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One Family’s Journey

Written by Amy.

So it has been just over one month since we arrived at Kotare Village. We have been staying in a rental house just up the road from the village.. it is comfortable, much bigger than the house we had in Auckland, and we have little furniture with us, so it’s rather…er…spacious.. But we are comfortable and the intention is to be in the village most of the day rather than hanging out in the house so it makes it easy to cope with no sofas etc.

The kids have settled in so well.. at first my petite three year old felt quite overwhelmed.. the grass was tall and there were many thistles on our section, she would cry and not want to walk anywhere without being carried..! It was rather hard going, and both big kids suffered upset tummies not long after we got here. Now, however, the grass has been trimmed on our section and we have removed a lot of thistles.. the village roads have been mown and a lot of the sections have either been mown or the sheep have flattened the grass, so she is not quite so anxious and charges around the village on her “wobbly” (Balance) bike. The two big kids spend a lot of time in creative play, flitting between families and adults, utilising sticks to aid their games or Mullin stalks for swords. They have helped nurse baby ducklings back to health, seen a pig shot for meat, been hunting for possums and rabbits, learned that plantain is good for itchy bites  and yarrow helps stop bleeding. My son told me the other day that he has a little “gang’ now.. and they go “adventuring together. I feel happy that they’re so happy. They ‘ve also helped Kay pick fruit for the Koanga Institute and swum in the River behind the village to cool off in the hot afternoon sun.


Learning how to skin a possum


Baby ducklings needing to be warmed up

We have had some adventures into Wairoa to pick up our weekly organic veges.. we have been for walks/rides along the river .. its such a lovely walk along there, great for kids on bikes and all the kids even entered home-made very natural scarecrows into the Wairoa A&P show.


Biking beside the Wairoa river


Scarecrows by the Kotare Village Kids!

Boy, is it hot here though. We have had about one day that had a smattering of rain since we arrived, so its very dry .  The temperature has been around 34degrees Celcius..! Most days have been still, then this last week we have had some very decent wind. We had decided to set our tent up on our section, for a place to rest during the day and to sleep at night if we desired so our tent has suffered in the wind, but luckily still remains standing. I guess we are learning that the area appears to get some interesting extremes!

Blue skies, not a cloud in the sky and not a drop of rain.. that has been most of January so far!

Blue skies, hardly a cloud in the sky and not a drop of rain.. that has been most of January so far!

As for day to day life, we have been slowly adapting our routines.. we have no fridge, just a freezer, so we change the ice blocks over morning and night, to keep the cooler box cold enough. We have no washing machine, so are hand washing and I can tell you that when you know you have to hand wash, kids clothes don’t seem anywhere near as dirty as they might have before and can do several days in a row if need be..except for nappies of course! Because of the low water levels, we are conserving water.. we shower every few days. This doesn’t bother me, and I’m hoping no one else has noticed! Other interesting experiences so far.. we‘ve been dealing with mice/rats eating through Tupperware to get to almonds , possums running around the house at night and bulls groaning by the bedroom window all night (Ahh, country life…) and when we get to our tent we have bugs and spiders galore! We have been googling all the different bugs we have seen and I’ve been amazed at the variety and colours in some of them.

As for getting around, we use our Cargo Bike a lot. This is a long wheel based bike with a “bucket” in the front.. it has electric pedal assist so we can get up the hills. It enables me to carry all three kids to and from the village and around it comfortably.. though my eldest quite enjoy the freedom of buzzing around on his own bike . Biking around always makes me feel happy.. even more so that there are so few cars that you can just relax on the journey, without having to worry constantly about traffic.


On a bike ride to visit the sheep


I hope this has been a good insight into our day to day.. We are planning  a parent co-op session twice a week to do things with the kids together.. this should be great fun, and the small group of kids we have get on well, so I imagine it should work well. I’ll let you know how it goes next time!

That’s all for now,


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