In the Māoriland Maara it is Matariki.

The Matariki holiday made official and consequential busy-ness contrasts with the quiet grounding of winter in the maara, a slow time of reflection and planning.

Tania dreamed up a lovely community ‘whanau kai’ shared lunch event we held yesterday, a Sunday afternoon. Whanau traditions walked in the door, with scones wrapped in tea towels, fry bread, homegrown veges, indigenous kai, time to kōrero and share memories.

I hope you find some time to slow down, reflect and share over Matariki. 

Here is some of what is going on in our Māoriland Maara.


Our latest composting adventure involves using bulk chipped PLA-lined single-use containers as a carbon source. I figure this is all plant-based material, so maybe it’s okay. But I have also seen how ‘compostable’ coffee cup lids really do not compost even in our naturally hot composting system. The microbes are hard at work, generating heat and steam as nitrogen and carbon content break down.

 I spend time and energy at our festival events trying to shift community thinking and behaviour to embrace reuse and reduce single-use. It feels ironic to find myself with bags of single-use chipped PLA products to compost.

We have been composting large and increasing quantities of kai for five years now, using woodchips and card/paper as our main carbon sources. I am interested in how this soil turns out as we change the contents. I will keep you posted! 

Partnering with Organic Wealth (https://www.organicwealth.nz/) Māoriland Maara is composting 200+ litres of Organic waste weekly. 

Para Post

Para Post

On the re-use front. I have a stash of altered para (waste) very useful in the maara. It doesn’t make for the prettiest maara kai, but it can save plants…

Cut the bottom out of plastic bottles and make a mini greenhouse, these will prevent hungry winter birds eating more of the leaves of my baby cauliflower plants.

Initially, I thought the damage may be slugs, so I made one of my infamous beer traps.

Slugs and snails love beer, they crawl into the nearest garden beer trap, and never do leave. However, I found the slug traps empty (the slugs must all be hiding in the sorrel) so I realised hungry birds were the real culprits. 

The bamboo prevents the birds kicking up soil and digging out plants.

Maara crew


One of my winter favourites is coriander. There is a whole life cycle of coriander in the maara at any given time, but in summer this life cycle is on fast forward; no sooner have you spotted baby plants than they have gone to seed.

The winter slowdown gives me hope of actually harvesting fresh coriander, for its multitude of uses and absolute deliciousness! I am super glad I didn’t get the gene that for many people makes it taste like soap!

Baby coriander
Flowering coriander
Coriander seed head

The Hot House

The not-so-hot house tomatoes have finally perished, I cut them down and mulched around the lemon tree I have just moved. There are plenty of baby toms left in the whare, and a chilly plant the Ōtaki Women’s Club kindly gave us, I am nurturing it with glee at the promise of perpetual chillies for ten years…

I hope these rumours prove to be true! I have decided that the coriander seed heads can also be distributed into the coolest ‘hot house’ in town, it vibes a little like a stained glass church with Jane Hakaria’s coloured perspex making it an art piece that a couple of years ago sat on the dunes at the beach with tube lighting making it truly glorious for the  Matariki where the whales came at karakia for the Ōtaki Beach Festival opening!