Tem returns to childhood holiday spot
Movie star Temuera Morrison is perched on a bar stool in Takapuna's Berkeley Cinema.
The veteran actor has just finished telling local businesspeople about his trials, tribulations and celebrations.
His smile is warm and he's frank, funny and genuine - his audience loves him.
So much so that there is half-an-hour of compliments, handshakes and photo opportunities before the question can be asked: "What's a Rotorua boy doing in Takapuna?"
It all started with a rugby game in the 1950s, Morrison says.
His dad Laurie, elder brother of late entertainer Sir Howard Morrison, was playing for his Rotorua rugby club when he hosted a team from Takapuna.
Life-long friendships were forged.
The Morrison family - dad, mum and eight kids - spent summers holidays beachside housesitting on the North Shore as a result.
"I remember how flash their homes were. Our treat was coming up to Takapuna and staying in them."
Each kid got a bedroom to his or her self - quite a change from the two-bedroom state house they all grew up in, he says.
Two of the older Morrison sisters eventually got jobs in Takapuna and bought homes in Sanders Ave.
Morrison joined them on the North Shore when he bought a property in Devonport in 1983. His smile buckles into a grimace when he recalls selling it in 2003:
"Man, I was so dumb!"
But at least there is still family to stay with in Takapuna and he's been doing a bit of that for the past few months while in Auckland filming Happy Hour Live.
"It's a bit of everything - songs, skits and comedy, a good old variety show," he says.
Morrison wants to honour New Zealand's rich legacy of 70s and 80s touring acts, which his uncle helped create.
"Happy Hour will have old and new talent.
"It's got the warmth of the old show bands, Prince Tui Teka, Billy T James, The Hi-Marks, the list goes on and on," he says.
"It's a great little job, I felt like my old uncle Howard - I even wore his shoes!"
Growing responsibilities on the marae in Rotorua mean Morrison, of Te Arawa and Maniapoto descent, cannot stay forever with his Takapuna whanau.
"But I love everywhere between Devonport and Takapuna, it's like California's Laguna Beach, friendly and laid-back," he says.
North Shore Times