroline Eve. As Mayor Webber says, “all the big city amenities.”

In the end, it comes down to personal choice. For many, the lure of the annual family vacation to Hawai’i will be too strong. For the rest of us, it’s worth considering a trip to Te Puke: New Zealand’s Hawai’i.

Additional reporting by Chris Schulz

About Catherine Sturm

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