Greetings from Okataina, a small little family run farm that we are WWOOFing on until January 15th. The farm is in a tiny town in the Manawatu region of New Zealand called Sansun… It only has 250 houses! The family we are staying consists of Kristi (Mumma), Paul (Dad), and little William who is just about to turn 3 in March. We are also working with 2 other WWOOFers here both from France but didn’t come together – Nadeige (22) and Klieber (19). Kleiber looks like Hanz from Frozen…. And I remind him of that pretty much every day (like right down to the ginger sideburns!!)
The house is 100 years old but absolutely beautiful and is sitting on 14 acres of mostly hay paddocks. Kristi and Paul raise some cows, 6 sheep, a bunch of hens, 4 ducks, and sweet little piggy. Paul works for the military and Kristi is in early childhood education. In addition to their day jobs they also save and make money off selling and using items from the farm.. Which is where we come in. Our jobs are different almost every day. We have hearded sheep (this is actually a little frightening), planted veggie seeds & weeded gardens, pruned hedges, painted the house, and we do the dishes after every meal, specifically dinner (meals are so amazing – we have had burgers, steak, soups, salads, and yesterday morning Paul even made us his specialty Hokey Pokey French toast).
On our second day here we went to a neighbours and dug up little lemonwood sprouts which are self-seeding native New Zealand plants. We potted all of them and put them under some bigger trees for shelter – when we were digging them up at the neighbours, I didn’t think that we had that many but we actually ended up planting 517 pots!! Kristi takes the little baby sprouts and grows them until they are about knee height. After they are healthy she plants them around the community as an effort to make her hometown of Sansun more green and beautiful. I think it’s amazing that this woman is raising an incredibly well behaved little man, running a farm and has made time in her life to contribute back to her community in such a caring way.
On our fourth day we woke up really early to start work because Kristi and Paul had some errands to run in the afternoon. Their recommendation for our afternoon off was the check out the Manawatu Gorge hike. It was only about two hours long but really nice! Also because the town is so small and their farm isn’t super close to the Main Street we spend basically all our time on the property.. While I really don’t mind that it was nice to get out of the house and do a little of my favourite pass time! All smiles!!
The name of the farm is Okataina. The meaning behind the word comes from a sentimental background.. It stands for new beginnings and fresh starts. Paul and Kristi both come from blended families so this word is very important to the both of them – it stands for second chances and new opportunities.
The love and affection that they have for one another and their efforts to include the WWOOFers in their family time and events has made me feel like a little part of their family. I am so happy that we have been lucky enough to spend 6 days with this family in our trip. I also get to spend my birthday here which I share with my dad (January 14th). Funny enough, the Dad of the house – Paul, also shares the special day… (I hear their might be a cake in the works!)
Sending love! ❤️🌏