North on One

7:00pm Sunday, February 20 on TV One

After exploring the wild south in his last television series, Lush has gone to the other extreme of the country for his next show, North.

Travelling up the east side of the country and down the west, taking in the Far North and Cape Reinga, visiting the Islands of the Gulf, and telling the stories of the great harbours of the Manukau, Hokianga, Kaipara and the Waitemata, before concluding ten weeks later with an idiosyncratic A to Z of Auckland in classic Lush style.

In many cases he will be taking the road less travelled, via sand-barge, cement ship, on horseback or small local fishing vessels.

In episode two Lush finds out what people don’t learn about Piha on Piha Rescue, – goes nude – again – and boats the Kaipara exploring both its and his own fish canning history.

Piha local, author and journalist Sarah Coney chats to Lush about what Piha has to offer: “The big thing that happened here was a couple of life guards from America came here in the 1950’s. Bing and Rick went out and rode their boards diagonally across the waves. It spread like wildfire- there was just complete adoration. And that was pretty much the beginning; modern surfing in New Zealand was born at the Piha Surf club.”

Lush then explores a more sinister side of Piha: “The murder mystery and the skull,” Lush announces ominously, referring to an event that rocked Piha in 1939 and has become somewhat of an urban myth today, wherein, two friends who were sharing a bach became the victims of an arson attack – one escaped and the other was killed in the blaze.

Lush informs us that the body found in the bach was not who anyone had expected. “Sure enough the police did find a body but police worked out it wasn’t the escapee’s mate. It was the body of a recently deceased man,” he reveals.

Coney confirms. “They’d gone up and dug up his body and taken it and then put it in the bach and pretended it was his mate who’d been burnt. It was insurance fraud. They’d insured the mate for an awful lot of money in Australia; and that was a very elaborate swindle,” says Coney.

Over in Parakai, Lush relaxes with a spot of skinny-dipping. “These days Parakai has an almost-something bad happened at youth group feel to it,” Lush announces. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s still got a kind of melancholy niceness to it. And the really exciting thing is, as those in certain circles know, every last Thursday of the month at Parakai is nude day,” he announces with raised eyebrows.

When Lush reaches the Kaipara harbour, after meeting some very interesting characters, visiting many other special destinations in his journey up the coast, he learns how his own roots are ingrained in the history of the north. “Well this is quite strange for me, I don’t normally like to give too much of myself away,” he concludes.

Missed an episode of North? Full episodes are available online. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘Ondemand’ button.

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