Written by Franzi,
Taiamai and I moved to Kotare Village in 2011. After initially living within the communal camping area, first in one caravan and later, when our daughter Elanor arrived, in a second ‘bedroom’ caravan, we moved onto our section (Lot 3) in late 2012.
The caravans, together with a kitchen awning called ‘the Cherry Palace’ because it was made out of bright red corrugated iron, were shifted to the lower parts of the section, below a laundry/toilet building, the gardens, and the actual site reserved to our future house. We lived there for one year, enjoying the view of the hills and the short walk to the cool creek in the middle of the Summer. Although it was very idyllic, I found the ‘simple life’ of hand washing, only cold running water etc. very challenging, and felt like we needed more space because Elanor was almost 2, so we rented a house 5 minutes down the road for a year while still maintaining gardens on our section. By then we had established orchards, which we were fortunate to have been designed by a Koanga Food Forest Workshop group. We also had two different section designs developed by Permaculture Design Course students, so could pick and choose from what we liked best. 2014 turned out to be a very difficult year for us – I was struggling to balance work, study, raising a toddler, and feeling quite isolated in a rural setting, craving more connections with city culture and other young parents. We decided to move to Central Hawkes Bay for a while, to take a big breath and regroup our little family, and to get clear about what we wanted and needed in life. Just before moving, our second daughter Frieda arrived 3 months prematurely, so we ended up spending almost 4 months between hospitals in Wellington and Hastings, while Taiamai shifted all our gear to Waipawa by himself with Elanor in tow. Waipawa was a blessing for us in many ways, I felt much stronger and more positive, and we regularly visited Kotare Village, making the 2.5 hour trip about every 3-4 weeks. This year we shifted back to Wairoa after a 3 month trip overseas, first living in a house truck on our section which felt like a trip back in time, until we had found a house to rent in town. Taiamai now drives to work with the animals on the farm every day, sometimes taking the kids, while I split my time between looking after our girls, working at the local cafe, and planting a summer garden on the section. Not living on site means we can only plant large veges like pumpkins and corn that don’t need looking after all the time, but it now seems like a privilege rather than a chore, and we are looking forward to harvesting a lot of our own fruit this year, especially the cherries! In the long term we would love to build a natural house on the section within the next 5 years, but for now want to concentrate on our family and creating our own business ventures.
section designs and pics: