Winter in the Maara

Takurua kei runga! Winter is here!

Auē te makariri! 

It’s cold, hey?! 

I did the deed and made the final cut of the basil, the life of which felt like my thread to Te Rā! It was a warming moment though to have nourishing seedy parāoa and maara pesto on the tēpu for Dame Rangimarie Naida Glavish when she visited with Vaughan Winiata. I love being in a space where interesting and inspiring people turn up as a matter of course.

As for the maara, now I am back to parsley pesto, which maintains its hīoi, bright green, state in a pleasing way, unlike the basil. When the rongoā group from Te Kōkiri came they let me know that baby dock leaves are a great ingredient for pesto! Who knew?! Finally we can embrace the dock…between baby leaves in pesto and roots and bigger leaves in weed tea we have great kai, and fertiliser for your maara! Yep! To make weed tea pack dock and other dubious weeds you prefer not to compost in a lidded bucket, weigh weeds down with a rock, soak to ferment (might take a while  this Takurua, you can add a tablespoon of fermented food if you have it to aid the process) and use the nutrient rich liquid in a couple of weeks to fertilise your garden. It’s that easy…beware the exploding bucket though, have a good lid as carbon is released and it can get lively!

We have baby leeks, garlic, spinach, carrots,celery, parsnips, silverbeet, radishes, cabbage, a variety of lettuce, broad beans of course, and rocket all underway. But we all know nothing really GROWS too fast right now, though the broad beans do keep some action in the picture! Our thanks go out to Common Properties, our lovely local organic growers in Te Horo, for supporting our mahi with extra plants… I am trying to get a bit more kai among our flourishing companions! It’s a companionable mix in the Māoriland maara, a kind of plant version of whanaungatanga, each belongs and contributes, which is what we try to create in our maara community, through manaakitanga. Looking after each other in this time of short days and short energy is important. We can withdraw a bit, but let’s remain connected, as our connectedness strengthens us and our community.

In the community conversations we have had over the past year we have resolved to support our tamariki to learn gardening skills by supporting kura gardens. If you are whānau and in a school community wanting to support the mahi maara there, let me know. Outside of schools we are also looking to connect those with gardening skills with those adults in the community who wish to learn. If you are local and want to learn gardening skills and be involved in seed and crop sowing/ swaps, get in touch and I will make sure you are in the loop for events. Likewise if you are an experienced gardener and can share skills, please let me know, as skill sharing is community building and life giving, and that is something we want you to be able to do in a safe and manageable way.


Ngā mihi mahana tātou katoa


Contact me on [email protected]