Turangi is a remarkable place, nestled next to one of the greatest trout-fishing rivers in the world, next to a wonderful national park and on the shores of a remarkable lake.
In summer, it is a haven for those who want to water-ski, kayak, mountainbike and generally relax, in winter it's only a short drive to the skifields and as for the fishing - well, if you are any good, you can catch trout year round.
We shouldn't forget the hot pools at Tokaanu, the great little golf course carved out by the immigrant workers who built the hydro scheme, the river rafting trips or the wildlife.
There is colonial and Maori history aplenty and some of the most beautiful flora and fauna this country has to offer.
Yet on an overcast day, the Turangi shopping mall can be as drab and depressing as any place in South Auckland.
Youth unemployment is high, housing stock in the main town is equivalent to the meanest streets of Waitangirua and the prisons dotted around the district do little to dampen its crime rate.
So while millionaires the world over come to indulge in its pleasures and comfortable white middle-class men like me can pretend they are roughing it in their waders on the Tongariro, Turangi, like the rest of New Zealand, is plagued by real divisions of income, education and opportunity.
While I might spend $250 on trout flies and a new reel for my rod, I was told of one forestry training course for unemployed young locals in which as many as half of the participants completed their training so they could then sell the chainsaws they received on graduation.
We've had business dealings in Turangi, and we know that it is a town with more than its share of socio-economic ills. Sadly, we attended a tangi last year for a young man who couldn't see any future for himself, and took his own life. Youth suicide is not uncommon, and as we have seen in the past few weeks, petty crime can quickly escalate into very serious offending. And yet, as Plunket notes, Turangi has so many things going for it.
Sean Plunket's piece is worth a read in its entirety. It's Turangi in the news at the moment, but it could just as easily be any other provincial town or city in New Zealand; look at the two random acts of violence in Rotorua this week. We're convinced that the solution to these ills is not to simply throw piles of money which we don't have at the problem; if anything, that only exacerbates it.
The government has hinted at significant welfare reform in this term. Something radical needs to be done, as Plunket alludes to in his closing:
So I end my holidays relaxed, rejuvenated and feeling lucky to have spent them in such a remarkable place, but also aware that while I've enjoyed my time in paradise, I would be a fool not to think that for some, the very same spot is anything but the land of milk and honey.
What are the answers for a place like Turangi? I honestly don't know, but I suspect it will take more than a karaika at a 16-year-old's court hearing to find them.
We couldn't agree more.