To: European and North American Headquarters
Subject: NZ Qs
30 April 2014
Qs are abundant here.
The simple, low-rent Asian hair studio in the Parnell Train Station is Q. So is a low-rent liquor store on Quay Street, Auckland. Also an office building in Wellington and a boat-builder in Wanganui.
Q Theatre on Queen Street in central Auckland is one of the top 10 Qs in the world. “Angels in America: Part Two” was as good as New York, in a cozy 300-seat room where the action was up close and personal. The Kiwi cast’s American accents were perfect. The play was crazy, sad, outrageous, hilarious, depressing, and inspiring.
Three more candidates for the top 10:
The firm struggled to survive after the disastrous earthquake that destroyed most of downtown Christchurch, the second-largest city in New Zealand. Q’s office was ruined. But after endless hours of planning and overtime stress, their excellent work continues in a new location: a renovated 19th-century tannery that survived the quake.
Q Ambassador Marie Kinscher and I shared a delicious and story-filled dinner with Robert Jameison, Q Creative Director, at a busy pan-Asian restaurant on Montréal Street, a few blocks from downtown Christchurch, which is still rebuilding:
Nick Eagles and Hannah Kerr started their own design firm after several years at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the biggest museum in New Zealand. Their excellent work is mostly in 3D display systems about history and art. They love music, art, travel, and doing good work.
When she was a financial operative and vinophile, Jules Mathews met an entrepreneur who named his companies with Q words: Quantum, Quest, Quire, etc. When he bought land in New Zealand’s newest wine valley, he relied on Jules for management and marketing advice, and soon she was the full-time manager of the wine business. She named the wine: Q Pinot Noir and Q Pinot Gris.
Jules invited me to lunch at SPQR, a groovy in-crowd place in Ponsonby, one of Auckland’s hipper neighborhoods: steamed snapper with Q Pinot Gris.
Later, Ambassador Kinscher and I agreed that Q Pinot Noir is perfect with sautéed tuna and roasted vegetables. Both wines are delectable. Also hard to find.
The Q vineyard is here, in the Waitaki Valley, east central South Island, in a small anonymous section of vines:
Tour buses full of exotic accents and languages never pass this place. Jules is the only person authorized to provide directions to the Q terroir.
Like 007’s Q, Q wine is mysteriously exceptional.
Standing by for further instructions.