Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Aunty's Garden and The Koha

Funny how sometimes the words just don't come until they are ready.
I am being patient, not everything likes to be pushed along.
Stories worth telling take their own sweet time,
like the story of Aunty's Garden & the Koha.
I am presently mindful of the fact that we are, of course, familiar with our own ways; our own knowledge we take for granted. Sometimes we can forget that others don't see the same things that we see, nor see through the same eyes. Our grandson Kaitiaki is part Maori. He has a rich heritage, woven of many colourful strands. His name means "spiritual guardian or caretaker". On his Maori side, he is fully immersed in the family & belongs...glued. He cannot dislodge his belonging even if he flew to the moon.
Last weekend he & all his school mates filled 5 buses & travelled up to the mountains to listen to stories. Stories that belong to them all. Stories not held in books but in the heart & memory of living "whanau". The Maori people know that belonging is essential to living, without it people fail & fall through the cracks & do not thrive. They also have a relationship with the earth that is of the sacred. Respect. And knowledge that I admire.
The rest of us are just sort of "scattered around the community", but if you are Maori you have a "home", a local Marae where the people come to celebrate & connect, feed the crowds & sleep, mourn & bury the dead & sometimes grow food too. There was a time when all Marae had a garden...
like Aunty's Garden just down the road from us & around the corner.
 Aunty's Garden is a lot like the Secret Garden it is open & alive & offering it's bounty in love to the whole world..
 It was planted by fine people who know the old ways & who wanted to encourage their people to eat better & feed their families well.
 In true heart, they then welcomed all.
Anyone can come in the gate & wander around the carefully tended plot & pick from it whatever they like!! Winter, spring, summer or autumn.
 I found Linda here. She'd driven 30 mins to get to the garden...
because it is all organically grown & so good.
 Who would have thought that a cabbage patch would be such a beautiful sight!
 The gardens are laid out in a koru a curled fern frond. It symbolises new life, growth, strength & peace.

 When you are done harvesting, you simply leave your koha in the box right here.
Koha...quite simply, a gift from the heart: what you are able to pay, what you feel that it is worth.
I don't suppose a chicken would fit in the box then?
 I felt so satisfied & enriched with my basket of beautiful fresh, organic "kai"
 All this got me to thinking that this little quote right here solves a whole lot of problems all in one sentence..don't you think?
"I cannot rid the the entire world of noxious problems but I can patiently cultivate the good earth around my own two feet & grow what I wish to see in my own backyard"
Jack Nordby
I think this might deal to a lot of fretting & fussing & help to keep the focus where it can actually make a difference.
With scratchy throats & snuffles around I made a jar of this...
 & it is so good! Fresh tumeric, lemon zest, lemon juice, fresh ginger root & honey.
It actually makes a jolly good dressing & marinade too & keeps for ages in a jar in the fridge.
 Somewhere, without any body catching on, it seems to me, that we lost the art of home nursing/home remedies. Things that once, every good mother could be depended on to know, were traded for the over-the-counter pharmacopia of pills & potions that, sad to say, frequently do more harm than good & soon enough we became a generation that forgot how to help ourselves.
My daughter Anna began a quest a few months back, to create a healing balm using native plants & natural resources. Her Native Bush Balm, I can truly attest, is utterly brilliant. I would never want to be without it again. It soothes all kinds of irritations, wounds & annoyances..including providing instant relief from mosquito bites, cracks under toes, rose prickle injuries, skin rashes such as irritation from the slime in the leaves in agapanthas plants. She sends all around New Zealand. If you'd like a pot & are "local" the cost is $10 + $4 p&p & you can contact me here or Anna here on her Native Bush Balm facebook page
 I was so delighted to have a visit from one of my favourite native birds the kereru (or native wood pigeon) while I was out garden fairying last week. Such beautiful colours aren't they!
Here, down-under, we have just past the winter solstice, the time the Maori call Matariki: the time of new beginnings.
Lots of life is a trade off isn't it. It's hard, sometimes to find the right balance. I think that this quote may well help in days to come. I might just pop it up on the kitchen cupboard where I can see it often. I found it on the back page of the latest Good magazine.
 I have been letting things go.
 Lots & lots of things!
And it's ok, in fact it's marvelous!
I have been busy as a bee on Trade me & sent many interesting items all around the country side.
But then Rob found yet another suitcase of precious bits & bobs. Poof they're a little they are airing. I'm not letting everything go you understand, but perhaps sometime this year we might be able to tidy our house properly last!!
Thank you so much for all your terribly helpful & kind comments (& emails) on my last post.
I treasure our conversations more than you can know!
David is fine & a much better driver by the minute!!

Do you have trouble letting go of things or are you always neat & tidy & organised?

Have a lovely week my friends..a smile & a hug for you all!


  1. How interesting your post is - I love the way the cabbages were planted and am curious about the bush balm to know what is inside it, I am guessing natural plants that are native to you. Yes letting things go is actually quite rewarding, you get a great feel of simplicity and of course the space to acquire something new! Possessions I think do hold us back and can even make us sad. When my mother died I kept nothing of hers except one photograph, I have memories and that's all I need. It is good for the soul to have a good clear out each season I think. I am just having one at the mo!

    1. Hello Betty, mmm I think I may have given slightly the wrong impression...there is still not yet anything like simplicity in my life!!! Even though I have sold a great many items recently. Still, I will keep going & see where I end up.
      I have the list right in front of me the Native Bush Balm contains: kawakawa, kumerhou, koromiko, karaka, harakeke, makomako, titoki, kowhai, kanuka, manuka & calendular infused in olive oil, pure beeswax, essential oils of lavender & lemon, organic hempseed oil.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  2. that garden looks fantastic! we have a community garden here in Rangiora but the 'koha' is your time helping out there, weeding etc. I've a plot in mind of my own along those lines, of hosting 'food swap' parties come spring, for food grown, foraged, baked or preserved. they are quite a big thing internationally though i haven't come across them here before.
    you've totally got me into good magazine, i'm a total convert and enjoyed reading it in bed last night.
    happy week to you x
    ps i will have that little parcel in the mail to you over the next couple of days xxx

    1. Hi Max, yay!! I am so glad that you've cottoned on to Good.
      I love your food plot are so good at initiating grandly good things...well done & keep it up!
      Thanks so much for the adorable acorns!!! I love them to bits. Ha ha I am not clearing out that much stuff that I can't find a happy home for these little darlings. You'd never guess I had got rid of much at all if you looked in on me!
      Happy week to you too.
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  3. A beautifully written post. My favorite quote: 'Somewhere, without any body catching on, it seems to me, that we lost the art of home nursing/home remedies. Things that once, every good mother could be depended on to know, were traded for the over-the-counter pharmacopia of pills & potions that, sad to say, frequently do more harm than good & soon enough we became a generation that forgot how to help ourselves.' So sad but so true. It will be hard but I see so many people trying to get back to taking better care of ourselves.

    Love this post.

    1. Hello Jenny..that's where blogging & the internet have been wonderful boons in the process of educating ourselves & our families about the things that we can do to help ourselves & how to strengthen health, grow veges, make our own green "stuff". Little by little we'll get we keep sharing & learning.
      Hope you're having a good week.
      I'd love to know what you think of The Forgotten Garden sometime...when you've read it : )
      Much love Catherine x0x0x

  4. I DO want some Native Bush Balm! I'll go to the site!
    If I can ever get organized and go to the counter at the post office, I have a book that you'll like. It's about healing with home remedies.
    The gardens are so beautiful! I like those sheep!

  5. Hello Catherine, I loved Aunties Garden & all the veges look so healthy & thriving there. What a wonderful concept, I think I may have read of it elsewhere before. Do I spy some calendula flowers tucked into your basket of veges?? gosh I think I need to make some of your tumeric recipe as very "fluey" in my house at the moment. I loved the photo of your doilies on your clothes horse, what a beautiful vista to come home to :-) Must make you smile. That is a stunning picture of the wood pidgeon, they have amazing colours, I have heard lots of tuis in my garden lately - seems early to me?? I hope you are well dear friend, our fire is burning constantly lately, so cold & bitter here, much love to you, Julie xooxoxo

    1. Hello my friend, I am so glad about the tumeric...wasn't that amazing! Do hope that you're beginning to feel better by now...what a nuisance with you wanting to paint the cottage & everything.
      Yes indeed calendula flowers in the basket. They were growing in various spots all around Aunty's Garden. Funny things actually grow best in the winter time, I find. They are one of the ingredients in Anna's balm too.
      Much love & sending cheer germs by the gallon.
      CAtherine x0x0x

  6. Marvelous post! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful traditions. Please be sure to tell us more!
    I only wish I could order the Native Bush Balm (not exactly local situated!) so do tell us when you are going 'International'.
    All the best,

  7. It's so necessary to let things go from time to time but I'm really not the best in that. And I always want to start new collections cause there are so many lovely things to find at fleamarkets and in op shops. But you're right and since some time I'm thinking of getting rid of a collection of yellow crockery that is decorated on a little table but almost never used. I think I must bring it to the op shops and mybe there's someone who can make use of it. And I hope I won't find any other items to take home with me.
    Unfortunately I fell in love with your doilies above and the lovely rose plates in your sidebar. But I have to be strong.

  8. Dear Catherine, I’m very glad I didn’t miss this lovely post. Your photographs and words are always so inspiring. I’m neat and tidy but still have trouble letting things and feelings go, but I’m trying to improve! xxxxx


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! So sorry if you've tried to leave one & it hasn't worked. You are welcome to email me at instead, if you'd like to, much love Catherine♥

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