NZ Life & Leisure - - Contents -

We love to re­ceive your let­ters

CEL­E­BRAT­ING MATARIKI HAS be­come a tra­di­tion in our fam­ily. It started 10 years ago when we de­cided that a win­ter gather­ing would be fun – but call­ing it a mid-win­ter Christ­mas did not sit right with us. Matariki, with its unique New Zealand links, be­came our ex­cuse for a party. It was such a suc­cess that this has be­come an an­nual event. Our cel­e­bra­tion feast is sim­ple with lo­cal, in-sea­son food. Each fam­ily group is re­spon­si­ble for one course with New Zealand wine cho­sen for its Maori name or Matariki con­nec­tion. I dec­o­rate the ta­ble and the room with stars (re­cy­cled from Christ­mas) and in­tro­duce Maori sym­bols and pat­terns in coast­ers, fab­ric and servi­ettes. A length of star- pat­terned fab­ric is our table­cloth and chip­board stars trans­formed with gold paint are the place­mats. In the weeks be­fore our cel­e­bra­tion I scour the shops for star-themed gifts – books, jour­nals, games, tum­blers, pens, PJs, socks, what­ever starry bar­gains I can find. Wrapped in star paper ei­ther re­cy­cled or dec­o­rated by the chil­dren, there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one. The kids love glit­ter and even our mu­sic is star themed. Noth­ing is ex­pen­sive. This year I wrapped ev­ery­thing in star- pat­terned tea tow­els in­stead of paper – more eco-friendly and use­ful. In the be­gin­ning we used the in­ter­net and then printed out facts de­scrib­ing Matariki which we took turns to read aloud. Now that it’s a more main­stream event, we each share some­thing we know about the cel­e­bra­tion. At the end of the meal we take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber loved ones, fam­ily who are un­able to be with us or those who are no longer here, and we re­call some­thing or some­one who has given us joy in the year gone by. Lil­iane Parkin­son, Al­bany

I STARTED READ­ING the March/April travel piece ‘ Still Lucky’ drawn by a de­sire to see In­dia. I ad­mired the won­der­ful pho­to­graphs but then, in my im­pa­tient way, be­gan to bris­tle at the writer’s in­evitable hag­gling with poor Lucky, the rick­shaw driver, on reach­ing the ashram. I was think­ing of the in­dul­gence and lux­ury of cheap travel which of­ten the Third World af­fords us; hag­gling and bar­ter­ing is an in­te­gral part of the ex­pe­ri­ence. But to go ‘find our­selves’ spir­i­tu­ally, to reach a higher step in the jour­ney of life, seems at odds with this. So, I was de­lighted by the end of the story to find that the writer, af­ter 10 days of soli­tude and re­flec­tion, came away with a sharper view of life and rea­son to make amends with Lucky. Most pleased am I with this out­come – but not sanc­ti­mo­niously so. Along­side the marvel of new sights, new food and meet­ing peo­ple, there’s of­ten guilt and mis­giv­ings af­ter many an ex­haust­ing pur­chase or trans­ac­tion whilst trav­el­ing poorer coun­tries than ours. I have ques­tioned my own trade/trans­port in­ter­ac­tions in hot, crowded mar­kets and the ab­sur­dity of not want­ing to be ‘ripped off’. Thank you for an ex­cel­lent, de­scrip­tive piece. In­dia still calls but I am un­cer­tain whether I would have the for­ti­tude for 10 days of med­i­ta­tive si­lence. Heather McVicar, Whangarei

I RE­AL­IZE YOUR WRIT­ERS need to re­port the words of the in­ter­vie­wees yet surely it is also im­por­tant to re­port fact, and to show some re­spect. One sen­tence in the July/Au­gust is­sue re­ferred to Kurow as once “a nearderelict ghost town with a wool- cheque hang­over where ‘wives voted the way their hus­bands told them.’” Can you please ex­plain the mean­ing of wool- cheque hang­over, and are ru­ral women re­ally lack­ing the abil­ity to make de­ci­sions on their own? I sug­gest the in­ter­viewer and in­ter­vie­wee need to spend some time liv­ing among ru­ral women and read­ing about them. They are strong, ca­pa­ble in­di­vid­u­als. Please don’t in­sult them, or are you telling me Kurow women are dif­fer­ent? My fa­ther never told me how to vote, nor taught me to keep my mouth shut. Barbara Hore, Alexan­dra

THE PRIZE We love hear­ing from you, so we pub­lish your most in­ter­est­ing let­ters and send you a prize*. This time it’s two 25g tubes of ManukaRx** (worth $30 each) – a nat­u­ral oint­ment ef­fec­tive for a range of skin­care needs that is pow­ered by dis­tilled East Cape manuka oil. It soothes dry and chafed skin, re­pairs mi­nor burns, scalds, rashes, cuts and grazes, and main­tains sup­ple skin on el­bows, nails, lips and heels. The an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties of manuka oil also help pre­vent the spread of bac­te­ria. *Prizes will only be posted to NZ ad­dresses. ** Read the la­bel. Use as di­rected. If symp­toms per­sist, see your health­care pro­fes­sional. ManukaRx Lim­ited, Auck­land.

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