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Under the vines

16 February 2022
Rebecca Gibney in Central Otago wearing a hat

Interview Josie Steenhart

Kiwi-born star of screens both big and small, Rebecca Gibney’s latest role is one that’s both close to her heart, and to her homebase, as a resident of Dunedin.

Under The Vines, set and shot in Central Otago, became an immediate feel-good favourite from the first episode – due in no small part to Rebecca’s character Daisy Monroe.

Style caught up with the multi award-winning actor right before she heads back into shooting for season 2, which will screen in early 2023.

I read that it was your recommendation of Central Otago vineyards that meant the show was shot there?

Our creator Erin [White] is Australian and she had initially pictured the series being filmed in the wine region of South Australia, but I had been away from home so much the last few years and my son, Zac, was in his final year of high school and I really wanted to be in New Zealand for him. Also with Covid, it was important I was with my family and when I suggested the Central Otago region, Erin fell in love with the area straight away and we set about finding some wonderful Kiwi writers to help adapt the series for here.

What do you love about the region?

What’s not to love? The scenery is spectacular, the wine is divine, the people are amazing. There is a reason the mountains in Queenstown are called The Remarkables!

What’s a typical day on set like?

I'm normally in makeup around 5:30/6am and on set filming by 7/7:30am. We do around a 10 to12-hour shoot day but because we are in such a beautiful environment with so many wonderful fun people, it's not like work at all. We all constantly pinch ourselves at how lucky we are. Then it's makeup off, a quick bite and learning lines for the next day.

Rebecca Gibney laughing with a hat on

What are some favourite spots in the area to visit?

I love all the walks around Queenstown and often head out to Glenorchy. Clyde is where we film a lot of the scenes of Peak View and it's an awesome wee town with really lovely people who have been so welcoming. The cafes and craft shops there are lovely as well. Arrowtown is great and the walk along the river there after breakfast at The Chop House is pretty outstanding. And Botswana Butchery, Rata and The Sherwood have incredible meals. I could actually write a novel about all the things to do in the area. My husband and I also just bought bikes to do some of the bike trails on my weekends off.

And to eat/drink/stay?

Olivers in Clyde, Botswana and Rata in Queenstown, There are so many accom options in Queenstown. Eichardts is pretty special and The Spire has great rooms. The Sofitel is right in the heart of QT as well. Fergburgers is a must for burgers followed by either a donut or gelato. White and Wongs has delicious Asian Fusion, Kanpai is still tops for Japanese. Bunker for awesome cocktails.

You’ve lived in Dunedin for the last 4+ years, what drew you to settling in the south?

The people mostly but also obviously the environment. The air is clean and fresh, there is so much to do if you want to be active but there's also lots to do if you don't. Great restaurants and bars in Dunedin, awesome shopping, art galleries… Dunedin especially has a love of all things art – you can wander the streets just to look at the graffiti art on so many of the buildings. And there's a feeling of simplicity, people still take the time to chat, to ask you how you are. There's a real sense of community.

As a local, where do you take visitors as must-dos/sees?

In Dunedin - High Tea at Larnach Castle was high on my brother and his wife's list of things to do and they loved it but also The Press Club in Dunedin does an awesome high tea. The albatross colony is pretty amazing especially when they are nesting. Beach walks, movies at the classic Rialto cinema followed by dinner at any one of the amazing restaurants near the Octagon. Farmers Market at the Railway Station on a Saturday afternoon. And if a drive is on the agenda then a visit to Manapouri and on to Milford Sound via Te Anau is an absolute must. But bring your bug spray – the sandflies are lethal!

The season finale of Under the Vines airs on TVNZ 1 Wednesday 23 February and all episodes of season 1 are available to stream on TVNZ OnDemand.

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