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The West Coast Messenger

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Reefton’s lavender flag blooming W by Claire Ward

hen Reefton resident John Bougen first bought the old Reefton School in 2016, he wondered what he would do with the land. “I was standing in the middle of the old playing field and as the purchase was during the flag referendum, I came up with the idea of planting pink, white and blue English lavender (with some hydrangeas and agapanthus for extra colour in the Union Jack) in the design of a huge, traditional

New Zealand flag,” he said. Now in its third year, the lavender flag “farm” is producing what Mr Bougen was considering as a by-product of the plants — lavender oil and hydrosol (lavender water), and all sorts of lavender products like candles and soaps. “The first couple of years was really a learning curve,” Gwen Gardner, the lavender flag farm gardener and caretaker, said. “We’ve had to learn from scratch, and we’re still learning as we go. Alan and Maureen Adair, who own and run Rotokohu Blue

Lavender, the other business not far from Reefton that also produces lavender products, have been very helpful in their advice like when to cut the lavender and how long it needs to dry for instance,” Mrs Gardner said. The first harvest of the lavender was in 2018 and, after a drying out period of a few days, was distilled in a 100 litre copper still Mr Bougen sourced from Morocco. The finished products are selling not only in Reefton, but further afield in the North Island. There are still a few gaps in the

PICTURES: John Bougen

Gwen Gardner, gardener and caretaker with the lavendar still.

flag but Mr Bougen said next year, all the plants should be “holding hands”, meaning of course that they have all grown together, and then the New Zealand flag will be totally apparent. “That’s when I’ll more than likely build a viewing platform so it can be viewed from above,” he said. Mr Bougen has broken two world records with his flag. One for the

Flag as taken by drone on January 27.

largest New Zealand flag and the other for the largest flag made from plants. It measures 60m by 30m with the Union Jack filling 30 by 15m. It was one of the nicest interviews this reporter has done due to sitting right beside a mass of newly harvested and drying lavender, and breathing in the most gorgeous scent the whole time.


Ask a P R O F E S S I O N A L What is music therapy and what’s its role in healthcare ‘Music Therapy is the planned use of music [by a Registered Music Therapist] to assist with the healing and personal growth of people with identified emotional, intellectual, physical or social needs’ (Music Therapy New Zealand). It is an evidence-based Allied Health profession. Researchers are now able to measure the effects of music on the brain and there is strong evidence to suggest that listening to and/or participating in musical activities improves working memory, auditory skills and cognitive function. It can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase dopamine and oxytocin – the ‘feel good’ hormones. It can also boost the immune system.

Music therapy is used with people across the lifespan and employs a range of approaches, including humanistic (person-centred), cognitive behavioural (problem-solving) and psychodynamic (social-emotional). Activities may include improvisation (making up music as you go along), singing, songwriting, guided listening to music, music and movement activities, musical games and stories. Registered Music Therapists are skilled in using the elements of music to address specific issues, such as mood and emotional self-regulation; selfesteem, confidence and motivation; parent-child relationships; developmental delay; rehabilitation

HEATHER FLETCHER Registered Music Therapist West Coast District Health Board Phone 03 769 7400 Extension 2733

and palliative care. They engage in ongoing supervision and professional development to ensure they meet the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics for the practice of music therapy. Currently music therapy is available through the West Coast DHB Allied Health services. It is used to support people of all ages on their health journey, particularly where there are communication and/or developmental difficulties, with the aim of improving outcomes for this vulnerable population. More information about music therapy can be found at

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West Coast Messenger 6 February 2019  

Weekly news from West Coast, New Zealand

West Coast Messenger 6 February 2019  

Weekly news from West Coast, New Zealand