Snapshot from Queenstown: Amanda Palmer at Bob's Cove. PICTURE: RUBY CROSSAN

There’s a reason celebrated American musician and author Amanda Palmer, who enjoys a huge fan base, is starting a three-gig New Zealand tour with a sold-out performance at Queenstown’s Sherwood tomorrow.

It’s because the resort became a favourite hang-out while she and her now-8-year-old, Ash, waited out Covid in NZ for two-and-a-half years.

One half of cult musical duo The Dresden Dolls, the 47-year-old was only meant to be in NZ in early 2020 for 10 days at the end of a year-long world tour promoting her album, There Will Be No Intermission.

Instead, she locked down, initially in Hawke’s Bay’s Havelock North, then, later, on Auckland’s Waiheke Island.

At the start her then-husband, British writer Neil Gaiman, took off to Scotland, however he got stuck there and didn’t return to NZ for almost a year.

Soon after, Palmer told him ‘‘I’m going to the South Island and I’m leaving you with the kid’’, she says.

She headed to Queenstown for a week of yoga and silence, ‘‘and I met this incredible woman from Bob’s Cove, Simone Flight, and she invited me to come and stay at her house’’.

Through Flight she met another Bob’s Cove resident, Sue Farry and other locals including Jane Guy, busking pianist Luke Gajdus — she’d once busked herself, as a living statue — and Glenorchy’s Katherine and John Schuitemaker.

‘‘Like, almost no one lives in Glenorchy and I met some people who actually live in Glenorchy.

‘‘I had almost more friends in Queenstown than I did up in Hawke’s Bay, so I kept coming down to visit, and I really fell in love with the place.

‘‘I sort of joked with my friends back home, ‘if the shit hits the fan, I’m just going to Glenorchy’.’’

Two years ago, Palmer even recorded a video project with Gajdus, sharing his piano with him as it was parked on Flight’s driveway, and he’s since visited her in New York.

‘‘As a person who’s travelled, recorded and published, I actually found my celebrity was a little bit of a liability.

‘‘Kiwis really pride themselves on taking people at face value, and I feel like I had to work pretty hard to prove to people I wasn’t just some random American arsehole.

‘‘So I feel like being welcomed into people’s homes and being extended real friendships was a huge honour, as a foreigner but especially as an American, given what was going on in my country at the time.’’

Palmer admits she could have returned home earlier, ‘‘but the reason I stayed is because my kid could be with other kids’’, and go to pizza parties and the like.

‘‘I was in touch with my friends in New York and the kids could not do those things.’’

She’s returned to NZ to perform ‘survival songs’ she wrote for a five-song EP while in the country.

‘‘Some of them even name-check the places, the landscapes and the people who took care of me and Ash.’’

She also can’t wait to catch up with those she calls her ‘‘Queenstown whānau’’.

When she returns next time she says she’ll bring her band — ‘‘I’m working on a bigger record with Dresden Dolls’’.

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