Butterflies of the stomach variety are, for me at this grand age, often missing in fl ight.

I don’t count the days to my birthday, but I do love vicariously watching other butterfl ies dance as the grandies mark the calendar til Christmas or wonder at the tooth fairy’s ability to collect teeth. She’s been getting far too many of mine lately and doesn’t bother to pay; so personally, if the choice were mine, I’d give her a miss.

I’m in Christchurch for four hours to look at a food caravan. I am a little puzzled at the churning stomach, and in fact there could be some who are just puzzling at the idea of a food caravan full stop. And I say good point, well pondered.

The offi cial version is that we have a venue called RUMPY where we hold musical events and this becomes our commercial kitchen; but the butterfl y version is that I make giant meringues. It’s the only thing I have left. I used to do a fi ne date loaf and no one could beat my pumpkin muffi ns, but now it’s just giant meringues. Poor souls who venture for a night out at RUMPY are cajoled, some might say forced, to partake of the giant free-range, creamed, passionfruit-dripping towers of heart-stopping badness.

So yes, the world will be told that this is a sensible buy to support our musical endeavours, but only I can see the picture of me chug chugging around the motu, my own little slightly batty travelling circus, selling meringues to the masses. The inner sensible ‘make something healthy’ voice will be ignored a little while longer and I will enjoy my egg- white fantasy for a few more days yet.

The problem with my Christchurch dash was that it clashed with Pukehou’s kapahaka performance at the magnifi cent CHB Municipal Theatre, so I went to dress rehearsal instead. The hall was empty but for the senior school, including three of my mokopuna, ngā kaiako and me. Waiata and haka swelled the room, piupiu swished, poi beat a rhythmic air and boys’ chests reddened as the power of the haka hit their goosebump mark. Passion and grace. Discipline and respect.

Sitting on that school bench, just me by myself, I felt an overwhelming desire to cry. It caught me by surprise. These children, these beautiful children. Together Maori and Pakeha alike. Friends. For a moment in time a world without divide or prejudice. As it should be; as it could be.

Te Reo is such a beautiful language and has the power to bind us as a nation. I love hearing it drift more and more into everyday language. I look at my stunning grandchildren and wish for them a world where they are not judged by the colour of their skin but rather by the size of their hearts. This generation will be the fl ag bearers.

Some years ago, before she met her Danny, our Kate returned home, escaping a diffi cult relationship. EIT were off ering a free year-long Taha Maori course. Three days would see the opening so there was little chance of application acceptance, but they did accept her. Bless them forever. They took my girl, wrapped their arms around her and loved her happy again. One year fully immersed into this beautiful culture, respectful of land, soul and song, gave Kate her voice. Literally and fi guratively. Walking together. Not a bad recipe.

Enough musing, time to get into my glasshouse. Last year I collected seeds and now we have seedlings everywhere. It is so exciting. Great eruptions of giant sunfl owers, row upon row of capsicum, tomatoes and basil. I may have overdone the celery. Gooseberries, melons, garlic, brassicas, carrots, the list goes on. We can’t give seedlings away fast enough.

How many organic vegetables do you think it would take to cancel the eff ect of one giant cream-covered, passionfruit-dribbled meringue? A cabbage and three carrots should do it. I could be in business.

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