In conversation

In conversation

There’s something about community that marries perfectly with womanhood. As women, we’re part of a network that supports one another whether it’s lending a hand to a friend in need or asking a stranger how her day’s going, we’re all unified in something much bigger and greater than ourselves.

Fostering a love for the community we’re lucky to be part of, we hosted a lunch last year with a group of local artisans – all incredible makers and creatives with their own unique stories and likeminded beliefs like us here at Max. Following this get-together, it was clear to us that to support our community we must ensure we continue to reach out and embrace it. Through our time of change, we’ve always said our focus was on people and the planet, with this new year we’re delving even deeper into just that.

Reaching out to local artisan, food writer Eleanor Ozich, we were lucky enough to head out to her home on the west coast for a lunch with a group of inspiring creatives and entrepreneurial businesswomen.

You wouldn’t think that setting a table could be so special but alas, it was. Sitting pretty in a garden surrounded by native New Zealand bush, the table was dressed with flowers by Joanna from My Fathers Florist, vintage plates and napkins courtesy of our textile designer Nellie and cutlery handed down through generations - the table was set.

With lunch about to begin, the saying “many hands make light work” came to life as a number of the group helped Eleanor bring food to the table. Platter after platter, the table began to fill up and our guests took their seats. With a flurry of conversation already well underway, Eleanor began taking us through the menu which included recipes from her highly anticipated new book. At that moment it was clear to everyone that her passion for what was served went well beyond just eating a meal.

As thirty minutes turned to an hour and an hour turned to two, it was a joy to witness our guests exchange stories, give advice and lift one another. A conversation is sparked about resourcefulness and the talented Holly, a freelance photographer, shares how whenever she’s at the Marae it’s important that she spends time with her aunts, listening and learning. She touches on preparing food with them and how food never goes to waste. This conversation quickly turns to how being resourceful in our day to day is becoming less of a priority and the necessity to teach our next generation the importance of it.

As women, we hold a lot of knowledge and it’s no secret that the sharing of this knowledge is important with history showing that the passing down of lessons and information is vital in the bolstering of culture and tradition. Whether it’s like Holly, learning about resourcefulness from her aunts, or your grandmother's cutlery, we all hold something close that has come down through the generations.

As our lunch ended, each woman at the table helped to carry plates and serving platters back to the kitchen. With no utterance of helping out and pushing up their sleeves, there was Del from Love Winter on washing and our incredible General Manager Rochelle on drying while the remainder of the group continued bringing in platters – a perfect end to a perfect lunch.

With the aim of this time being to delve deeper into the relationships with a group of talented, like-minded women, there wasn’t one person at the table who didn’t have an incredible story to tell and it was a privilege to sit with them and listen.

Throughout women’s history month, we’ll be telling these individual stories over the coming weeks to celebrate each unique woman and the journeys that they’ve been on.

Photography by

Holly Burgess

Words by

Courtenay Lewis

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