I had just turned one when my parents bought a plot of land and built their first batch on the West Coast. It was a small hut, just big enough for two sets of bunks and a rudimentary kitchen, and only a few minutes walk down Truman Track to the beach. Five years later they up-sized and bought a bach in Atarau, surrounded by acres of native bush and a river running along our boundary line. Without fail, this is where we spend every holiday as a family.
As an adult, I feel privilaged to have had this experience. It has made me feel very connected to place and given me a solid sense of belonging. Atatau and much of the rest of the West Coast of the South Island is a place where people seem to have a real relationship with the landscape; a place where people seem to live within the land, not just on top of it.