Reva is a Californian immigrant. She and her husband immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1970s and are now naturalised New Zealanders. This is Reva's restaurant on the wharf right in the centre of the Whangarei yacht harbour about 5 minutes from where I live. When you dine out on the veranda, you are usually looking out to a warm evening full of yacht masts. ( A big sigh here for the aficionados).
There are a number of things I like about this restaurant in general and one thing in particular. In general I like the food, the location, the inside outside dining arrangements, the various artists that play there from time to time and the very large clinker longboat that is roped up and hangs from the ceiling inside - this adds to the general nautical theme of the place.
But what I like in particular is this: If you are seated inside Reva's and look up you will see a shelf that runs right around the perimeter of the dining room. On that shelf are a large number of very accurate models of various yachts. These models were crafted by a now deceased yachting character called Buster who lived on a yacht in the harbour and worked locally in various boatyards. What Buster and I had in common was that we had both built our yachts with our own hands and often we would stop and talk. He made each of these immaculate scale models from the actual building plans of yachts. If you were to compare Busters work with the touristy yacht models sold in various shops nearby you would see in an instant the level of detail, the quality and indeed the love in his beautiful models. None of Busters work is for sale. Like the various dinghies, the paintings and the big longboat it is all part of the decor.
One little model in particular is special to me and when I am there I always take a look at it.
The particular yacht I am talking about is a scale model of the famous 30 foot 'Tahiti Ketch' which was designed by the American yacht designer John Hanna. This yacht is special to me because my grandfather built his yacht to this design in Christchurch NZ in the 1960s. I have inherited this set of plans and looking at them for this post I got a warm and nostalgic feeling viewing its sturdy and salty little shape.
So if you are ever in Whangarei and you have the time - have a meal at Reva's - they do a mean pizza and the surrounding environment is enticing and captivating - especially if you are of a nautical bent.