I didn’t grow up in a family with lots of winter traditions. Winter can be a really difficult time for farmers – when you’re in the middle of it, I find it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by work or bad weather. For us, a big winter marker on the farm is calving, which starts in mid-July. The farm has just recently moved back to split calving, so some of the cows are calving in autumn and some of them in spring. Family time becomes a lot more precious, as the load house-wise (and kids-wise) is shifted onto one set of shoulders. It sort of feels like once calving’s here, that’s it – and the other side will be sunnier.
Still, there is something appealing about the cosier time of year. I find myself noticing little moments of goodness or joy in the seemingly mundane – like having a cup of tea with your favourite tea leaves, or digging into that last bit of that fruitcake that’s still hiding in the cupboard. It probably sounds like such a grandma thing, but there’s a lot of pleasure to be found in a cup of tea sitting in bed, once the kids are asleep and the house is quiet.
One thing we do try and do around this time every year is get off farm and have a break before calving starts. You need that moment to connect before you’re like ships in the night. This year, we're heading to Australia, because thanks to my parents’ willingness – or the missing of the grandkids that comes from us living apart – Mike and I have managed to wrangle five nights child-free whilst we head to a friend’s wedding. What do you do when you're not working and don't have the kids for five nights? We both can’t wait!
Another thing I couldn’t wait for is this beautiful edition. You never quite know how an edition is going to unfold until it goes to print. This edition celebrates the convergence of the traditional and the new. You can see it when we head to the small community of Mangaweka where fondness and strong ties connect residents together even as they think up out-of-the-box local festivals. Meanwhile, Rhea on our cover has taken up the farming mantle at Maraekakaho, moving back to her family farm along with her husband and kids – breaking the mould of the son returning home. And there’s Heeni, who shares how traditional knowledge of the moon phases can be used in modern contexts – and is not just a practice of the past, but something we can all benefit from bringing into our daily lives, too. Once you’ve found your favourite tea leaves and fruitcake, I hope you can savour the journeys these reads will take you on.
This letter appeared in our Takurua Winter 2023 Edition.
As a mum of two and a woman with ambition, Nicki shares some of the things she’s learnt about herself in the years she’s been balancing career and family.
Letter from the Editor, Raumati Summer 2022/23.
Twenty-two years ago, Emily and her husband moved their family from a 300 acre farm near New York to a 7,400 acre Castlepoint Station in coastal Wairarapa.
Born and raised in Mangaweka, Alison Dorrian, 73, and her husband, Henry, worked to protect its bush and wildlife while raising their six children.