Last night it snowed in the mountains. Yesterday, I was playing with my granddaughter in a tributary to the Matukituki river in the blazing late summer sun.

I’ve written about the contrasts New Zealand has to offer before. They are amazing. To the photographer, it’s like being in a candy shop: you don’t either get a glacier or a river or a snow capped peak; you have them all in the same frame. It doesn’t seem to matter where you look because the Kodak moment is always there and the only risk is that no-one back home ever believes that the vibrancy of colours are not the result of Photoshop. Yes, trust me; the water really is that turquoise, the sky that blue .

There is also real freedom here still. People can land their paraglider on the football pitch, they can drive almost anywhere and only occasionally are you politely requested to ask permission before driving through a station. Children live an outdoor existence and even my 2 year old granddaughter already shows promise as a rock climber.

I lived here as a teenager and remember wondering why, with such amazingly beautiful scenery, there were no renowned Kiwi landscape painters  and why no masterpieces ever emerged from this country.  I might have found an answer from a book I’m reading: Khaled Hosseini’s  “The Kite Runner” ; a tale of human relationships and betrayal based on emotive issues derived from centuries of strife between the races and families of Afghanistan.  Suffering, history, the “flip side of the coin” is noticeably lacking in New Zealand and perhaps these emotions are necessary ingredients which influence the really great artist.

Vincent van Walt

More photos: