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09.12.1 ISSN 2324-1136



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Creativity, it’s a part of the scenery in our region


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Tourism Eastland – Out East


Where are you from? Eastland or East Coast; Tairawhiti or Gisborne?

Titirangi Maori Experiences


What is Titirangi Maori Experiences?

Michael Burt - Painter


Local man, Michael Burt, has a great love of nature, hunting, and fishing – he reflects this passion in his paintings

Shearing Day


Fascinated with all things wool, Genny Stevens spent a day watching it come off the sheep

Future Leaders


Harley Te Pairi is a bright young man who is making good steps to set his life on the right path Here’s his story….

Life education Trust – Fight for life



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Let’s get ready to rumble

Farmers Market


It’s your local Organic market

Emotional Blindness Life through the eyes of local writer Fiona Mitford




EDITOR Jan Egan PROOFREADERS Rob O’Connor Kristina Louis DESIGNER Anna Taylor CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Genny Stevens ADVERTISING SUBMISSIONS PUBLISHER G2 Publications Limited PO Box 91032 Victoria Street West Auckland 1142 New Zealand

13 August 2012


Tena koe Eastcape magazine

eastcape magazine (ISSN 2324-1136) is subject to copyright in its entirety. The contents may not be reproduced in any form, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved in material accepted for publication, unless initially specified otherwise. All letters and other material forwarded to the magazine will be assumed intended for publication unless clearly labelled “not for publication”. Opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of G2 Publications Ltd or of the editor. Thanks to; Family, friends and enablers.

Eastcape magazine is a great innovation. I personally support the project and the team with this venture. There is a wealth of professional experience behind Eastcape magazine and this will ensure its success. The stories and experiences from the heart of our region are awesome and I am sure getting these stories out there will lead to more people visiting us here in Tairawhiti. I look forward to downloading this first issue and many more! Kia ora,


COVER The ocean shapes our landscape.

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Meng Foon, JP Mayor

EDITORIAL Welcome, readers, to our first ever issue of Eastcape magazine and thanks for your support. We are so excited to have made it here today. It has been an incredible journey with a fair few learning curves and the enthusiasm we’ve received from everyone along the way has been so humbling. Eastcape magazine is the vision of an incredibly inspiring woman, who I personally couldn’t resist taking on the role of editor for! We’ve fitted this passionate project around our day jobs, kids, partners and already hectic lives! Thanks to our loved ones for keeping us going and the kettle boiling! So here it is, our baby, Eastcape magazine, the first of its kind for our region. Our magazine is a digital only, local publication for locals and ex-locals. “Why digital only,” you might ask? Well, the answer is clear, the evidence to support it compelling even! Connectivity goes hand in hand with the digital age. A lot of us like that we can be connected with our loved ones, colleagues, and friends in real time anywhere in the world. With social media, websites, and blogs a growing part of our everyday lives, we decided to jump on board the digital train and produce a magazine that we can offer up to everyone. The digital format allows us to tell you more, with links provided to the web presence of those we profile, so you can delve deeper into the pieces that interest you. Digital means you can share Eastcape with your online community, helping to strengthen networks, promote our region, and to just make plain old connections. An online magazine is also a measurable medium, inviting participation and ownership from the reader. We want you to tell us more about you! What do you want to hear about, read about, and why? What issues do you want to discuss, what are we doing right, or wrong? What could be better? We’re not limited on space with our digital layout, so go for it, get it off your chest! Please get in touch, let us know your thoughts and, you guessed it, do so via our website, facebook or email me; I’ll be delighted to hear what you think!

Eastcape magazine comes from the heart – a small team with a vision to inspire, create aspirations, and look toward the future. Let’s document the amazing achievements, creative minds, and downright awesome people living right here in our corner of Aotearoa!! – the best little country in the world!


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Jen Egan

PUBLISHER’S NOTE I left Gisborne and my family behind in 1985 as a 17-year-old bound for Auckland, where I would remain anchored for 27 years by marriage and children. Many car journeys were made between the two cities over those years, and the pattern of the return journey was often the same. Driving between Gisborne and Matawai my thoughts would be on how and when I could move back to Gisborne, where I’d live, how I’d manage joint custody over distance. Through the gorge I’d see the bucolic lifestyle I’d live – chickens, goats, bees and vege gardens, and handspun, handmade clothing. Opotiki to Ohope I’d watch the kids move from soccer clubs to surf clubs, and wonder if it was ever too late to learn to surf. Ohope to Whakatane I only had thoughts of whether I’d still be in time for breakfast at McDonald’s! From Whakatane through to Tauranga things got more pragmatic. Maybe it was indigestion from Macca’s, or maybe the East Cape magic was overshadowed by the slick shelterbelts of commercialisation and industry lining the roads of Bay of Plenty. Heading over the Kaimai ranges, I was ready to enjoy the straight flat roads of Matamata, the big city drawing me in at speeds I shouldn’t consider. By Maramarua I was an Aucklander again, keeping up with the car in front, and looking at the trail of other Aucklanders and my dreams of a different life in the rearview mirror. My Gisborne family had become used to the “I’m thinking of moving back” discussion, which alternated equally with “I’ll never come back”. The reality was my children were entwined with school and sports and had an Auckland family who were never going anywhere. It was obvious I was raising Aucklanders, and until my job was done I too would remain one. Last year, I started a business, my relationship was coming to a natural end, and my children were becoming increasingly independent. It was time for me to leave Auckland. But it took a trip to the US to make me realise where I needed to be. Home. I flew into Gisborne on a clear February day and haven’t looked back. I set up my business office in an amazing building where I met the most inspiring people. I listened to the stories of all that was going on in the region with the zealous ears of a reformed suburbanite. There’s so much amazing talent here, so many awesome things happening. I want us to celebrate who we are, and to tell the world! That’s where the idea for Eastcape magazine started. It’s my hope that our stories are heard, and that we as a region can take pride in seeing ourselves reflected in the eyes of the world.


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Genny Stevens

COMING SOON “Beach racing is where the fear of death is overcome by the thrill of speed!” In the next issue we talk to the guys who live this quote.



SUBSCRIBE Eastcape magazine is a free download and available monthly. Register to be alerted to new issues on


Stuart Moriarty

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Observation put to action

Tourism Eastland – Out East


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Where are you from? Eastland or East Coast; Tairawhiti or Gisborne? By Jen Egan

Tourism Eastland have been on a journey over the last couple of years to solidify the identity of our region in a meaningful way that we all want to own. What do people know about our district? It’s first to see the sun; we have world renowned surf beaches, Rhythm and Vines, Mount Hikurangi. Great, but us locals know there’s a lot more to our story than this… right? Cue Out East, a new direction in communications for the region, completely different from what anyone else is doing in NZ because, let’s face it, we have a different offering! Out East steps away from what is the traditional look and feel of tourism in NZ. Think about the globally known tourism hooks such as the instantly recognisable Mount Taranaki shot, the bubbling mud pools of Rotorua, the glacial imagery of our South Island. Think about the perception of NZ overseas and the kinds of images currently marketed offshore. Out East comes at the marketing of our area from a different angle, celebrating our authenticity, stories, the depth of culture here, our lifestyle. Tourism Eastland’s marketing manager, Kerry Taggart, reiterates this: “What you see projected through the imagery portrayed is exactly what you get here”. “You won’t find a lick of Photoshop in our images; our people are real and what’s happening in our shots IS our everyday. We want to be that boutique, quirky, real, local brand and Out East is our vehicle to do just that”.


Historically the brand positioning for our region was “Gisborne, first to see the light”. During this time the brand was governed by four graphic designers and one web provider. A need for better consistency was identified as the brand story was running as a series of campaigns which were not brand aligned. So the opportunity arose for an open tender to local graphic designers to work on messaging around the Gisborne Convention Bureau which was launching at the time. The Rugby World Cup was on then, so there was a leisure and business tourism angle. The open tender for the visitor guide saw the beginning of ‘Out East’, a Broker Brothers concept – “The journey out east is part of the experience”. The journey is part of the destination.

The core values of the OE brand Simplicity to achieve, because cult Often diffi But it’s the way ral. natu is chaos . Don’t make East Out we are a fuss. Unity tion that is the solu a g Providin us over our vast of all for right fit region. Honesty ut it, we are who abo es No bon us or leave us! take are, we Realness on, we go this! regi a As

The majority of visitors to our region drive. “So we felt it was important to address that the isolation of our location could be perceived as a possible barrier to Gisborne as a destination. Our aim was to create awareness of what to expect, to make sure that what’s on the way is seemingly of equal importance to what you find when you get here! The reality is, for some it’s a long journey. Let’s make the most of it! There’s no hiding the fact”. “If you tell people (international tourists and road trippers) to take the Pacific Coast Highway, SH 35, and what to expect, they want this experience and they’re not disappointed with what they discover along the way. They are getting exactly what they sought: stunning uninterrupted beaches, coastal views, landscapes distinctive to our district, and the classic, wonderful characters they’re likely to meet! Often reported is the abundance of hospitality and warmth on the journey here”. Our isolation, it turns out, is one of our key strengths; it makes us unique. Sure, there are challenges getting here, and out again sometimes, but that’s part of the experience. “Out East reflects who we are through quirky, tongue in cheek messaging and sometimes provocative statements. Think Tui – “yeah right” – and the ability to stand the test of time. Out East sets out to use simple consistent language, stand alone and coupled with some of the most stunning imagery this region has to offer, with images that speak for themselves”.


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Tourism starts with the locals. This in mind, Tourism Eastland ran the ‘Out East’ photo competition as a way to encourage brand distribution and get the locals involved. “The result – amazing photos of the real lives here. We wanted to get the brand out there amongst our people. Telling people what the vision is and how they fit into it is part of the plan. In comes Tourism Eastland’s “inside out” marketing philosophy – 50% of our tourists come to visit family and friends; the locals are the key to our success as a destination. If the dream is delivered by the locals, you can’t get anything more real and honest than the messages from those living our quintessentially Kiwi values. We want our locals to take pride in Out East and market the region through social media, stepping into our world and taking ownership of OE as a brand. Create a buzz of pride and willingness to show off our region and invite people to share the experience”. The Eastland region is vast – Opotiki to Wairoa across Opotiki District Council, Gisborne District Council, Wairoa District Council, BOP regional, and Hawkes Bay regional. Buy in and unity are key and perhaps the biggest challenges facing Tourism Eastland as an organisation. “There is often a misconception that the further away from Gisborne the towns are, the more Gisborne focused the project is deemed to be. Our goal is to unify the Eastland region as a whole to achieve a sense of the common good amongst tourism operators and the like.” So, are we Eastland or East Coast; Tairawhiti or Gisborne? Nah, we’re Out EAST!


Stuart Moriarty

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The real meaning of the sun

Titirangi Maori Experiences Mihi Aston is a local to watch. Her passion is inspiring and her enthusiasm for the future of the Gisborne community contagious. Her latest venture aims to share the uniqueness of this region with the world.


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By Jen Egan


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Born and raised in Gisborne, the eldest daughter of 5 children, Mihi has always followed her passion: a true desire to see others succeed or simply to walk alongside them on their journey. This has led her to teaching, mentoring, fitness coaching, sitting on selection boards, and now tourism.


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Titirangi Maori Experiences is Mihi Aston’s brainchild. Some 12 months ago, early one morning, her vision poured onto screeds of paper all over the dining room table, and the concept was born. Mihi presented her idea to the Te Poho-o-Rawiri Marae (Poho) committee, who supported her aspiration to see a lifelong passion to fruition 100%. This was the beginning of a journey to see the community grow and strengthen, with the woman behind it an inspiring community leader. Mihi grew up in a time when children could learn a thing or two about the old ways from their elders. Her grandparents were the caretakers of Te Poho-o-Rawiri marae, and her strong work ethic was instilled in her from an early age by her whanau mentors. Mihi learned the history and ways of her people by osmosis. Growing up she felt a powerful sense of oneness with her environment. She was often encouraged to help out when international visitors came by – even then she was the natural choice to lead the way. Still, it was a mere fantasy in those days to think that one day she could be the one to take up the mantle. Although Mihi was one of five, her father’s two sisters had 16 children each, so family occasions were huge affairs with all hands on deck. Mihi helped her working parents to care for her younger siblings, ensuring the household ran like clockwork. To this very ordered existence she attributes the disciplined, nurturing, and driven person she is now.


The marae is the nucleus of the community: a place to meet, eat, greet, plan, create, celebrate, entertain, and mourn our loved ones in passing. A place that can educate future generations, a place to explore and delve into the old ways, sharing the rites of passage with understanding and compassion. This is where Mihi’s vision steps in.

As Mihi recounts her childhood memories, the sounds and images of the frenetic buzz of the marae are almost tangible: kids playing, men practising taiaha, nannies and aunties weaving and cooking. “A childhood where you had to outrun the boys ‘cos all’s fair between the siblings and cousins in a game of rugby” she says. Children played in the bush nearby, enjoyed tennis, made huts and explored the land. Whanau gathered in the marae for all occasions. The culture at the heart of marae living was vibrant. Food was never in short supply, no matter how hard times were, and no matter who needed feeding. In fact whanau has been at the heart of every path that Mihi has walked. Te Poho-o-Rawiri Marae’s position today at the base of Titirangi (Kaiti Hill) is its third location. Originally situated in the harbour basin, it fell into disrepair. This saw its transition to what is now the Mobil on portside, taken back by the Public Works Act for the harbour redevelopment in 1930. This is when it moved to its current site, with original carvings added by local and Rotorua institute artists, unique to the region and rich in the stories they tell about the past. The marae is the nucleus of the community: a place to meet, eat, greet, plan, create, celebrate, entertain, and mourn our loved ones in passing.


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A place that can educate future generations, a place to explore and delve into the old ways, sharing the rites of passage with understanding and compassion. This is where Mihi’s vision steps in. Titirangi Maori Experiences aims to offer up a unique marae-centred experience, the opportunity to interactively explore what, elsewhere, could only be offered as a diluted concept to meet mass needs. Whether the experience is a marae stay, powhiri, hikoi or waka ama lesson, it is purpose-built for the visitor who will feel a sense of belonging as they are led through by the whanau.

Mihi’s passion to share Maori history and culture and tell the stories in a way that ignites an interest and understanding in the community way of living is key to her venture. She also understands this is bigger than just her, there is potential to help growth for supporting businesses – hangi contracts, an arts centre, catering, and so on – with Mihi as manager leading the way forward. The framework is in place and now needs funding and momentum and is key to the success and survival of the marae. Titirangi Maori Experiences was started on the smell of an oily rag and part of her mission is to use funds for the restoration of Te Poho-o-Rawiri, but it’s not enough. Mihi hit upon the idea of the Friends of Poho: an advisory board to grow and sustain the work started – she is working on making this idea a reality, but acknowledges she needs help.


Her dreams are powerful, and her aim is true. With the support of the Gisborne community the opportunities for a rich tapestry of unique experiences that change lives are limitless. Suffice to say this won’t be the last word from Mihi!

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Mihi hopes for the future to see the community kitchen, meeting house and grounds offered up for events; an education hub. To see carried out the plans for horticulture and achievement of self sustainability, through development of the land. To regain connections amongst the local Kohanga reo, papa kainga (homesteads), kaumatua flats, health centre and church. To be the place to be, “Come one, come all”.


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Michael Burt - Painter Local man, Michael Burt, has a great love of nature, hunting, and fishing – he reflects this passion in his paintings. Michael achieves the balance between daily life and art that many aspire to.


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By Claire Price

Leave your preconceived notions about thick-skinned hunters at the studio door of Michael Burt. This is one that comes with an in-built sensitivity chip. He doesn’t just hunt and fish but also paints what he sees in the bush, rivers, and ocean in really bright colours. Raised to be proficient in outdoor skills, he is more than comfortable moving between bush and town environments. His beekeeper father encouraged Michael early on to learn how to handle bees, creating fond memories of this time together. As a result, his love of, and experience in, nature has inspired what and how he paints and what he does for a living. He now divides his time between painting in town and beekeeping in the countryside. Michael, 32, sandwiched between two brothers, grew up in the idyllic suburb of Wainui Beach, Gisborne. “All I lived for as a kid was exploring in the rock pools, catching eels, and fishing. Most of the eels got away but I caught a few,” he laughs. At boarding school in his teens, Michael continued to help his father with his beekeeping business over the school holidays. During this period of his life, Michael’s art, perhaps inherited, began to assume more importance to him; both his grandmothers had been creative. His love of art had started to bloom in intermediate school, during which Michael remembers his mother buying him his first watercolour paints from a garage sale. After receiving these, he plastered his bedroom wall with multiple fish paintings. He recalls a high school teacher giving him a book on Michael Smithers, his current favourite artist. He carried on with studying art at school until his sixth form; this was to be his only formal art training. His early love of nature drew him to study science after leaving school. He ended up completing science and law degrees at Waikato University. Living in Hamilton for six years, Michael got to know Raglan well with frequent surfing trips there. For a while, he painted Raglan landscapes, after having established some local knowledge of that area and its surfing breaks. “It helps to have a few frights, to see the ugly side of it,” he jokes. “It’s like family and how you see people on their good days and bad days and take them as they are.”


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During his time in the Waikato, Michael exhibited a few of his paintings in a Raglan gallery; these sold within the first few days of being hung. Three other galleries followed suit in selling his paintings. After university, whilst teaching rafting in the United States, Michael heard from his father that he was scheduled to have brain surgery. In a twist, his father told him of his plans to sell his beekeeping business at home in Gisborne. Michael sensed an opportunity and returned home for the following bee season, taking over the business from his dad. Shortly thereafter, settled at home in a landscape he loved and in a new light filled studio in the historic Poverty Bay Club, his passion for painting returned with a vengeance. “The move was the best thing ever for my painting. My work got better. I now do them one after the other and build on my skill,” he smiles.

Dominating his studio space is a triptych of recycled doors, which have been used as the backgrounds for paintings. New for Michael, these paintings depict people in various outdoors activities. One man in a boat is throwing back crayfish; another is


“All the landscapes are where I go fishing or hunting and the bush ones are all places I go fishing,” he adds. “My fascination comes from feeling dependent on the land. It gives you something. You almost get a nurturing feeling from the places. The people in the pictures are doing what I do there. It’s implicit in the composition that the viewer is in the picture.”

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His influences include the rock paintings of Michael Smithers and the works of Rita Angus and Mexican muralist, Diego Rivera. “Most of my paintings are from a perspective of being low to the ground, peering into the water,” he observes. “I have close detailed foreground. It’s a throwback to exploring and catching stuff.”


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a diver on the surface of the ocean surveying the rocky seabed below, with few sea creatures shown. Michael feels that natural resources are now scarcer. People catching crayfish have to throw back undersized ones as there aren’t so many full sized ones available now; the diver sees very little sea life on the rocks under the ocean surface. Human beings have recently appeared in his paintings, as Michael’s confidence in capturing these forms grows. Prior to this, crayfish, octopuses, fish, and their respective habitats have been his main subjects. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a painter, Michael sees himself very much as an introvert. The creatures depicted underwater in his pictures are frequently hidden in rock crevices, visible only upon closer inspection. He admits to having “heaps of secret spots” in the wider Gisborne region. He likes to make the effort to reach places not usually frequented by others. These provide the perspectives for many of his paintings. “You have to get in the water and dive or fish or hike to where you paint from,” he says eagerly. “These places do take a bit of work to get to.” People have asked to buy Michael’s paintings frequently over the last year or so. He has been focused for some time though on gathering sufficient pieces for an exhibition and has refused to sell his paintings over this period. He has, however, recently relented and sold a few paintings, having reached his target to exhibit. A recent body of Michael’s work, in his view, has developed as a result of working on much larger canvases, exploring colour mixes he hasn’t tried before. “Half the creative process is having the idea and the rest is just hard work,” he observes. “The painting never turns out how I envisage it in my head. I’m never quite happy with what I’ve done but it leads into the next one. I get surprised by what happens in a painting sometimes.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a painter, Michael sees himself very much as an introvert. The creatures depicted underwater in his pictures are frequently hidden in rock crevices, visible only upon closer inspection.


The last painting Michael completed usually motivates him to get back into the studio to start on the next one. He is excited when experimenting with blending new colours, seeing how well they turn out and then developing those colour schemes in his next piece. He sees his motivation as a love of “making stuff”, an eagerness to start with an idea and work it through. When asked whether beekeeping or painting is his bigger passion, he says they are very different, complementary activities for him. He finds his beekeeping more of a physical workout, much like farming, without much creativity involved on his part. His painting is more of an emotional process for him.

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He has put up a quote from artist Michael Smithers on his studio wall: “It’s like a fire lit under you. You never achieve exactly what inspired you. In the end you’re left with the ashes, and that’s the painting.”

Gallery owners have told Michael that they believe his paintings appeal to men more than many other types of paintings. They think that men can relate to the landscapes and activities Michael depicts. His paintings are inspired by environments where other men work and play. He believes that most people involved in outdoor activities, such as those seen in his paintings that are much like him, are “fed” by being outdoors and truly care about the preservation of those environments. Conservation is a key concern for those who make a living from the land, as well as those who enjoy landscapes as part of their leisure time, in his view. It is clear that this is an important issue for him.

His paintings are inspired by environments where other men work and play.

Beekeeping, for Michael, rules his summer months whilst his painting takes precedence in the winter.


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Although he prefers not to plan his life too carefully, Michael cannot see a time in the future when he is not painting or passionate about painting. He appears always keen to take up offers of new experiences, when they arise. Michael feels he is heading in the right direction. “I never want to be content,” he says, “I anticipate more good paintings and more beehives in a few different places. I’m in a good little island of creativity.” He grins broadly as he gestures around his painting studio. Despite his protestation to the contrary, one might suspect that contentment for him has not been as elusive as those eels that evaded him.


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By Genny Stevens


Fascinated with all things wool, Genny Stevens spent a day watching it come off the sheep’s back.

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Shearing Day

It’s 5.30am and I’m waiting for a strange man driving a white van to pick me up. So many things wrong with that sentence, not least the 5.30am part; 5.30am and I go way back but never really liked each other – I much prefer its more reasonable sibling 8am. However, I’m on assignment to photograph a shearing gang for most of the day and, as the contractors who’ve organised this for me, Phillip and Tupz Proudfoot of Poverty Bay Shearing, are up at 4am everyday, I find it in my heart to not complain.


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Shearing is a vital cog in the wool industry and as a result the New Zealand economy. The act of getting fleece off a sheep efficiently and in good quality is paramount for farmers to get the best price possible for their wool. I knew this, and I knew that shearing is pretty hard work; I was looking forward to finding out more. We stop at the Proudfoots’ home, also central hub for the business, and after sorting the day out, my driver, Beau Gulfie, and I head back out to our first destination, Tangihanga Station. The woolshed at Tangihanga has seen many sunrises and I’m told the farmer isn’t keen for me to take photos here, wanting me to focus instead on the bright shiny new shed we will be visiting in the afternoon; of course, I find this the most photogenic location! Soon, headlights snake their way along the road announcing the arrival of the first shearer. The rest of the workers arrive soon after, convoy style, some in their own vehicles and some in the company vans, not only shearers but rousies and pressers also who make one efficient team.

The sky outside changes from obsidian to indigo. The shearers set up their stations, the rousies catch up over the last dregs of coffee and cigarettes, and the sheep bleat gently outside. A shearer starts his clippers and warms up on the first sheep. It’s a signal – the amp in the corner comes to life, blasting a mix of high beats per minute music. Suddenly the team jumps into action.

On the sorting table the fleece is skirted to remove vegetable matter and any other undesirable parts, and then sorted into bales of different classes of wool. Once the bales are full they are pressed and marked ready for the wool buyer.


In those 60 seconds, the rousies are constantly aware of the shearer’s movements, darting around to pull the clipper’s cord switching it off and on as needed, sorting the fleece as it falls with their ‘brooms’ (the bristles long ago replaced with a flat plastic blade). The fleece from the belly and backside is separated here and flicked into the ‘dags’ bale and the rest of the fleece is expertly rolled up by the rousie and flung on to the sorting table.

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The shearers stride from their station to the pens, wrap their arms around and under the front legs of a sheep, and drag the sheep back to the station, reaching for their clippers as they pin the sheep into a sitting position with their legs. Methodically, they run the clippers over the sheep until the fleece is left in a mound to one side and the sheep is bare. The sheep is then pushed down a chute to the outside pen. This all happens in about 60 seconds.


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By the time I’d usually be having my first coffee, the team have probably shorn close to 300 sheep.

By the time I’d usually be having my first coffee, the team have probably shorn close to 300 sheep. As a bystander, this dance between sheep, shearer, and rousie looks smoothly choreographed, with no one missing a beat. I’ve worked in big restaurants before and I recognise similarities – the hierarchy, pressure of time, the adrenalin – and I know when it’s going well it’s like smooth sailing with a strong breeze behind you; miss one beat and it can spiral into a day of hell. Later on, I find out I’ve been watching a crack team. Some of these shearers hold world records; some travel the world following the shearing season earning more than many company directors. And it’s also confirmed that managing the teams and ensuring they work well together is key to a good day.


By 1pm all the sheep have new haircuts and the gang move on to the next shed at Otara station. This will be the first shear done in this new shed, built after the old one was lost in last year’s floods. The shearers set up their stations, putting nails in to hang the counters – they are paid per sheep and need to keep a tally. After a short lunch break they get back into it, the energy levels same as they were at 7am.

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Unlike kitchen crews, there is no shouting. The shearers barely utter a word, while the rousies sing and joke around the sorting table. Even at break time the shearers refuel quietly on fluid, food, and cigarettes, although I’m told they do make up for this once the day is finished and the beers are out!

Being an observer with a camera has its own role – to match the rhythm of the gang and be aware of their next move, to know where to stand without getting in the way.


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Beau arrives to take me back into town about 2.30pm and asks if I’m tired after standing around all day. My legs complain a bit about the unfamiliarity of having worn gumboots but no, surprisingly I’m not tired, despite the early start. Being an observer with a camera has its own role – to match the rhythm of the gang and be aware of their next move, to know where to stand without getting in the way – all to try and get the best shot. This has its own rush. Doing that in a high octane environment around an elite efficient team added to the buzz. I also know that having an interloper hanging around can throw a spanner in the day, so I’m incredibly grateful to have been allowed to see for myself just what an amazing job these men and women do in keeping a vital part of our economy going.


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Future Leaders


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“Believe that nothing is Impossible” Harley Te Pairi is a bright young man who is making good steps to set his life on the right path. From Kaiti ‘the hood’, Harley was sponsored to head down to Wellington in July to be part of a national young leaders forum called ‘The Aspiring Leaders Forum’ – Tuia Wananga 3, here he had a life changing experience and met up with other young maori leaders from over Aotearoa called Tuia. Here’s his story…. By Harley Te Pairi

Day one - Wellington The day started with meeting Marcus Akuhata Brown and the rest of our Tuia Whanau to korero and reflect on the last wananga we had in Te Araroa - it was great catching up with our Tuia Whanau. Next we went to a marae called Tapu Te Ranga in Island Bay, Wellington which is has 11 levels and has the record of being the biggest Marae in the world. Bruce - the man who built it - gave us a korero on how it came about, the key points were $25 and a big dream and he made it happen. What inspired me about Bruce is that he said “never stop dreaming big and live everyday like your best shot is still to come, believe that nothing is impossible”. We suited up at the Marae then all went to the James Cook Hotel. It was so awesome to meet our facilitators and other group members.


Parliament was such an amazing experience - just being there was awesome, even security were awesome and I really enjoyed meeting the other forum. Question time in Parliament was a mean experience , I saw leaders of our country arguing and saying smart remarks to each other - I thought that was immature of them. We got to listen to some ministers from the Maori, Labour & National parties as well as Bill English. It surprised me how most of the ministers didn’t have the brightest background but they did have the determination to try and change the world we live in and some had a heart to serve their people.

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Day two - Parliament

Day two – evening We had a motivational speaker talk to us at dinner-time, he shared his knowledge and wisdom and shared about his life as a teenager - having lots of fears and failures and how he overcame them by finding a hope for his future and faith by believing in himself that nothing was impossible.

Overall Every day we had ‘Group Time’, it was an opportunity for our group to get to know each other. We shared our testimonies - it was amazing on how much our fellow delegates had been through in their lives from childhood to where they are now. We all had stories of ups and downs, good and bad, ugly and beautiful. All of the stories were really heart felt. The best thing about sharing our testimonies is that there was such a loving, respectful and comfortable atmosphere that our facilitators and all of us had created for everyone in our group to open up and share. Another great thing was after everyone had told their story, friendships got closer, bonds got tighter, considering we only just met a few days ago, it was awesome. “Love oversees all faults”. As part of the conference, the whole entire forum nominates a neighbourhood and we all go out on buses to the streets to clean up or organise community homes etc. Our group helped an old couple with jobs needed doing around their property. It was good to see our forum leaders with such generous hearts, serving people regardless of their status. The forum were great role models for all of the delegates, showing us how to have loving hearts for people and to serve the community, the people around you, and having fun doing it! My highlight of the trip was hearing Dan Walker, national sales manager at Samsung NZ, at one of our dinners about his journey from a young man from Hawea to where he is now. His message, “your past does not define your future”, was very powerful. A big thank-you to our Mayor and leaders Marcus and to Nikki for giving me the great opportunity to experience such awesome people and positive atmosphere. To our Tuia Whanau who have so much love, freedom so much understanding and respect, full of unity and compassion. You all mean a lot to me.


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Kia Ora Harley Te Pairi.

Another great thing was after everyone had told their story, friendships got closer, bonds got tighter, considering we only just met a few days ago, it was awesome.


Stuart Moriarty

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The strongest men are the most alone

Let’s get ready to rumble Life Education Trust Gisborne is asking the community to put its gloves up in November to help raise funds for its ongoing operation. Fight for Life Ed Gisborne is a charity boxing extravaganza that will see members of the community put their reputations on the line and go toe to toe for three rounds. Life Education Trust trustee Andrew Willock said the event promises to be the biggest sporting event on the calendar this year and is calling on members of the community to put their hat in the ring. “We’ve all either been to, heard about or seen charity boxing events and now Gisborne has its chance to put on a showcase of its own. “We’re calling on all members of the community to think about doing something special and getting in the ring. At this stage we are hoping for six or seven fights but it all depends on who puts their hands up, we may have a few more.” All boxers will go through a personalised 10 week training programme beginning in September to help get into shape, which will include crossfit training, group fitness classes and one-on-one training. Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe and his truck visits 65 schools in the Gisborne district, teaching about 5000 children from ages five to 13 how to make better life choices.


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“We visit schools from Putere in the south to Potaka in the north. It costs about $100,000 per year to run the trust. We aren’t funded by the Government so rely heavily on fundraising and various funding agencies to survive. “It is getting harder and harder to obtain funding from these agencies so we need to come up with innovative ways to raise funds. This event has been run in Whakatane for Life Education Trust with great success,” said Mr Willock.

“We visit schools from Putere in the south to Potaka in the north. It costs about $100,000 per year to run the trust. We aren’t funded by the Government so rely heavily on fundraising and various funding agencies to survive.”

Life Education Trust Gisborne trustee Andrew Willock with his gloves on about to spar with Fight for Life Ed Gisborne head trainer Alan Hogarth, under the watchful eye of Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe and Crossfit 4010 gym owner and team trainer Shane Hooks.

The East Coast Boxing Association is also involved in the event and will ensure the safety of the boxers and manage the ring. East Coast Boxing Association President Moki Raroa said the event carries a strong message for the community and is pleased boxing is used to motivate people in a positive way. “The event has a positive kaupapa and the association is more than happy to be working with organisers to develop a safe yet exciting environment. It’s a cause worth fighting for” said Mr Raroa. Mr Willock said that while proceeds of the event will go towards running the trust it is also about bringing the community together and motivating us to make better life choices. “Boxing is an exciting sport to participate in and watch. But this event is not just about fighting or fundraising, it’s also about education.

If you would like any further information or would like to put your name forward please contact Josh Willoughby on 06 867 7444 or


A facebook page Fight for Life Ed Gisborne will post regular updates on the event. People interested in the event can also put their names forward on the page or maybe suggest names of others.

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“Fighters will go through a pretty intense training programme to be fitter, stronger and faster. Hopefully the community can see the positive changes something like this will have on them and take motivation from that,” said Mr Willock.

The Gisborne Farmers’ Market Welcome to the colourful world of the Gisborne Farmers’ Market where you will find organic supplies in a vibrant atmosphere. It’s a place for locals to gather and catch up with the latest happenings, to the background of toe tapping music played live by local artists.


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By Amanda Davies

To experience this yourself visit the Army Hall car park each Saturday from 9.30am to 12.30pm, and shop till you drop for fruit, veges, and homemade delights. In each issue of Eastcape I will focus on a different stall to give you a preview of what you can expect from my Farmers’ Market family.

Everyone is welcome, so come on down each Saturday, get your tastebuds tantalised, catch up with friends and whanau, and check out what the local community is producing!

We also make seasonal chutneys and preserves for you to browse while I cook your fresh, hot, and delicious fritters!


Our fresh mussel fritters are made from mussels, obviously, parengo (karengo to the northern half of the country), other secret ingredients, and perhaps most importantly, love. Served on buns by fellow trader, Morrell’s Bakery, with our own homemade aioli, smoked chilli sauce, and tartare sauce, you can’t beat them. We also sell the batter as a pre-mix for you to take home and cook yourself and, according to regular shoppers, these are quite a hit at dinner parties. We also make seasonal chutneys and preserves for you to browse while I cook your fresh, hot, and delicious fritters!

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My own stall, The Mussel Fritter Stall (originally Bad Boy Pickles), is a family tradition; I’m the third operator of the business, with my brother before me, and my parents before that. Of course, our recipe is a ‘treasured family secret’.


Emotional Blindness Life through the eyes of local writer Fiona Mitford. By Fiona Mitford

Some 14 years ago, new to Gisborne and rural life, I attended a workshop conducted by East Coast literary giant Witi Ihimaera. ‘Write what you know,’ he told us, and then, with a devilish smile; ‘Now, write what you don’t know.’ I was also relatively new to the art of fiction writing, and quotes from distinguished writers were like weighty tomes. I was a dry sponge ready to suck up everything I could. Around this time, I was reading, among others, American writer and poet Gertrude Stein. She had her own take on the craft of writing. ‘A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears,’ she said. I wasn’t sure I agreed. After all, shouldn’t a writer engage all senses? The sense of smell for instance. A waft of camphor or eucalyptus will in an instant propel me back to winter in Auckland in the seventies: fog, oil heaters in the classroom, and those little square muslin bags that kids often wore strung around their necks to stave off colds. The smell of branches smouldering in a backyard incinerator would years later evoke memories of those endless lonely weekends as a teenager slumped on the back porch steps watching while my parents did the garden. The dank smell of damp leather can still conjure feelings of anxiety and dread: there in a flash are the school satchels on the hooks in the primer one cloakroom. And the sense of sound. Music. The song that was number one that summer you were fifteen, or the song you turned up in your bedroom when your parents argued and your father left.


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And taste. The first time you were drunk. The asparagus rolls at your mother’s funeral. This was the sort of writing that moved me as a reader. I wanted to use more than just my eyes when I wrote. And what then of Witi’s advice to write what I didn’t know? The sort of things I liked to write about – dysfunctional family stuff, seemingly insignificant moments in everyday life – were, despite aesthetics, much the same for every setting, weren’t they? Weren’t people and relationships the same everywhere? What was here that I could write about that I didn’t know? The gentle baaa-ing of contented ewes, the endless mile after mile of paddock and fence line, surly bulls whose expression seemed one of pity towards me as I traipsed past them in sandshoes eyeing my pedometer. Surely I was missing something in the interpretation. Something big.

And then one slatey-grey afternoon driving home from town up the Wharekopae Road, someone helped me out. While my radio attempted to stay connected to Jim Mora and the national radio programme, I heard through the crackling reception the tail end of a conversation. They were discussing something they referred to as emotional blindness. I don’t believe that they were speaking as to how that pertained to writers particularly, but for some reason those two words reminded me of a story I had read years earlier by Raymond Carver: ‘Cathedral’, in which the reader discovers that the act of looking is related to physical vision but the act of seeing requires a deeper level of engagement. I was at that moment at a particular part of the journey up the Wharekopae Road, about to do what I often did: closing my eyes to something I didn’t want to know. I was approaching the paddock where a herd of wild goats rounded up from the surrounding ranges had been penned for a couple of weeks. I momentarily closed my eyes each time I passed them. It was only for a second or two, I told myself. This was one of the many parts of my journey to town and back where I took my life in my own hands, my husband would say. I couldn’t, wouldn’t, meet their arresting stares; didn’t want to have to look at the mothers and babies, complete families I suspected; all huddled there, wet and forlorn. Get out of the car, a voice in my head commanded. I stopped. I got out of my car.

I was approaching the paddock where a herd of wild goats rounded up from the surrounding ranges had been penned for a couple of weeks.

And I didn’t swerve on the gravel road further along at the hair pin bend where the turkeys congregated like hunched elderly mourners at a funeral that afternoon, so as not to see the pile of mulch and feathers that was one of their own, as I usually did. I slowed down, wound down my window. I listened to the sound of their muffled gobble-gobbling. And in the rear view mirror as I drove away I could see that one feather stood upright on the road, like an old- fashioned quill in an inkwell. I would come to see how it would remain there, for weeks, long after the hawks had had their fill, as though in memoriam to what had once been.


And in that ‘seeing’ of things that I would otherwise have turned away from, things I didn’t want to know, I wondered whether this was in a way where Stein and Ihimaera’s thinking overlapped. The writing of what you didn’t know, things that you couldn’t possibly know if you didn’t write with your eyes. The eyes being given the chance to see, to take in the image, to bring with it all the other senses a writer could need. A snapshot to the mind, a vision of something previously unknown which, in time, may percolate to form words, phrases, paragraphs, and God willing, a story.

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And while I hated the sight of those goats trapped in the paddock, I saw them that day; looked back at them and noted how heavy and continual rain made their bodies seem swollen on their thin, high-heeled little hooves, how they appeared as though they had all been lent coats that were far too large for them.

Love what you see? Something is missing though...

If you know what we’re talking about & you are interested in this opportunity - let’s talk! email

Eastcape Magazine