Find the Kiwi Spirit
Here’s our round-up of NZ-rich places to be this summer to mark this sporting event, Kiwi-style.
The New Zealand War Memorial, officially called Southern Stand, was unveiled in 2006 to commemorate the lives lost during the two world wars. A place for reflection, the memorial is 16 bronze sculptures on a grassy slope overlooking Hyde Park corner on the Piccadilly side. Close up, its icons and text recall stories from New Zealand and its cultural connection to Britain.
This being Hyde Park, the largest of the four royal parks, not much beats packing a summer picnic and a rugby ball too for a kick around after those Commonwealth Games rugby matches. While you’re here, wander through 360 acres of parkland, see Marble Arch, check out Speaker’s Corner and take a boat trip on Serpentine Lake.
Visit Hyde Park, W2 2UH. The nearest underground station is Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line).
Caravan Bankside is a cool, relaxed hangout for brunch, lunch, coffee and cocktails in a reused metal box factory close to The Shard and London Bridge. The industrial style and soft furnishings make this a thoroughly hip hangout, and there’s no escaping the scent of their freshly roasted coffee (and you can take a bag home).
Its ‘well-travelled’ food takes inspiration from flavours of the founders’ native New Zealand. The menu heaves with delicious breakfast vanilla pancakes, chickpea dahl, broken lamb meatballs and grilled halloumi. All in a cracking Kiwi resting spot during a day taking in the London sights.
Dine at Caravan Bankside, 30 Great Guildford St, (SE1 0HS). The nearest underground station is Borough (Northern Line).
Founded by Melanie Brown and with a team of Kiwi experts (and the odd Aussie), Specialist Cellars hunts down those hard-to-find bottles, new releases and special edition New World wines you won’t find anywhere else in London. You can taste and buy bottles or sit down in the wine bar and soak up the atmosphere.
Specialist Cellars was formerly called the New Zealand Wine Cellar but has expanded its wine collection to include Australian and South African tipples, too. Melanie and the team also have an all-day bistro, wine shop and cafe on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton called The Laundry, mixing Edwardian decor with New World dining.
So, whether you fancy becoming a New Zealand wine aficionado or just chilling in the sunshine tackling a glass of New World wine during the All Blacks Rugby Sevens at this summer’s Commonwealth Games, Specialist Cellars is a win.
Find the New Zealand Wine Cellar at Pop Brixton, (SW9 8PQ). The nearest underground station is Brixton (Victoria Line).
Night Rānana London Māori Club started life as a cultural group in 1958 when a group of New Zealanders met to share news from home, talk about travel experiences and speak Māori. Today, it’s in New Zealand House on Pall Mall and hosts regular events for New Zealanders interested in learning, teaching and taking part in Māori culture.
Along with a packed programme of song and dance events throughout the year, every Wednesday the whānau group meets at 6.30pm and you’re welcome to visit or join as a performer and give kapa haka a try.
Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club is at the new NZ House, 1 Pall Mall E, (SW1Y 5AU). The nearest underground station is Charing Cross Station.