Last year may have been “torturous” for Lyn and Kaiwaka Riki but out of it has sprung a new chapter in the Kaiwhenua Gardens success story.
Not just a chapter, in fact, but a whole book.
Entitled Kaiwhenua Organics – after the charitable trust under which their sustainable business operates – the practical guide for organic growing was published in January and is just another way to “pass on our knowledge”, says Lyn of the 15 years they’ve spent cultivating five hectares of Kaiwaka’s ancestral land at Whale Bay.
Through a year that began with a major stroke for Kaiwaka and progressed in July to a knee replacement for Lyn, the couple still delivered their scheduled six-month Wintec course on site for 16 students completing levels two and three in organic horticulture.
Lyn reckons that despite the setbacks she managed to lean on haybales and do the talking while Kaiwaka demonstrated their tried and true organic practices, which closely follow Maori traditions.
But yes it was a torturous year, she recalled last week. Through it all the book was “happening” and so was the course specifically designed at Kaiwhenua to get Maori landowners utilising their own resources and creating employment.
Lyn and Kaiwaka’s efforts have now paid off and the couple are proud to have 200-odd copies of their glossy 74-page guide – which is illustrated with more than 50 colour photos – on sale at shops downtown as well as at places like Raglan Area School, Te Mauri Tau and the library.
“It’s quite a good manual for (organic) gardening,” Lyn says modestly.
It’s an educational book, she explains, put together over six of those difficult months last year with friend and horticulture tutor Tracey Newport from Porirua Polytechnic, who researched and wrote it from the “very extensive” operational plan devised at the gardens five years ago.
While Tracey’s knowledge and experience were invaluable in developing the guide, adds Lyn, they had planning and financial assistance from Te Puni Kokiri or the Ministry of Maori Development. “It was a good team effort.”
Other project support came from the Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Internal Affairs.