Woman plays with her two young children on the floor at their home

Whilst you might expect this edition to be all daffodils and lambs, it seems this is the dog edition of Shepherdess. We’ve got so many dogs in our spreads this season – including two sausage dogs, would you believe it? Which is rather hilarious, considering I’m not much of a dog person.

When you’ve got kids who love animals, every time we are out and they see a cuddly dog, they’re immediately smothering it with love and you’re pestered on the way home to buy a dog. There won’t be any dogs joining the family any time soon, though. The pet goat we have is enough. Some of you have met our pet goat – the one that made me reflect on being fortunate to be part of naming the kids after Mike, my partner, named her Throatsack. Mike also has a cat called Mate. Mate was a gift from his first girlfriend as a kitten – he’s now sixteen or something! (Or, as his mum has reminded me, “He’s been around longer than you.”) He’s a big-boned black and white cat – absolutely gorgeous. Before we had the kids, he lived with us, sleeping on the bed every night in that way cats who think they own the house do – stretched out so you’re teetering on the edge of the bed. But now the kids have replaced him, he’s made his home at Mike’s parents’ place across the paddock, only coming back when their (soon to be eleven other) grandkids pile into their house. Like any old chap of his age, he likes his peace and quiet.

My feelings about dogs aside, what we’re always trying to do at Shepherdess is capture moments in the day-to-day life of folk in provincial Aotearoa. So often, dogs are more than best friends and close companions – in many cases working dogs are key partners in crime for getting farm jobs done. Dogs aren’t the only theme running through this edition – we’ve got a whole lot of stories about growth. There is baking, gardening and the ‘raising’ of things – including children, perhaps the hardest thing of all to grow! – in all senses of the word. Eloise talks about the challenging early days of being a mum, and also the early stages of taking on a small block. Flora shares her story about starting a business to help demystify gardening. We also excerpt from a new history on the classic Edmond’s Cookery Book, just to name a few.

Last, and possibly most exciting of all, is the new Shepherdess baby – the upcoming Shepherdess TV series. Over the last few months, I have been out filming in small towns and villages. As I did with the magazine a few years ago, talk about jumping in the deep end! But it’s been so rewarding – I can’t wait to share it with you all soon.



This letter appeared in our Kōanga Spring 2023 Edition.

Related Stories

Renee plays with her two young children on the footpath.

A Peaceful Place

From her home in Geraldine, Renee (Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu) reflects on how her upbringing has influenced how she is committed to raising her two children with gentleness.

Read More
Sally Dryland

Sally Dryland

This story is the second in a series where we share, in their own words, the stories of ten women who call Tararua home.

Read More

Raising Her Hand

Self-proclaimed lifelong learner Kate Menzies, 54, is passionate about supporting a new generation of farmers to make connections and grow their skills.

Read More

The Power of Planning

Mum-of-three Janelle Downs, 34, packs her days with raising a family, farming, teaching and community work from her farm near Strathmore in Taranaki.

Read More

Out Now

Sixteenth Edition

Our beautiful Raumati Summer 2023/24 Edition is out now!

Do you have a story to tell?

We'd love to hear it.