Patua North (“pA-tao”)
After catching a lucky ride right to Patua South we began the first night of our Farm Stay. Tracy and Mack have a wonderful hobby farm right near what appears to be the most idyllic place to be a kid I could ever imagine.
Two beaches converge on a river inlet and the only way from the south to the north is a pedestrian bridge that was crowded with locals jumping off into the water below. I could only imagine what it would be like to grow up here; biking down to the little market to grab a jug of milk, stopping to swim in the water, heading back to finish feeding the chickens, and returning to the beach for an evening surf.
At our FHINZ (Farm Helpers in New Zealand) Farm Stay we met Mack, Tracy, and their daughter Amy. The very first night they took us out to a neighbors pot luck BBQ right on the beach. Apparently this was also a WOOFing spot (Work On an Organic Farm) and the young guy doing his farm stay was spending his time helping the family by renting paddle boards and teaching surfing lessons. Seems not all farm stays are just hard labor.
We spent the next day after a breakfast of fresh eggs and local bread helping move a truckload of dirt onto the garden and clearing/cleaning the area around Amy’s treehouse.
After lunch Mack came home and put us to work rolling and chucking gum wood rounds down a hill, eventually loading them onto his truck. Tossing 15lb+ rounds of wood from one pile to the next was certainly some back-breaking physical labor. But it did feel good though to know we made a large dent in gathering all the wood the family needed for the winter. 100% of their heating comes from burning firewood from their property. We were so impressed with how sustainable this family lived. Like most other rural Kiwis, 100% of their usable and drinking water comes from collecting and storing rain water. Tracy and Mack have what is called a hobby farm and they sell some of their surplus in town but most is to support their family. They raise chickens, goats, sheep, and grow a ton of things in the garden so nearly everything we ate was something from their land.
A Farm Stay in NZ is an incredible experience to get to learn more about just how sustainable and close to nature many New Zealanders actually are.
Our stay with this wonderful family could not have been more fun and enlightening about the Kiwi experience.