Updated: Aug 4, 2021
Our next 'Girls in their Garden' series muse is fashion sales rep, mother, and one of my dearest friends Rachael.
Rach, who is New Zealand born of Ngāti Maniapoto decent from the king country, and whakapapa from the Tainui canoe, is connected to her country in more ways than one. Technically Rachael has more than just a garden. She inherited a golden kiwi and avocado farm from her late father on Ngai Te Rangi land, and with her fiance and son, still makes time to grow vegetables at home. Her career is in the clothing industry, most recently as national sales representative for Huffer and therefore, like myself, is sandwiched within the niche duality of growing and fashion.
"Our iwi is ngāti Maniapoto. Our sub tribe is Ngāti Uekaha. We are connected to Pohatuiri and Tokikapu Marae in Waitomo."
Describe yourself as someone who loves you would…
Loving, action, creative, messy, competitive (at most board games and sports).
Describe your garden in three words.
Micro climate, nostalgic, plentiful.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world - Gandhi
I have a favourite Avocado tree. My late father and I would picnic under it and talk about building a bach (holiday cottage) next to it.
Gardening is a meditative practice, does it help you find peace?
Totally, weeding while our son Abe is having his afternoon nap is very meditative for me. It's a great time to disconnect from all the noise of the day and reconnect with my thoughts.
Have you always been attracted to growing plants?
I have always appreciated the outdoors and plants but it wasn't until I was 11, my father and I moved onto a kiwifruit and avo orchard. There, I helped plant some trees around the demountable house. Since then growing house plants and vege patches has been dictated by the space or location I had been living or flatting in. It's good to finally have some solid roots down now (pun intended).
How do you avoid creating food waste?
"We have a home composting system that feeds Tims worms farm. At a community level, our district council have recently announced a new kerbside home compost weekly collection and all food waste will go to large composting facilities."
How do you practice self love at home?
Since being pregnant again, I've been spending a lot of time at home making comfort food using ingredients we have grown. Tonight we are having spicy eggplant parma and a zesty greek salad with Tims home pickled cucumbers.
Do you find gardening intertwines with self love?
Gardening and growing yes. For me - fuelling your body with the produce you grew or sourced locally is absolutely self love.
How do you connect to your land?
Water it, you see and enjoy (gardening) so much more when you give your plants a refreshing drink.
What's something new you are trying right now?
We are growing micro-greens on our kitchen bench. They are such low maintenance- great on all salads and sandwiches.
What is one challenge you can share from commercial growing?
A challenge that we often face is making the decision of when best to harvest a large crop. It is your income for the entire year. If you leave your fruit on too long chasing a better monitory result, you can be at risk of hail storm damage, sunburn, pests and even theft. For our avocado crop we try and organise multiple picks from early season October through till late season March.