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Hawke’s Bay home on rock legend Joe Walsh wishlist

Rock music legend Joe Walsh flew out of Hawke’s Bay late yesterday promising he will be back – possibly to live.

The vow came yesterday after he, wife Marjorie and stepson Christian visited the Cape Sanctuary, established with the erection of a 10.5km fence to create a predator-free wildlife protection zone at Cape Kidnappers almost 10 years ago.

The visitors were flown into the area by helicopter pilot Joe Faram and hosted by sanctuary backer and Hawke’s Bay businessman Andy Lowe.

The visitors were enjoying two days in Hawke’s Bay after Walsh’s two weekend concerts with the Eagles in Auckland.

When Mrs Walsh got to hold a kiwi she exclaimed: “I love it here.” Later Walsh told Hawke’s Bay Today, “We want to come back here and volunteer in support of this project. I don’t yet know the ways we can help … yet, but I want to be part of it.”

Asked if he might move to New Zealand, the veteran musician said: “Oh yeah! I need to spend more time in New Zealand. That is screaming at me.”

Reboarding the helicopter, headed for Hawke’s Bay Airport and a flight to Auckland where the family will stay until flying back to the US tomorrow night, he said, “Thank you, Hawke’s Bay.”

“We will,” he said, “be back.”

It was his third trip to Hawke’s Bay.

Asked when he would be back, he said: “About 20 minutes.”

The day had clearly ticked more boxes for Walsh, who arrived about 24 hours earlier to pay further homage to Otatara, the historic pa site where he says a “moment of clarity” overlooking Hawke’s Bay in 1989 paved the way for overcoming an alcohol and drugs addiction which had gripped his life.

He had returned there in 2004 to support a campaign against the “evil” methamphetamine, and at a gathering transferred to the nearby EIT marae because of the wet weather, he told how it was now 21 years since he touched alcohol or drugs.

Yesterday, questioning the effectiveness of environmental campaigns in the US, he said: “We knew that New Zealand is a beautiful country.

“It’s a special place, and the people are so much more in tune with nature.”

“I’m seeing things that I did not know existed,” he said. “It’s broadening my knowledge and awareness, in terms of the big picture.”

The Walshes are returning to the US where they have a special engagement at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions on April 18, the new members including Mrs Walsh’s brother-in-law, 74-year-old former Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr.

Walsh, 67, will rejoin the Eagles for the May 19 start of a 10-week, 24-concert History of The Eagles tour of the US.

Hawkes Bay Today