The island is called by the film's curator the "New Zealand version of the Mediterranean".

The island is called by the film’s curator the “New Zealand version of the Mediterranean”.

Paolo Rotondo, Director of the Italian Film Festival, resides in Heritunga, Hawk Bay.

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Paolo Rotondo, Director of the Italian Film Festival, resides in Heritunga, Hawk Bay.

Quick Q&A with Paolo Rotondo, Director of the Italian Film Festival (17 June 2021 to 30 January 2022).

Where would you take any visitor to New Zealand and why?

I’m in luck: this year Cinema Italiano is traveling to 20 centers all over Aotearoa, so I feel like I’m really getting to know our beautiful country. When my Italian relatives visit Aotearoa, I like to take them to the west coast of the North Island, to places like Karekare, Anawhata or Whatipu. The beaches and scenery are wonderful and of equal density. Then I flipped the script and rode the ferry to Waiheke, New Zealand’s version of the Mediterranean.

What is your favorite place in the secret yard?

I’m in Hiritunga, Hawk’s Bay, so my favorite place is Te Mata Peak. We live on the lower slopes and offer us many family adventures by walking, running and cycling. Having grown up for a part of my life in a large city in southern Italy, I do not take the privilege of our nature for granted.

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What’s your favorite place for a cake/coffee?

Whenever I’m in Wellington for the festival, I go to Mediterranean Foods. Among the delicacies that are kimbo broth, there is the coffee that all Neapolitans must drink by decree, imagine it with a bomboloni full of cream! Beautiful from the sky.

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What is New Zealand at the top of your wish list?

You haven’t experienced all of these amazing ski fields around Queenstown. But I’m often in Arrowtown for work, so I feel like maybe I’ll be able to gradually fulfill my wishlist dreams during these visits!

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