The Flower Fashionista

Kelsey’s career began with her selling handmade clothing on the internet at the age of 16. Slowly over time this developed into custom bridalwear, and lead to her earning a Bachelor of Fashion from UCOL by the age of 18. “I would sew all my orders on my lunch breaks at Uni,” she remembers.

Being a designer, businesswoman, pattern maker, and seamstress is all in a day’s work for 23 year old Kelsey Genna, work which she says is “honestly my dream job”.

Kelsey GennaHer career has grown “very slowly”, which is something Kelsey is grateful for. “It takes a long time, especially starting young, to really figure out your niche and how you want something to work. Figuring out how to live a really balanced life whilst thriving in your career also took me quite a while.”

Founded in 2012, Kelsey’s bridal label The Flower Bride has been brought to life through floral and nature inspired components. While Kelsey is based in Manawatu, her label is stocked in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchuch and is also established in major centres around the world including Los Angeles, New York and London.

Kelsey has also recently designed and released a new Kelsey Genna activewear range, which she says was inspired by travelling to Indonesia.

I think following your dreams is a beautiful thing but I think it also takes so much more dedication, patience and hard work than anyone realises.

“I spent some time in Bali last year and fell in love with Ubud, a small town up in the forests. It’s a really creative town and there is also a big organic, raw food and yoga culture there. It seems to represent everything I want my activewear brand to be about. I’m spending the next few months based there setting up my activewear line… it’s an inspiring place to be.”

Sold exclusively online, her activewear range incorporates fashion and sport through a variety of unique designs and vibrant printed fabrics.

FAshion in the cityAs well as designing, Kelsey relishes having the opportunity to travel. “I love travelling which is why I’ve tried to incorporate it into my work as much as possible. I find travelling from place to place a little annoying though, which is why I usually try to base myself somewhere for 1­2 months at a time. As long as I keep super organised I find living out of a suitcase really easy.”

This year looks to be a busy one, but Kelsey is excited about the work ahead. “I’m going to be juggling my time between my bridal and activewear, this is my first year working on two big projects. While I am in Bali I will be setting up a base for my activewear and also designing a new bridal collection. I’ll spend a little bit of time tripping around Asia fabric sourcing too, and then I plan to head to New York for the Bridal Market in October.”

It takes a long time, especially starting young, to really figure out your niche and how you want something to work.

While this year is well planned out, Kelsey doesn’t have many solid plans for the future. “Life is ever changing and I’m happy to just see where it takes me. I’m just happy to keep slowly growing. As much as I love my job it is just one part of my life.”

“I think following your dreams is a beautiful thing but I think it also takes so much more dedication, patience and hard work than anyone realises.”


Snippets from Issue 6


MTB K LoopIn the past decade Arapuke Forest Park has been swamped with the sweat of bikers chipping away dirt for the park’s trail development.

The Manawatu Mountain Bike Club has been working with the Palmerston North City Council to develop a network of mountain bike trails called the K-Loop at the Kahuterawa Outdoor Recreational Area. “Our goal is to create some reasonable off-road riding opportunities around Manawatu, where there has traditionally been only a few,” says club representative Bill Russell.

Today the park has fifteen kilometres of bike tracks catering to all experience levels. Beginners get to enjoy a relaxed ride while advanced mountain bikers can pursue the downhill runs with thrilling jumps and drops. “On a good ride I should feel scared somewhere along the journey,” says club member Russell Brebner.

The tracks have been made possible because of the persistence and hard work of club members. “Lots of man and woman labour is required to turn the trails into something that’s fun and ride-able,” says Russell. The club organises occasional working bees to really crack into the project, and receives support from the Palmerston North City Council, Trail Fund NZ, Horizons Regional Council, Ground Effect and the Eastern and Central Community Trust.

Owing to forest harvesting, access to the park has been limited recently to weekends and trail development has been delayed. “The great news is that the loggers should be out of there by the end of April,” says Bill. “Next season onwards is going to be really exciting because we’re going to have a much bigger playground to do the design.” It’s anticipated that when the trail building is complete twenty-five kilometres of trails will be available to enthusiasts.

Arapuke Forest Park isn’t just full of the daredevils you’d imagine. “We’re building something that caters to everyone from six-year-olds to the advanced riders at the other end of the spectrum,” Russell explains. “In the past three years I’ve seen people I never thought I’d see riding on that hill, from families to groups of ladies.”

Park access is through Kahuterawa Road (advanced trails) or Scotts Road.


Little LibraryThere has been a new feature added to the Rose Garden at Palmerston North’s Victoria Esplanade. In memory of book lover Joyce Scott, her friends and family have erected a Little Free Library. Joyce, who passed away last year, wanted everyone to know the joy that comes from getting lost in a good book.

The Little Free Library is a box full of books where everyone is welcome to pick up a book and bring back another. This library is currently one of only four in New Zealand and is a part of a global initiative, with libraries around the world all registered and tracked at

Alida Parker, a friend of Joyce, recalls how often they would talk of setting up a Little Free Library near Joyce’s home. The Esplanade became home to the Little Free Library as it was a special place for Joyce. “She loved to be surrounded by the roses and sometimes we would both take a book down and enjoy the place and the sun.”

The City Council installed the Little Free Library in the Rose Garden, and the family have plans to install another on Massey University campus. “We are extending the Little Free Library to other parts of New Zealand, that’s the beauty of it.”


Cheeeeeeese!!!In the hustle and bustle of the Feilding Farmers’ Market, award-winning cheese-maker Adrian Walcroft can be found at the Cartwheel Creamery stall.

Adrian has an impressive resume, having been awarded the title of Champion Home Crafted Cheese-maker at the 2012 New Zealand Cuisine Champions of Cheese awards. His Pohangina Blue cheese was also a winner, earning gold at the event. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as animated as he was with the success of those awards,” Adrian’s wife Jill explains. “They’re very justly deserved.”

The couple started producing their artisan goods for market in September last year. To pick their favourite cheese is like “choosing a favourite child!”. A popular choice is the aptly named Coppermine, a washed-rind cheese with coppery tones, named after the creek running through the Ruahines. “It’s really tasty and we’re enjoying people discovering it and liking it as much as we do.”

The Walcrofts are excited about making their gold-winning blue cheese for customers once a culturing room is available. “It might be our new favourite!” Plum and quince pastes derived from their Pohangina Valley orchard are also soon to accompany their goods at the market, enriching the cheese tasting experience.

Tastings at the gate on Sundays 1-4pm.

James, hard at work

Open Sky Office

James Stewart is the man with the plan, and as the new Federated Farmers’ Manawatu-Rangitikei Provincial President he is determined to lead his community and get New Zealanders back in touch with their farming roots.

James in the milking shed“I was tapped on the shoulder,” laughs James when discussing his selection as Federated Farmers’ newest Provincial President. “I’ve always been very passionate about the agricultural sector, having been a farmer my whole life. I was brought up on a farm, and had been in my own business for about twenty years when I got to the point where I had a little bit more time to get out in the wider industry, rather than just being on a farm.”

This wealth of experience more than proved that he was fit for the job, and James is now one of the youngest elected presidents to date, a representative of the younger generation of farmers who are now coming into their own. “The biggest qualification I need is to be a real farmer, and know the issues for farmers and represent them.”

I’ve got the best air conditioning in the country. When I talk about my office I’m talking about my farm. My office is green paddocks and a wide, open sky

James is not one to leave things up to others, and already he is making his own mark on how things are done. “When I took on this role I think my big catchphrase was engagement. I want to engage with my farmers, so that farmers get real value from what we are doing. Farmers want to farm the land and the stock. That’s why they wanted to farm. They don’t want to deal with the political stuff. That’s what we are trying to help with. We are the voice of farmers.”

WindmillEven more vital than interacting with farmers is James’ driving focus on reuniting the rural and urban communities. “I enjoy talking to urban people, going to town groups, schools, Lions Clubs, Probus. Just getting out and talking, and sharing our story, what we are doing in New Zealand and the challenges we have.

“Our country has become very urbanised; only about fourteen per cent of the population are living rurally. People are seeing less and less of farms. What I want to do is give them the chance and that’s part of the Manawatu Farm Days we are launching. Open the gate. Come and have a look. If people don’t understand what we are doing we have to show them.”

I want to engage with my farmers, so that farmers get real value from what we are doing. Farmers want to farm the land and the stock

He is also hoping to encourage other young farmers, and help those considering this field of work understand the work that is involved on a farm. “One day you can be a vet, other days you’re a plumber, and some days you’re an accountant running a business. There are a lot of different challenges that give a lot of variety.

Tractor“Farming has always been a bit of a lifestyle and that’s what probably got me into it, the lifestyle it encompasses. I’ve often said, ‘I’ve got the best air conditioning in the country.’ When I talk about my office I’m talking about my farm. My office is green paddocks and a wide, open sky. You’ve got plenty of room and space, fresh air. There is nothing better getting up in the morning and watching the sun come up. It’s just great to be out and free.”

Tom's pad

Tom Shannon

A heart for future generations – Tom Shannon is connecting people and ideas.

High up on the hill, Tom Shannon has always had a perspective from above. It would be easy for him to separate himself from the world below, but Tom is devoted to his home, the Manawatu Region. “It’s home in the broader picture of the region,” says Tom. “My family came from different parts, I married into different parts. My roots move deep in the town of Shannon, south of Palmerston North, which bears the name of my grandfather’s grandfather. I am the eldest son’s eldest son’s eldest son!”

Tom at homeAs Tom puts it, “I was raised as a dog on the Tararua hills.” It was this upbringing that made Tom fall in love with the region, and despite studying down south and spending a year traipsing the globe, his love brought him back as a family man. With the children now grown, Tom is making a name for himself as the man working quietly away building relationships and getting things done.

It was a desire to leave something for future generations and the community that encouraged Tom to bring local parties together to create positive change. “In a previous career I was a sharebroker, and as a sharebroker you’re in the middle. I think that the business of brokering understanding is why I came out here. I left sharebroking because I didn’t like the conversation, and I left it with the view that there was more security in knowing and getting on with your neighbours than there was in a number on a piece of paper. I had been trying to foster conversations with authorities and the community as part of a river liaison committee, and I was getting frustrated with that, with how authorities engaged with communities and how communities engaged with authorities. The drive is in me, and I wonder why sometimes, but I wanted to see if I couldn’t champion a conversation in my community. I was trying to broker understanding.

I don’t think we need more research to do things, we just need to apply what we know

“In terms of what’s motivated me to put myself up there, to stand up and say things and encourage others to go past themselves – it’s a lot to do with wanting to live in a place that is peaceful and harmonious. We can’t escape, we can’t get out of this place, so that’s where our limitations lie, in the social dimension and communicating. I don’t think we need more research to do things, we just need to apply what we know.”

Entrance to the Manawatu GorgeOne of the most notable initiatives is the Manawatu Gorge Biodiversity Project that Tom was instrumental in getting off the ground. This brought together Crown representatives, three iwi and a number of other important local participants, ranging from local government to community groups, businesses and individuals all working in a collective and equal partnership. This group has led the charge to improve, preserve and highlight Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge, to great success. Visitor numbers to the area are increasing dramatically year on year, with more activities and attractions available, and more organisations getting involved.

“The dream for the place out here was established and agreed pretty easily, pretty quickly. We all appreciated how deeply it could go. It was in my mind that we could all work together without ownership changing, to create an environment that the region and the district could be proud of, and that as individual landowners we might also be better off. The mix of organisations and people out here was very diverse, and as that grew with time it became clear to me that there was no project out here without iwi. Not token iwi, because everyone can see through that, it had to be genuine involvement.

My roots move deep in the town of Shannon, south of Palmerston North, which bears the name of my grandfather’s grandfather

“It did occur to me that at different times we might have said, ‘This is too hard’, but there was no project at all if we couldn’t break through it. So it was persistence – there are a couple of us in the group who are persistent! From the government there was also support, because they had a responsibility and a role too.”

What a view!The persistence has paid off, and the relationships in the group have been strengthened over regular cups of Tom’s favourite ‘gumboot tea’. However, despite the fantastic success that Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge has experiencing so far, Tom is realistic about the challenges and what is necessary to prosper. “I feel very proud of what has been achieved, but like any relationship you can take none of it for granted. Partnership is only as good as the last conversation,” laughs Tom. “I think in the past few years I’ve become an organisational psychologist!

“I’ve listened to many sides of things, and there is this sense that being vulnerable and being yourself are what people are drawn to. It’s also important to protect oneself, to keep oneself safe, and that’s what I am learning now. To be in that place and stand and call others up, it really has to be a blank page. No clever tricks. ‘No shit, no kidding’, as someone once said to me. I am learning to do that myself, and that’s part of the personal journey.”

Kelly Evens

Behind the Medals

She’s the manager behind the medalists, five of the international competing athletes whom we are proud to call our own. Representing sporting superstars Sarah Goss, Kayla Whitelock, Simon van Velthooven, Sarah Cowley, Emily Collins, George Whitelock and Aaron Gate, Kelly Evans, creator of The Athlete Project Agency, is playing to win.

Medals 1Kelly accompanied four of her athletes as they competed at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Her team brought home a collection of silver and bronze medals and top ten placings. Experiencing the games in person, with hundreds of thousands of other spectators, was a “completely unimaginable” experience.

“It was the first Games I’d been to, and compared with watching it on TV it just does not match the excitement and the nerves. I sat with the family of each athlete when they competed. You’ve got nerves for them, because there’s been all this training and building up to these moments, and it comes down to sixty seconds, or an hour’s game,” says Kelly.

The people of Scotland were a standout and ensured that the Games were about more than just the competition itself. “Glasgow put on a magnificent show, everyone comments on that as you arrive. They are just so friendly and lovely and the whole country really got in behind the event. Sitting in the different stadiums and venues there would be Scottish families with their kids there and you could really feel the home crowd, but when their people weren’t racing they would cheer on your country next to you. There was just such a great atmosphere.”

It comes down to the people – it’s rewarding

For Kelly, sport has been a lifelong passion, and the work she does she considers the job of a lifetime. Nurtured from a young age, “I’d grown up in a sporting family, it’s always been around me,” she explains. Armed with a sport and exercise degree from Massey University and more than a decade’s experience in the sport management industry, creating The Athlete Project Agency in 2012 was a natural career choice.

Commonwealth Games Glasgow“I’ve always wanted to work in this capacity. I enjoy being behind the scenes and supporting them. I started contemplating going out on my own and starting the business, and ironically it was through the promotion of the BCC’s Innovate programme and seeing the other businesses go through that that made me take a risk and start it.”

While the business has taken off to a roaring success, the work does come with its own challenges. “With the way I run the service for my clients it really is 24/7. You can have athletes in New Zealand, in Norway, in Japan and everyone is in different time zones. If it is an important time for athletes, your timing has to change.”

It was the first Games I’d been to, and compared with watching it on TV it just does not match the excitement and the nerves

Even with the fantastic Glasgow results, Kelly is already encouraging her troupe to focus on the future, with the 2016 Rio Olympics at the forefront of every athlete’s mind. “This year is a really important year for them; they need to get good results in order to be selected to go to Rio next year. A lot of people think Rio is the big pinnacle year, but in 2015 they have a lot of work to do to ensure their position is cemented.”

Medals 2While her athletes are at the peak of their careers currently, Kelly is also there to ensure that their future is positive once they have moved on from competing. “Life after sport is a big one. In the last five to ten years their life as an elite athlete is finite. We work with them, even when they are emerging at sixteen and seventeen, to get them to focus on a life after sport.”

Even though it is a life of managing high stakes, intense pressure and time zone jumping, Kelly wouldn’t have it any other way. “We joke and call it the AP family actually; we all support one another. It comes down to the people –
it’s rewarding.”

Super Dog

Raining Cats and Dogs

Cats are well known for their attraction to cardboard boxes, but who’s ever heard of cats and rabbits in cardboard planes?

Rain, rain, go awayAnimal photographer Catherine Holmes has a knack for capturing the characters of pets. The UCOL graduate has photographed a myriad of creatures including ambitious chihuahuas selling lemonade, rushed ragdolls in pint-sized cars, and spooky ginger kitties dressed up for Halloween. “Every animal I photograph has its own distinct personality and it’s really fun to try capturing that.

“There’s this spontaneity about animal photography,” Catherine explains. “You get this really amazing photo you didn’t expect because the animal has done something exciting or looked at you in a certain way. Rather than take flat, boring portraits I’ll see that a dog likes to jump, like one I photographed the other day; he literally wouldn’t sit still, jumping the whole time. So we gave him a cape. Now he’s Super Dog and he’s flying!

My cat performed but she’s a bit over it now

“Animals lend themselves so well to emotional interpretation. A cat only has to look into the distance and you can create feelings of sadness or dreaminess.”

Hare ForceThe English ex-pat has used her artistic prowess for good in the past, creating images of animals from Palmerston North and Manawatu rescue centres, which have helped to show them off for adoption. “That’s been really good because I’ve had the opportunity to try out ideas without the pressure from clients, and the animals get exposure for re-homing.”

Catherine’s two cats, Pagan and Pinto, have also been subjected to the photographer’s visions. “I put Pagan in a cardboard aeroplane,” she says. “She only wanted to sit in boxes and I thought, how can I take this further? So I built the box into an aeroplane. I photographed it in the air so it looked like it was above ground, and then I decided to build a cardboard town underneath it,” Catherine laughs. “My cat performed but she’s a bit over it now.”

Animals lend themselves so well to emotional interpretation

It’s hard work getting unruly cuties to pose for pictures, but Catherine has built up a repertoire of tricks to make her subjects behave. “I may have graduated with a photography degree, but working with animals is this whole other skill you only learn by doing. I’ve amassed an array of fluffy toys and things that make specific noises, encouraging dogs’ ears to fly up or cats to turn around. Sometimes you have to be willing to sit on the floor with a handful of cat biscuits, waiting until your model crawls out from under the couch.”

Leonard and DelilahCatherine is currently working on a book to adorn the coffee tables of fellow pet lovers, and she has dreams of her work meeting a wider audience through greeting cards, calendars and even photography exhibitions. Her online store sells various items such as prints, pillows and bags and has proven popular beyond the local community. “There have been people from America buying my work! It’s pretty universal what I do. Everybody likes to see cute animals doing things.”

Aaron and Heather

Their Kitchen Rules

“When My Kitchen Rules came up our parents said, ‘If you don’t apply this time we are giving up on you’,” Aaron remembers.

Aaron at workThe popular Pacific duo Aaron and Heather Freeman, the ‘Polynesian Cooks’, made it to the final of the show last year, nearly taking out the competition.

Even before what the pair describe as the whirlwind that was My Kitchen Rules, cooking exceptional food had been in their blood. More so for Aaron, who had always dreamed of cooking competitively.

“Heather was always a consideration as a partner for the show, but I didn’t want to leave both of our kids at home without Mum and Dad. I initially applied with a friend because I thought a boy duo team would be refreshing, but he had been a chef for fifteen years previously so was ineligible.

“I got a call from the My Kitchen Rules team saying that they really liked my story and wanted me on the show, so I had seventy-two hours to find a replacement, which isn’t usually done. It was a stressful three days but it came back to Heather.”

InspirationWith no luck in finding a replacement, Heather recalls slamming her car door and saying, “FINE, I’LL DO IT!”.

When filming came around, the two struggled with being away from home for long periods of time. “The cameras on us and the cooking was fine, it was easy. The hardest thing ever was being away from our kids. The reality was we started in June last year and it went through to October.”

Things got off to a rocky start for the team. “I struggled with the competition. I couldn’t understand the concept; that it wasn’t a cooking show, it was more a reality TV show, because I just wanted to cook,” Aaron remembers.

Heather agrees that behind the scenes was not what you would expect. “Your success hinged on whether you were dramatic or whether you had a big personality. So we learnt quite a lot along the way in order to preserve our longevity throughout the competition. I think the hardest thing for us was getting the judges to understand us.”

If it weren’t for people interrupting us on the street today, saying how much they enjoyed us, we would just be in the corner and it would have been all for nothing.

This misunderstanding was resolved dramatically in the semi-finals, where Aaron and Heather had the chance to channel their Pacific Islander heritage in their food. “It was the first time we actually got to prepare Pacific cuisine, which I had been busting to do,” Aaron remembers. “It was quite refreshing because we were finally able to express ourselves. To get such great feedback from the guest judges in that semi-final still makes me wake up and smile about it today.”

Heather agrees. “It was the first point in the competition where we had got that validation, we belonged where we were and had a chance at taking out the competition.”

But much of this validation came from the fans and viewers from across the country who supported the duo from day one. “People would always comment on how nice we were. We thought New Zealand was going to hate us, but it was edited so well and what you saw on the show was just us, we didn’t manufacture anything.

Aaron and Heather“If it weren’t for people interrupting us on the street today, saying how much they enjoyed us, we would just be in the corner and it would have been for nothing.”

The final of My Kitchen Rules, which aired in October 2014, was a bittersweet pill for both Aaron and Heather to swallow. “I’m still hurt, it hurts that we didn’t win. The final would have been the perfect ending for us because it was so hard to break through to the judges, to show them who we were and the food we wanted to cook.

“What was made tougher was the fact that they filmed a double ending where we either lost by two points or won by one point. So we had to find out with the rest of New Zealand. For six weeks we didn’t know, and the day after we got home we were just meant to deal with it all.

“I’m gutted we lost because I am a competitive person, but it just came down to reality TV time pressure at the end of the day,” Aaron believes.

When My Kitchen Rules came up our parents said, ‘If you don’t apply this time we are giving up on you’

Both Aaron and Heather have never lost sight of what matters most, however. “We have always had a respect for the competition,” says Aaron. “We didn’t lose in a way because we never lost the support. It is almost a blessing in disguise because all I really ever wanted was the title of winning My Kitchen Rules. I didn’t care about the grand prize because if we had won we would have been contractually bound. Since the final ended it has made me so focused because we have won everything that the winners won, the rest of the prize was just stuff.”

The finished masterpieceToday, Aaron and Heather have exciting new things in motion. Launching their new Pacific cuisine brand, Tatou, for catering and functions is one of their sources of pride. “I always saw having a brand in the future and it fitted the approach that we have to food because it means ‘us’, quite literally.”
Most importantly, their two children are still big fans of their parents’ food. “They are two of our harshest food critics. A lot of people used to comment on us when we received harsh feedback: ‘Why do you just look at the judges like it doesn’t even faze you?’. We’ve heard worse mate, we live with a two-year-old who is very honest,” they laugh.

The future is bright for the duo, who are planning to build their brand even further. “I believe in the people in Manawatu, otherwise I wouldn’t still be living here. Those who spend their hard-earned money deserve to be fed well, so I want to raise that standard and showcase what New Zealand and Pacific food can be.

“The whole thing has just consumed our lives, but that’s our choice. It’s an exciting time, putting ourselves in a position where we aren’t just doing nine to five.”

It's all about the bass

Well and Truly Made

“The name came from a Levis t-shirt that said ‘Truly made in the USA’. It was at the moment of ‘this band needs a name’”.

Two years ago and one song writing project later, seven musicians came together to form what we now know as the original band Truly Made.

DeanSince then the band have performed, recorded and written their way to success. “Being part of such a small music scene you just get to know people and make connections with them. We just asked people if they wanted to have a jam around a few songs.”

It all clicked for Jon Bowen, Dale Brider, Brandon Lauridsen, Hayden Lauridsen, Graeme Parker, Dean Parkinson and Matt Soong, the current band mates.

If the band ended tomorrow it’s been a really great band to be in

“The different people add something unique to the band. New singers and new instruments over the years have completely changed the sound of the band,” Jon believes.

As a result, the group don’t see themselves performing under one genre. “Soul, funk, ska, the band doesn’t fit into one style. We have a reggae feel but it’s not reggae and a bit of ska but it’s not ska. All sorts of bands influence what we sound like.”

The bandAs one of the main songwriters of the group, Jon focuses passionately on lyrics and music. “I start with a thought, which usually begins with an experience or something that I read just walking around town. What goes in usually comes out, so I start with a single phrase or a melody. But you can’t force creativity, songs are probably five per cent inspiration ninety-five per cent perspiration.”

Part of their success over the past two years is a result of the members’ musical backgrounds and passion. “I’ve been playing in bands since I was fourteen, so music was a natural thing to me no matter where I was,” Hayden remembers.

2014 was a particularly successful year for the band after releasing their debut extended play, ‘For the Summer’.

Hayden“The intention has always been to get our songs into a format, so when things started to evolve we thought we would get something committed in the studio. Then the money we made from gigs went into a recording fund.”

“We have had great feedback. Although people say we could have done things differently, we are all at different stages of life and shifting units is not our thing. It is about being creative with music and finding a space where we can happily continue being a band,” Jon believes.

Being part of such a small music scene you just get to know people and make connections with them

Playing local gigs is important for the septet. “2014 started really well for us, we played New Year’s Eve in The Square, which was great because the songs went down really well. It is encouraging when you get good feedback because a lot more people know about us now and we have got a fan base, rather than just Mum and Dad,” they joke.

“We try to perform every four to six weeks and that’s enough, because it means even though we play locally people still come and see us. It’s not busy, which is great because we can sustain our own interest.”

JonAside from world domination, the group want to see Truly Made keep going and evolving. “For musicians it is hard to go beyond what we are doing. We are passionate about being creative, which is the point of the band. Whatever we have created in Truly Made no one has ever done before, which is the amazing thing about music; it is always new. Music as art is amazing because you can never have it the same way twice.

“Music is a funny thing, you look at it like life. There are all sorts of twists and turns. If the band ended tomorrow it’s been a really great band to be in.”

Michael Bradley

The Chemistry of Creativity

Amy FowlerStory and photos by Amy Fowler.

I had previously only ever experienced any sort of dark-room photography a couple of times, with the world now having moved firmly into the digital realm. The first time was at school, when we spent a couple of days in a dark room processing photographs we had taken in and around the school. At the time I never thought I was going to go into training to be a professional photographer. This initial experience received no more respect for the art than a dismissive grunt before I moved on to other things.

_43A6362In April this year I got to spend a couple of days with photographer Michael Bradley as part of my prize for winning the Canon Eyecon competition.

The competition involved sending in a set of three images, which work together as a series to tell a story. The prize pack included Canon Dollars, real Dollars, a big printer, but most importantly, mentoring sessions with the Eyecon judges Michael Bradley, Aaron K and Danelle Bohane.

The sense of relief and excitement at the resulting image, after it came out of the darkroom, was immense.

A few weeks after posting off my images, I got a call one lunchtime from the Canon Eyecon judging team, informing me I had won the competition. I was absolutely blown away, in tears, and shaking with excitement.

When I spoke to Michael Bradley ahead of mentoring session with him, we discussed my portfolio and wondered what would make for a good day. Michael _43A6382made his name as a sports photographer; we joked about how a day at the cricket possibly wasn’t my cup of tea. I must admit, I can’t even watch a minute of it on television, let alone a whole day! Prior to the call I was absolutely fascinated with haunting portraits on his website that he had taken using a technique called wet plate photography. The conversation inevitably led onto what wet plate photography was and we decided to go ahead and plan for a day doing just that.

First off he decided to make a portrait of me. So we set up the lighting, and I got into place. With a digital camera, we could have snapped the image then and there, then get on with the rest of the day. But with this process, there is a lot to consider. It’s expensive. Every time you take a photograph you use a raft of different chemicals to produce the image. So getting it perfect off the bat is essential. So I sat down and he focused the camera. We had to fashion a makeshift headrest to keep my head very still. The slightest movement results in the image being completely out of focus. He poured collodion (a mix of ether and alcohol once used as _43A6416wartime field dressings) onto a sheet of glass, bathed it in silver nitrate to make the plate light sensitive, before popping the glass into the back of the camera. After refocusing, the back cover of the camera was pulled up, the lens cap came off, the lights popped, the plate came out, and it was ready for developing (using a range of chemicals including alcohol and mosskiller) and fixing. When the plate came out the dark room from having it’s developer bath, the image was there like magic. The intricate detail is incredible. The plate went into the fixer for the final part of the process and my portrait was complete

Prior to the call I was absolutely fascinated with haunting portraits on his website that he had taken using a technique called wet plate photography.

Next it was my turn to photograph Michael. I was extremely nervous. I didn’t want to bugger up the process and come away with no image recorded, or worse still, break one of the plates. We had a practice run with some old collodion on the first plate before moving on to my first real go at wet plate photography. I carefully repeated all of the steps that Michael had showed me. The sense of relief and excitement at the resulting image, after it img146came out of the darkroom, was immense. The day with Michael really inspired me to delve even more deeply into the fine art that is photography.

I’m indebted to UCOL in Palmerston North, where I trained in photography. During my time as a student I was fortunate to win the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography Iris Awards title of Student Photographer of the Year two years in a row, in 2013 and 2014.

An eye on sheep's milk

Milk of the Future

With 30 million sheep across the country, why is it that New Zealanders find the idea of milking them bizarre?

Craig PritchardMassey lecturer Craig Prichard is on a mission to promote sheep dairy as a viable form of agribusiness in New Zealand. “People from eastern and southern Europe take this as normal. I think that if New Zealand had been settled by southern Europeans rather than northern Europeans we would have had a sheep dairy industry from the beginning.”

Recently the concept of milking sheep has caught the attention of large agribusiness company, Landcorp. The state-owned enterprise purchased 2,500 East Friesian sheep last year for trial milking. It has also engaged Massey’s Riddet Institute in experimenting with sheep’s milk products such as butter and ice cream and is in discussion with FoodHQ, a collective of New Zealand’s foremost food science organisations. “We’re a lot more experimental in what we’re eating,” believes Craig, “therefore we can be more experimental with what we can potentially sell to people.”

There are a lot of lifestyle blocks on the fringes of New Zealand cities. I’d like to see us make better use of that land

Craig belongs to a group of Massey researchers called Ewe Can Dairy who support the New Zealand sheep dairy industry. In February the team ran the Ewe Milk Products and Sheep Dairying Conference. “It’s part of trying to think through issues around alternative dairy industries,” explains Craig.

Sheep milkingCraig isn’t just watching the industry’s development from the sidelines. “I milk sheep myself in a very rustic, low-budget, low-impact way,” he says.

“It’s important to understand the business at grassroots level. There’s a lot of knowledge that comes from day-to-day milking and getting involved with the sheep.”

Craig’s lifestyle block exemplifies an alternative business model for New Zealand dairy practices. “There are a lot of lifestyle blocks on the fringes of New Zealand cities. They mow them and might have a few raggedy old sheep.

We’re a lot more experimental in what we’re eating

I’d like to see us make better use of that land.” He proposes that a sheep dairy business could involve a number of small holders getting together with small flocks, which could be milked collectively.

“The challenge is to find business models that connect people to the industries. Maybe some aspects of fair and equitable trade might find their way into this kind of business. There are lots of things you can do on a small scale by connecting people to the products they consume.”

Free range sheep...As for the taste of sheep’s milk – “It was the biggest challenge to get my twelve-year-old son to eat some sheep’s milk products,” says Craig. “It’s that little reaction where people go, ‘I’m not really sure about that’. We need to attach meanings to sheep’s milk products that are positive for the industry.” Sheep’s milk has a similar flavour to cow’s milk, only much richer. With the increase in dairy product varieties in supermarkets, sheep’s milk could easily make the shelves.