Tearooms of State Highway 1 – Prologue

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Way back in 2004 I was driving back to Auckland after a family weekend in Waitetoko, on Lake Taupo. I suddenly realised that there just weren’t as many tearooms on the trip as I remembered there to be when I was a child. This got me reminiscing about the tearooms of old, and how nice it was to stop o? after a few hours of driving and be served some baked goods and a refreshing beverage by a kindly old lady named Ruth.

From here my mind wandered, I was a passenger so no need to fear for my safety, to what tearooms I had visited in recent years. I could think of none. Sure, there were cafes, diners and truck stops, but they just didn’t have the same welcoming, time-warped atmosphere. It was at this point that I had an epiphany: I would make it my mission to hunt out all remaining tearooms on State Highway 1 and record my ?ndings so that the good people of New Zealand would always have something to remember this most historic institution by, long after the doilies had faded to brushed aluminium and the tea had turned to latte.

I immediately started jotting down any ideas that came into my busy little head. What you are about to read resembles very little of what I came up with that fateful day, but the premise remained. Over a year later, I was still at University and couldn’t just pack up and leave, I jumped on the internet and tracked down every tearooms that was listed in the Yellow Pages, so long as I thought it was on SH1. This list became the basis for my entire journey. Even if it all fell through, and I found no recognisable evidence of anything resembling tearooms, it would be the perfect excuse to see the many parts of this beautiful country that I had only heard about in magazines or read about on television. Something that for me, like many of my countrymen, was long overdue.

This is where the journey starts. . .

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