French Canadians Heloise Desrochers (left) and Camille
Messier, of Montreal, enjoy Christmas in a tent - despite the wet weather - at the Dunedin Holiday Park yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson
Although most New Zealanders would despair at the thought of
spending Christmas Day in a tent on what was one of the
wettest Christmas Days in years, French Canadians Camille
Messier and Heloise Desrochers revelled in it.
The 19-year-olds said the lakes back home in Montreal were
frozen over, 60cm of snow fell last week, and the temperature
was falling as low as -30degC - so they were hardly going to
be bothered by ''a little bit of rain''.
''This is positively tropical for us,'' Miss Messier said, as
she peered out of her tent entrance at the squally showers in
the Dunedin Holiday Park yesterday.
''It's not usually like this in Montreal.
''It's very unusual for us to be in temperatures so warm at
this time of year,'' she said.
''Normally, we would go skiing or iceskating on Christmas
Day, and eat lots and lots of food.''
Miss Desrochers said they were taking a gap year from study
and travelling around New Zealand on a working visa.
The pair had already visited Dunedin twice before, and
decided to return here for Christmas because it appealed to
them so much.
''We love Dunedin. Everybody is really nice and the city is
not too touristy.
''The atmosphere is welcoming and the architecture here is
They plan to return to Montreal in June, and will study drama
together at the Conservatory of Montreal.
The pair spent the past two days with friends they had made
in New Zealand, and celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts
in a ''Secret Santa'' gathering.
Making calls home to friends and family to wish them a happy
Christmas was high on their list of priorities yesterday,
along with eating lots of food, they said.
It seems that there are some things about Christmas which
just do not change, no matter where you are in the world.