Our festival has been postponed to 2021 and we are all self isolating in our bubbles. I would like to introduce you to some of the team and find out how they are occupying themselves while in lockdown...and without a festival.
As festival co-ordinator I have found myself for the first time in five years able to enjoy an autumn on our property at Portobello (usually I'm real busy promoting the festival).
I am in my bubble with my husband Peter and our son Francis (who got out of Australia just in time). I realise I am really fortunate to have space and plenty to occupy my days with 50 acres of regenerating forest and food producing plants.
Neil Harraway is our festival convenor (he was the one who came up with the idea of a festival in the first place) and also represents one of the festival partners, Monarch Wildlife Cruises.
"Lucky I have a big garden to plant and weed and prune and landscape and rake ... and enjoy! So good to immerse in it, breathe it, watch its autumn changes and be kept company by the busy fantails (Pīwakawaka)."
Suzanne Middleton is our publicist writing many of the stories in this publication, and is a terrific organiser. This year was to be her third Wild Dunedin festival.
"I’m loving autumn in isolation. I stockpiled seaweed and stable manure to make industrial quantities of compost, plus various vegetable seeds. I’ve set up a bed for seedlings under Mikroclima, and planted snow peas in the glasshouse. Korimako, Pīwakawaka, Tūī, Tauhou and Riroriro have returned to my garden and the bottlebrush is covered in bees. My big question is whether the tamarillos on the deck will ripen."
Phil Bishop is our only professor on the committee representing our festival partner the University of Otago. He contributes great ideas, a lot of knowledge and humour to our meetings. As a Professor of Zoology, Phil is one of the lucky ones who is ‘working from home’, teaching and running his research lab of post-grad students using Zoom. Phil now organises our committee meetings through Zoom.
“I originally had some leave booked over this time to show some overseas friends around Central Otago, but now I’m using my leave to install a greenhouse that I bought, which has been sitting in several large boxes in my garage for over a year! Luckily we can still keep up the training of the conservation frog-dog at home and we have turned our downstairs rumpus room into a frog-training area. Exercising the dog takes me outside, on local walks, and away from my home beer-brewing equipment which is working overtime!” Phil Bishop
Laura Morrison is our newest member of the team. She brings to the committee youthful energy and good insight into family life with sons Charlie and Josh.
Laura is passionate about promoting resilience by growing your own food and is keen to investigate the health benefits of plants.
"Apart from quality time with movies, games, craft projects and lots and lots of home cooking/baking, we’ve enjoyed exploring our immediate neighbourhood in Corstorphine. On our daily walks we go exploring to find very climbable trees, blackberries and elderberries to collect, unusual bugs, we call the native birds just how we learnt it at Orokonui, and we find lots of wild bears and other critters in people’s windows staying home safe!" Laura Morrison
Norcombe Barker is the rudder that keeps us all on course as Chair of our meetings. He keeps calm, comes up with solutions and has been involved with Wild Dunedin as long as it was an idea. Norcombe also represents our festival partner Larnach Castle.
"I am using the time in isolation to catch up on the jobs around the property, such as gorse cutting. 20 years ago it was a 2 hectare gorse paddock, now it is full of native trees. The birds are now returning and the their songs are wonderful to hear." Norcombe Barker
Katrina Thompson is a Community Ranger and represents our festival partner, the Department of Conservation, on our committee. Kat was assigned to Wild Dunedin just before the 2019 festival and has quickly become an integral part of the team . She is keen to introduce more Te Reo and Kiwi Guardian activities into the festival programme..
"Covid-19 isolation has helped me reconnect with whenua and whānau in ways I never could have predicted. I am surrounded by native wildlife, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, a few of my favourite people, and more and more piles of compost! I spend my days juggling DOC work, farm work, and spending time with my loved ones. Arohanui e te whānau Wild Dunedin, he waka eke noa." Katrina Thompson
Rachel Cooper represents our festival partner the Otago Museum. You know the saying "Ask a busy person, and you'll get it done"...well Rachel is that person. She has a busy job yet finds time to make a huge contribution to the success of our festival.
"Working from home over the past few weeks has made me extra grateful for my garden. It’s certainly no work of art and most days seems more of a jungle, but I’ve found that escaping into it with a cup of tea every couple of hours has been just what I needed." Rachel Cooper
Nicki Tonkin helps us out in accounting services and keeps us all on track financially. Nothing is too much trouble for her and her sensible suggestions we all appreciate. We are so lucky to have her onboard.
This isolation period has allowed me to take a step back and realise how lucky I am to have family, friends and work colleagues supporting me. Working from home has been fantastic, I can enjoy a cup of tea on my balcony when it’s sunny. It is business as usual for us accountants which is keeping us busy during these times.
It's thanks to Kerry Buchan that the first festival happened in 2016 through her experience in event management. We have given her the title 'Mother of Wild Dunedin'. Kerry brings laughter, ideas and energy into our meetings and makes everyone in the team feel good about their contribution.
"Feeling very blessed to be spending my life ‘in a bubble' in Central with some of my beautiful whānau. Although missing the others and my daily fix of the sea from my window at home. Due to a variety of reasons we decided to the stay put and enjoy the colours and skies and bounty of Clyde. Along with connecting with Mother Nature we are all very busy connecting with our work places, our amazing family, friends and work colleagues." Kerry Buchan
Kerry speaks for all the committee in this final message: