spent two years travelling the country researching the stories of New Zealand women in the 1800s for a collection of musical tales called The Boundary Riders. What inspired The Boundary Riders? A few things led me to realise there was a gap that needed to be filled. Part of this was searching for songs by women in New Zealand in the 1800s and coming quickly to a dead end. Was anyone particularly hard to write about? They were all complicated. Each character took at least three months of pulling the research together until I felt I could imagine the person standing in front of me. Tell us about a memorable moment on the road. The highlight has been the people I’ve met, their generosity, their interest in the stories and desire to tell their family history. Recording with amazing musicians who brought all the songs to life was very special. What obstacles did you encounter? The main one was trying to find enough information. Then there were the touring logistics – my first van overheated and I lost all my savings; I went through a relationship breakdown; I spent many months struggling to find enough money to afford to live and relying on friends to help out with a place to stay; I snapped my Achilles tendon and became completely housebound for three months. All these things caused me great emotional strain and I was close many times to giving it all up. I overcame all these obstacles from this deep belief in what I was doing. My struggles were nothing compared to what [these women] had been through and that gave me strength. What have you taken away from putting the project together? An awareness of the stories of women in our history and their strength in the face of adversity; a new love for New Zealand; a musical joy in writing; and satisfaction at the final product – the album and the book. What person or thing would make your life better? A van – I still don’t have transport or a place to lay my head at night. Tell us something about yourself few people know. I have four degrees. I instructed aerobics for 10 years. My first real audition was when I was 10 for the part of a 200-year-old dragon. What were you like in high school? I just got on with it and played lots of instruments, made some good friends, but I found it creatively uninspiring. If you could edit your past, what would you change? I would not have gone straight to university after school but instead spent a few years travelling and working, and focusing on my music. Which of your own traits do you most deplore? The internal questioning – it can become quite debilitating at times. Which of your own traits are you most proud of? More and more I respect my ability to let go and to trust myself to face challenges. Do you have any recurring dreams? Yes, I travel a lot in my dreams, discovering places I haven’t been to yet, and I have that falling dream quite regularly. What’s the best pudding on earth? I love exotic fruit, so a mixture of fresh pineapple, mango, papaya, lychee and melon.