Tōku Reo Tōku Ohooho — My language, my awakening

It was February this year that I wrote a wee little blog post that outlined how I felt about my Māori heritage. Little did I know the amazing feedback I would get from Pākehā, Māori who felt like this too and other indigenous people who felt exactly the same. I look back on the past 7 months and it’s been a whirlwind of amazing experiences. I wanted to outline some of the highlights.

1-yxfj7awuakl9xzqf9z92dgLearning the language
I signed up for a Te Reo course at Wellington High School. It was amazing and a great environment to learn in. I had an amazing class with a diverse range of classmates. A few were there to find their heritage as well, others who were embarrassed to say New Zealand Te Reo place names. All with good intentions. Over the course of 8 weeks we learnt really basic sayings.
My Te Reo Māori Intro 1 Certificate :DI have also learnt about Māori customs and traditions. As a bit of a superstitious person it’s been interesting to see that things I hold dear have a concept or Māori word that just explains my exact thinking. Concepts such as utu and mana have really resonated with me.
From my classes a group of Te Reo students have built a Te Reo language coffee group that meets up every Friday at 9.30am. We try to speak as much Māori as we can for the first half an hour and then we talk about Māori traditions, culture and legends for the next half an hour. If you’re interested in joining us then flick me a message and I can get in touch with details.

My Whānau
I wanted to learn more about where I came from. Since February I have done some digging on my Nanny’s father side. An uncle was able to draw out a whakapapa for me and to realise that I’m related to Muaūpoko and understand my connection with Wellington and the land has been insightful. I even found out a great, great, great grandfather signed the Treaty of Waitangi. I even found out a great, great, great grandfather signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

The connectedness of Twitter can be amazing in some situations too. Through one tweet I have managed to find parts of my Whānau which I thought may have been lost. I found out my Nanny’s mother was from Ngati Moe hāpu from the Pāpāwai Marae in Greytown. A few tweets from a friend connected me to someone from that marae. We had a quick coffee chat and then worked out I may be a distant relative to her husband’s whānau. With a few questions and answers via Twitter DM’s we worked out that her husband’s grandfather is my great grandmother’s brother. The amazing thing is my family didn’t even know that my great grandmother’s brother existed! Apparently they grew up separately. I happened to attend an event where both the woman I met through Twitter and her husband were attending. WELL. I got to have a chat to him and he wrote out for me on the back of a piece of paper my tīpuna. I almost burst into tears. The relief of knowing where I came from was something I didn’t quite know that I needed and wanted.

1-_ao-s37f3s5slpv7epwuewTraining and visits
I’m doing my pepeha on Hongoeka Marae. Since February I’ve been on a few Te tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) training through both my own and work related reasons. It has been pretty eye opening for me the learning and understanding of what my culture is. Also the impacts of it and not honouring the treaty has had on multiple generations following the Treaty of Waitangi (and still to come I suspect). Through my family discovery and learning I am a descendant of someone who signed the treaty, I feel like I have a sense to help the voices to call out those not honouring a treaty that our tīpuna signed for a better life for us all.
In one of the training sessions I sat crying as they outlined what the impacts were and how a lot of it was what I was feeling or missing. A sense of longing for something, no connectedness to my whakapapa and a loss of language and traditions.

However I feel like I needed to learn and cry to move on. I have now been on a total of 3 marae in 5 weeks and I’m learning about customs and traditions at each visit. I hope to also be able to visit my whānau marae in the Wairarapa (Pāpāwai & Hurunui-o-Rangi) as well as a whānau marae in Levin (when I work out which one it is).

I now stand taller and stronger understanding who my ancestors are and how that has brought me here today. I will not stop hunting for information and I will make connections with extended whānau I now know exist.

Note this was originally published on Medium in September 2016


Battle of the ‘Long Lasting’ Lippies – Stay All Day vs. Infallible Le Rouge

This post has been a long time coming. Quite a few of you have been asking for additional posts and chasing me up, trust me I haven’t ignored you! I’ve been buying new lipsticks to try out, I’ve just been a bit lazy doing the posting bit! So I have a great backlog of 11 new lipsticks to talk about.

Enough of the excuses, let’s get into it!

The Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

It was a lunchtime make up shop with some colleagues that took us to Mecca Cosmetics. I glanced at their liquid lipstick and noticed their claim of long lasting lip colour with the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick. The thing that caught my attention first was the range of colours they had. I was a big fan of the purple.


Infallible Le Rouge

L’Oreal Infallible Le Rouge

Doing a shop at the supermarket, one of the tasks I hate the most, I came across another set of claims of lipsticks “that lasts all day long”. Well I couldn’t let that go untested could I? The Infallible Le Rouge comes in an interesting range of colours, although the supermarket only stocks a limited range of those colours. I popped one in the shopping basket and went to work testing it out.

So let’s get into the Amber test…

Me wearing Stila in the como


The Stila lipstick is priced at $40. It’s a bit cheaper than MAC

Me wearing the Le Rouge in the Persistent Plum

Lipcolour that I’ve reviewed previously, however is more expensive than other options like the Maybelline SuperStay.

The price of the Infallible Le Rouge lipstick was $24.99, although I note while checking this price, that it was on special in some places for $19.99.


The Stila colour is vibrant and the lipstick is very light

The Stila in the aria colour rubbing off onto my glass

going on with a wand applicator. It is not sticky at all, in fact it has a liquid texture and you will have to wait for it to dry for a few minutes before diving into meals and drinks. The feel is great, it doesn’t dry out my lips at all and sometimes I forget I have lipstick on at all.

The Le Rouge rubbing off on my cup

I was quite surprised at the vibrancy of the colour of the Le Rouge. It went on great, and was easy to apply. The lipstick felt great, although after about 30 – 60 minutes the lipstick feels like it’s drying our my lips a little bit but not majorly.

The Stila in aria colour after a full dinner

Lasting ability

I was very impressed with Stila’s lasting ability. Although I was a little worried when I would notice slight colour rubbing off on glasses. The colour was always flawless whenever I would check. The only minor issue is that sometimes after meals it can start to wear off from the inside part of the lip (as you can see in the right hand photo below with the Stila aria colour).

The Le Rouge lipstick after a full dinner.

Although the Le Rouge did wear off on cups and wore down after meals I was quite impressed that the majority of the lip colour still stayed. You’ll see in the photo that there was some wear but the majority of the lip colour stayed on.


I really do love the Stila range, just the feel and the look of it. Although it is a pricier option compared with the Le Rouge it is still cheaper than some other lip colours on the market. Yet I cannot argue with the fact that L’Oreal Le Rouge, for the price and being a lipstick, actually stayed on through a meal. I think these two are both great options for any type of budget.

Below are a few additional photos of the lipsticks/lipcolours to see what they both look like.

Hot tip!

A tissue after I used the blotting technique

A few of you have contacted me and mentioned that you don’t usually wear make up and you’re not very good at it. It’s ok, you’re not alone. Neither am I! But I might try to share a few tips I’ve picked up along the way.

My tip for this post is blotting, it’s how you remove the excess lipstick that might rub off on clothes, teeth or when you touch your lips.

To blot you will take a tissue, fold it in half and then put it horizontally inside your mouth. You’ll then put your lips together and the excess will come off on the tissue. Repeat a few times and it should remove all the excess. Especially in the corners of your mouth.

Pro tip is if you’re out of tissues or no where near a tissue, you can rip a page out of your notebook and blot on the paper. Makeup experts are probably shrieking in horror right about now but it totally worked.

If you find some lipsticks or lipcolours you love then tag me in so I can see them!

Happy Lippie everyone!

Battle of the ‘Long Lasting’ Lippies – SuperStay vs. Retro Matte

I grew up for most of my late teenage and early twenties hating makeup. Whenever I would put it on, it took me about 10 minutes before I’d rub it all off. I am also a fan of brightly coloured makeup. I remember having an amazing purple lipstick when I was about 13 and putting it on my eyelids to give me vibrant eye shadow colours. Let’s not even start with the fact that it was probably very bad for my eyelid skin.

In the past few years I’ve found some amazing waterproof products that seem to pass the Amber test. What is that you ask? The makeup has to survive me, for a day. Survive me eating, rubbing my face and having multiple coffees. If it can survive me for a day then I would be happy to purchase it and keep it in my stash.

Maybelline SuperStay 14hr – Burst of Coral colour (455)

A few years ago I was doing a supermarket shop and stumbled upon Maybelline SuperStay 14hr lipstick. I thought I’d give it a try and picked out the brightest red lipstick I could find. I was amazed it stayed on for long periods of time and maintained the vibrancy of the colour. For the past year or so I’ve been buying a different colour shade every month during our supermarket shopping to build up my collection.

M.A.C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour – Personal Statement

While walking through Wellington Airport on the way to a flight I saw a new M.A.C makeup store. I went and asked the team if they had any ‘long lasting’ products and they mentioned that in the past few months they’ve brought out a long lasting lipcolour. I thought I’d try it and compare it against the Maybelline SuperStay 14hr Lipsticks I’ve grown fond of.


The Maybelline 14hr SuperStay is a great value at $26.49 per lipstick (at Farmers). The

Maybelline SuperStay 14hr Lipsticks at Farmers

convenience of this lipstick is that they’re available in New World supermarket. My present to myself monthly is to pop a new colour into the shopping basket. 

The M.A.C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour is a bit more expensive at $50.00 and is available at M.A.C stores as well as selected sellers like Farmers.

Me wearing the SuperStay 14hr Burst of Coral

The Maybelline 14 hr SuperStay has a nice, smooth and creamy look. Maybelline describes this brand as ‘weightless’ and ‘high voltage color’.

The M.A.C Retro Matte is definitely a matte look to it. It is not shiny and has a dry look to it (without being dry).


The Maybelline SuperStay 14hr  has not dried out my lips in any time I’ve used it. Once cleaned off with makeup remover it hasn’t left my lips dry. A few select colours have tended to at the end of a full day wear, to turn into dried clumps across the lips.

Me wearing the Retro Matte in Personal Statement

The M.A.C. Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour goes on very thinly. I think the key is to put it on sparingly, unlike what I did which was put heaps on during a flight. Although it did dry, it did take more than a few minutes to dry. The lipcolour felt a little dry during the day but nothing major, not enough for me to reach for a lip balm. Once cleaned off with makeup remover it didn’t leave my lips dry either. The applicator tends to put a huge amount of lipcolour on to start with, so it’s important to wipe off the excess.


SuperStay 14hr Lipstick on Coffee cup

Lasting ability

For the Maybelline 14hr SuperStay it is important to put it on, let it air for a few minutes then dab the lipstick, let it dry again for a few minutes and it should last most of the day. There was some very minor marking on coffee cups. There was minor staining on food I ate during the day.

The M.A.C Retro Matte required you to let the liquid lipcolour air dry for about 5 minutes. Once air dried I dabbed it with tissues to check there was no excess that hadn’t dried. It is also recommended to add a few coats, although for this test I only added one. I have found with the darker colours it’s essential to put at least two coats on. There was some marking on coffee cups but nothing major. There was very minor staining on food that I ate as well.

Retro Matte Lipcolour on Coffee cup


My general thoughts are that the SuperStay 14hr is a great buy and the lasting ability for the price difference is pretty amazing. However, if you are a major fan of the matte look then the lasting effect with the M.A.C Retro Matte is just as good even if it is double the price. For me the colour differences are where I’m pretty interested in overlapping my collection. The M.A.C Retro Matte has some amazing dark red colours, while the Maybelline has great pinks and fuchsia colours.

If you’re on a budget, want a smooth creamy finish or great mix of pinks and fuchsia’s colours then the Maybelline Superstay 14hr is for you.

If you don’t have a budget, want a matte finish and need the dark red/purple colouring than M.A.C Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour is for you. Try it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts.

Ko wai ahau? Who am I?

I am a māori descendant. I am a māori woman who works in IT. But although I feel a sense of pride watching Māori come together to protest the TPPA. I never felt like I was part of the people. I am a fraud, because I don’t believe I am part of the māori people.

The number of te reo words I know can be counted on one hand. The number of times I have entered a marae can be also. Although I am part of a very large māori family, my grandmother had twenty two children, but we did not visit the marae or attend huis with the family due to disagreements. I was never brought up around our maori heritage. My grandmother who was māori, and actually lived with us for a period of time while I was young, had a stroke. As far back as I can remember she struggled to speak. She would get frustrated getting her words out. I guess as well because we only spoke English, that is what she spoke to us when she tried. I had been told that she understood the māori language perfectly and whenever clips came on TV I would see her nodding and smiling or shaking her head furiously at pieces she heard in te reo.

However, I yearned for the culture I felt I didn’t deserve. I wanted to speak te reo, I wanted to be able to give a karanga. Watching a karanga gives me chills. The power and spirituality I feel when listening to them makes me feel like I can connect with my ancestors.

When I step into a marae I feel the sacredness. How amazing it would feel to step inside a marae that was part of your family. To see your ancestors carved into the wood, it must be so powerful. Yet I removed myself from my culture as I felt I was ‘too pale’ or didn’t necessarily know my full tribe details to think that other māori people would respect me. People who I should consider my own people.

It was a small conversation that literally changed my life. I was at a māori meetup at the annual Nethui conference where I had felt like I suddenly understood who I might be. I had sat down the back of the māori meetup, as I had done every year before that. I felt like I didn’t deserve to sit any further forward. I didn’t introduce myself during morning teas because I was terrified I would be called out as a fraud. It was during an afternoon break that I took a chance. I very nervously introduced myself to a māori gentleman who had been in all the sessions. I ended the sentence like I did most conversations talking about māori “I know I don’t look like it but I am part māori on my mother’s side.” The man just smiled and with a simple response started to tear down the feelings of fraud I had felt. “I knew you were māori, you looked like it. We just come in many colours, but we’re all the same.” I don’t know if he knows but this has stayed with me throughout the past year. It seems silly but it’s like he gave me permission to be someone I have always wanted. I sit here thinking about this encounter and my eyes start to water.

I still long for a sense of understanding for my heritage, my ancestors and who they are. But I have started to take steps to learn the culture I have yearned for. To learn te reo. I am the only one that can change the situation.

I would personally like to thank two people who have helped me through this journey. Chris Cormack who is @ranginui on Twitter and Sarah Lee, both of whom have supported me and created a safe place for me to ask questions and build my confidence around who I am as a māori woman. I research my family name and who we are through Wikipedia and other pieces found on the internet. I have also been doing some work to help others in New Zealand understand what the māori culture is and why they should know about it. Although I lost my grandmother when I was younger, I like to think that she would be proud of what I’m doing. I sit and wonder what she would think about all of this? To be honest she would probably think I’m being too serious, would make a funny face and we would burst into laughter together.

An interesting trend that I’ve noticed now that I am open about feeling like a fraud, I have found quite a few similar aged māori descendant friends who also feel this way. This is terrifying. Terrifying because I just need to google māori ancestors and you’ll get a sense that everything they do is for their mokopuna, their descendants. Every māori meetup I go to, it’s always about making a better world for their mokopuna. We shouldn’t stand by and let our feelings of fraud remove us from a culture that our ancestors fought hard for us to maintain and keep. Fought for us to even speak te reo. I feel like it should be an honour and I’ll look to try to use it where I can. I have set myself a challenge. If someone speaks to me in māori I am going to give them the courtesy of writing a reply back in māori. Even if it will take me a while.

So who are you? Will you join me? Will we take back a culture that we totally deserve. Let me give you permission so you don’t have to wait for a conversation with someone at an event. Let us be who our ancestors fought for us to be and more.

Feature image by Wikimedia Commons

Repost: Keeping it fair – a blog post about Adacamp [2012]

Note: This article was originally written March 2012 after attending an Adacamp in Melbourne. This article was originally published on an intranet for the company I worked for at the time. I thought it was interesting that many of these still exist and are just as valid today, therefore I am reposting here with only a few grammar/wording changes.

I was lucky to be invited to a great event named Adacamp, run by the Ada Institution. The newly created institution works to increase the participation of women in open technology and culture through education: raising awareness, writing simple ‘how to’ guides, teaching workshops for both men and women and helping women learn concrete skills.

The Ada Initiative is named after Countess Ada Lovelace, widely acknowledged as the world’s first computer programmer. She is also the world’s first woman open source programmer.

The organisation decided to hold the unconference style event called Adacamp in Melbourne at the start of 2012. It was an invite only event and I was lucky enough to receive an invite. The aim of the event was to bring together like minded woman, interested in issues facing women in open technology and culture, to share their experiences and develop ways to support and promote women in the field. One of the main aims of this event was to offer resources and expertise to help resolve or work to resolve issues women face in the industry.

For those of you who do not know what an unconference style event is, it’s when the participants come up with the agenda. We decide what we want to talk about and we’re all participants in the discussion around the topics.

The great thing about Adacamp was the range of participants. There were over 30 attendees, of which 3 were from the US, 2 from New Zealand and 1 lady from the Philippines. We were all from a wide range of roles, a political activist, journalist, scientist and a few developers.

I gained some great insights; here are a few topics that were real takeaways for me.

Spaghetti/Impostor syndrome

This is a real syndrome and is similar to tall poppy syndrome. Spaghetti or impostor syndrome is where you feel like you’re inadequate to do a job (like an impostor) or even feel guilty for being paid more to do your job. It tends to affect women but men can get it too.

One of the sad things to hear was that some corporations actually knew about this and used it to their advantage when negotiating pay rates while hiring woman. They would purposely start with a 5-10k lower offer for female applicants, knowing that they were unlikely to negotiate up. But one of the ways to combat this and ourselves is to understand what this syndrome is and working towards resolving it.

Another issue with Spaghetti/Impostor syndrome is down playing our successes. Again, knowing that you have this syndrome and being able to sell your success story is a key factor to moving up into new roles. Because of this syndrome people tend not to tell their success story when nominated for awards and achievements. This especially leads to women not being recognised within our industries.

Having a name for the syndrome allows us to take action. Knowing what happens we now know how to make it work.

One of the interesting points out of the discussion is that women are actually our own worst enemy. They’re usually the first to bring other woman down. Try to support others, don’t be jealous or pull others down. There needs to be a change of culture to support everyone. It’s all about education – help share what spaghetti syndrome is, it could help other men and women.

Social Media and Identities

We had a discussion around social media and today a lot of the social media tools are free. But for the cost of freedom you lose your privacy and information. People are more than happy to give up this ‘information’ for having a free product but do they understand the consequences of giving up the ‘information’?

Another topic we touched on is being open and honest on social media and the costs of that. Some people have been prosecuted by their employees on what they say or do on Social Media. But what if everyone is totally open and honest, is there anything they can use to get someone with? Or do the companies go after everyone?

There needs to be more education around social media for children, youth and for parents. For parents, just getting on and playing is the most educational. It will either teach your children to set their privacy controls or you’ll see stuff that you can address with them.

But the biggest question overall is where will data go in 18 years time? If Facebook is sold who gets your data?

How to get more women into Technology, IT & ICT?

We had a great discussion on how to get more women involved in technology. Some of the statistics show that less women are going through a technical degree at college. Going around the room we all found out that our passion for technology for the majority of us started when we were at primary school age. Therefore companies targeting women at universities is too late. We need to be helping teachers teach technology to younger girls to ignite their passion earlier. Not to mention career conferences are vital to show the great side of technology. It’s a perception that it’s full of geeks and is boring.

We discussed many more subjects such as the philosophies behind communities, what fandom is and how valuing fandom values women’s work and preventing volunteer burnout.

It was a great event that I was very lucky enough to attend. I appreciate being in the room with other inspirational women from around the world. 

The Ada Initiative closed in October 2015.

Battle of the brewers – Part 2

Continuing on from my original post here.

The event was Battle of the Brewers (BotB) Portland vs. Wellington. The event is described as:

Portland comes out punching with Pelican Brewing Company​, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub​ and Breakside Brewery​. Wellington fights back with Garage Project​, North End Brewing​ and Kereru Brewing Company​. Four courses supremely prepared by Shaun Clouston, a beer match each from Portland and Wellington.

Only one city can reign supreme. You decide who did it best.

The brewers from the Wellington and Portland breweries will be at this event to talk through their beers, and fight their corner. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the US’ best exports and Wellington’s brewing elite.

With a five course meal prepared by Logan Brown’s chef Shaun Clouston and beers to match from Portland and Wellington, it’s safe to say that those attending were all winners.

IMG_20150812_133635 (1)
Second Course

The second course was:

Beechwood Honey Roasted Duck, Pheasant Sausage, Turnip & Nashi

Can I just mention how amazing the meal was? The different textures with savoury and sweet flavours was delicious.

The second course meal was served with the beers North End Brewing Amber Ale & Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale. Both beers were amazing, however I now have a new favourite beer. The Kiwanda is amazing and I’m now trying to hunt some down in New Zealand to stock in my fridge at home.

A run down of the brews is below for those that have not had a chance to taste them before. The Amber Ale is described as:

Aromas of marmalade and grapefruit combine with caramel and a hint of chocolate, in the mouth the beer is rounded with a firm biscuit malt character with hints of toffee, caramel and chocolate balanced by a lightly resinous citrus hop character leading to a rounded dry finish.

  • Style: New World Session Ale
  • Alcohol: 4.4%
  • Brewed with: NZ Mild Ale Malt, Special W, Crystal Malt, Hops: Pacifica , NZ Cascade, NZ Styrians – and London ESB Yeast

The Kiwanda is described as:

IMG_20150812_132330 (1)
Second Course Beer contenders – Amber Ale on the left, Kiwanda on the right

Inspired by one of America’s traditional 19th century beer styles, Kiwanda Cream Ale is pale gold with a fruity, floral hop aroma. A sweet malty flavor and a smooth snappy finish round out this tasty, refreshing brew!

  • Style: Cream Ale
  • Alcohol: 5.4%
  • Brewed with: Two-Row malt, Flaked barley, Mt. Hood hops, CaraPils malt, pure ale yeast

As I mentioned – I thought both beers were amazing. Matched with food the Kiwanda just did it for me and a new favourite.

The room mostly agreed with me with Pelican Brewery taking the win for this course. It was close, but they scraped in.

The third course of the lunch was:

Grilled Octopus, Crisp Pork, Kim Chi, Black Garlic & Daikon

Third course

Again, an amazing meal by Logan Brown (do they ever make a bad meal?). I love Kim Chi especially so thoroughly enjoyed this dish.

The third course was served with Keruru Resonator IPA & Barley Browns Pallet Jack IPA. The brewer of Keruru mentioned that Resonator is their hoppiest beer as they don’t usually have massively hoppy beers.

A run down of the brews is below for those that have not had a chance to taste them before. The Resonator IPA is described as:

Resonator IPA is a pale golden India Pale Ale that showcases Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops, with notes of aromatic resin & passion fruit.

This special edition beer was made for the 2015 West Coast IPA Challenge.

  • Style: IPA
  • Alcohol: 6.5%
IMG_20150812_142317 (1)
Third course contenders – Resonator IPA on the left, Pallet Jack IPA on the right.

The Pallet Jack IPA is described as (from Untappd):

2013 GABF GOLD Medal, 2013 Brewing News National IPA Champion! 2012 GABF Silver Medal winner.
The awesome blend of Columbus, Citra, Amarillo, and Simcoe Hops bombard this IPA with flavors of citrus, tropical fruit, and a little bit of pine. The light malt flavor comes from 2-row barley and a touch of crystal malt.

  • Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Alcohol: 7.2%

Well this was a super close match. Both beers were solid but very similar tasting, with slight differences. I think Resonator just scrapped through with the food matching.

The voting on this was very, very close. Our MC Delaney Mes had a hard time working out who did won, but Keruru scraped through.

Phew, this blog post is taking longer than I thought. Will pop fourth and fifth course on another post in the near future.

Battle of the brewers and the winner is me!

I had the pleasure of attending one of the Road to Beervana events last week. I found out about it when a friend was tweeting about it asking if anyone wanted to go. The event was Battle of the Brewers (BotB) Portland vs. Wellington. The event is described as:

Portland comes out punching with Pelican Brewing Company​, Barley Brown’s Brew Pub​ and Breakside Brewery​. Wellington fights back with Garage Project​, North End Brewing​ and Kereru Brewing Company​. Four courses supremely prepared by Shaun Clouston, a beer match each from Portland and Wellington.

Only one city can reign supreme. You decide who did it best.

The brewers from the Wellington and Portland breweries will be at this event to talk through their beers, and fight their corner. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up-close and personal with some of the US’ best exports and Wellington’s brewing elite.

With a five course meal prepared by Logan Brown’s chef Shaun Clouston and beers to match from Portland and Wellington, it’s safe to say that those attending were all winners. 

First course

The event was hosted by New Zealand food writer and personality, Delaney Mes. Delaney did a great job of being short and to the point while being friendly and inviting. Before each meal we had a talk from Shaun about the meal his team had prepared. Then a word from each brewer about their beers before being served the first course.

My friend and I were seated at a table with four other strangers but it was a great time and everyone was super friendly. We were joking and laughing away throughout the event.

The first course was:

Ōra King Salmon “Char-tar”, Salmon Biltong, Scampi Popcorn, Wasabi & Yuzu

This was served with two beers. A Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi and a Breakside Oui, Chef.

A run down of the brews is below for those that have not had a chance to taste them before. The Wabi Sabi is described as:

The concept of Wabi-Sabi is hard to define. It is natural simplicity – flawed beauty – the way imperfection can make an object more compelling. Sourness produced by lactic bacteria in beer is normally considered a flaw. This beer is naturally soured and its sharp, tart character complimented with Honeydew melon and the juice and rind of fresh Yuzu. nothing is perfect – but sometimes imperfection can be beautiful.

  • Style: Frust & Spice
  • Alcohol: 7.7%
  • Brewed with: Yuzu and Honeydew melon

The Oui, Chef is described as:

Oui, Chef is a straw-coloured Farmhouse ale brewed with European spelt and two types of fennel. We use both fennel seed and fennel pollen at different points in the brewing process to layer in the complex savoury and herbal notes from the spice. Originally brewed as part of our Chef collaboration series in 2012, this beer was designed by our brewers and Chef Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon Restaurant in Portland.

  • Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
  • Alcohol: 6.9%,
  • Brewed with: Malts – German Pilsner and Spelt, Crystal 15L & cascade hops with special ingredients fennel seed and fennel pollen
Left: Wabi Sabi; Right: Oui, Chef

Our tables initial views was that the Oui, Chef was our preferred choice. However, once we were served our food, our minds changed quickly. The Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi beer was matched amazingly to the food. Our table did agree though that the Oui, Chef was a better match to the Scampi popcorn but the meal overall was better matched to Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi.

After every course there was a quick show of hands to determine which beer was the winner. In most cases the vote was close, but for first course Garage Project’s Wabi Sabi was the winner!

Stay tuned for my run down on the next course details and my thoughts on it.




An excerpt from my writing notebook No. 1

I thought I’d share some work from my writing notebook.

The figures walked through the darkness, into the gentle wind, their long black cloaks hiding their identities. The tall figure dug a large wooden staff into the ground to assist him as he walked, a slight limp in his right leg. He moved to the cliff edge with a shuffle. Drawing back his hood with his left hand, he faced the city of lights. His features lit up, his honey coloured hair was pulled up into a loose ponytail.

“Ah, Trica. You are glorious tonight.” The man smiled, his deep voice carried off with the wind.

“Don’t you feel it, Elow? Don’t you feel their presence?” The woman gasped with excitement.

“Violet you were right, there are Guardians in this city,” his voice was gentle.

Stepping up beside him Violet removed her hood and stared into the city lights. The lights barely lit up her long caramel locks, which were pulled up loosely into a braid. Nodding gently she smiled barely containing her excitement.

“Brother, I think more than one guardian resides here.” Turning to Elow, she watched his chiseled features, for any reaction. He simply closed his eyes and raised his head towards the sky. Seconds later he opened his eyes and returned to face the lights.

“I cannot sense the presence of guardians very well from this distance, but I can tell there is at least one here.”

“Then let us find out brother, awaken the guardians at once.” Violet urged impatiently.

Ignoring his sister’s pleas for urgency, Elow raised his staff above his head with one arm slowly. As he did, the winds picked up, blowing in all directions, their clothing violently flapping. Turning to look up at Elow, she watched as the colours escaped from his dark brown eyes, the pupils disappearing behind the white hazy glow. Moving closer to the edge of the cliff Violet surveyed the city, watching for any slight change.

“Kraq de tulen we Guaodean!” Elow coldly spoke, enunciating every word carefully. Spinning the staff in the air with his right arm he slammed the wooden weapon down hard into the ground. As the staff hit the ground a booming sound and a burst of light rushed from the core of the staff. The staff’s end dug hard into the dirt beneath them. Violet watched as the shockwave moved through the ground of the city before them. As it hit parts of the city the street lights flickered and then glowed brightly. As the shockwave passed the lights returned to their normal dim glow.

Elow’s eyes returned to normal and he soon felt the uneasiness within his sister.

“Be patient Violet, they will awaken soon,” Elow spoke softly, the kindness in his words returning now.

Violet’s hazel eyes darted nervously around the city begging for just one sign that their search was not in vain. Suddenly a burst of light ran up from the ground and into the sky. Violet’s face showed her excitement as she pointed towards the phenomenon. The light looked like lightning.

“One of the guardians is awake!” Violet shouted, trying to hide her enthusiasm.

Elow remained calm. Another light phenomenon rushed up into the sky, lighting it up. “And another one,” Elow smiled. As another light escaped into the black dark sky Violet threw her arm out pointing again. “And another one.”

As one more sighting reached up into the sky Violet chuckled to herself with delight. “That’s four guardians Elow.”

“That definitely saves us trying to track them all down.”

“Are you kidding? This is great!”  Violet was stunned with how well this procedure had worked.

“Settle yourself Violet,” Elow maintained his seriousness, “this is just the beginning. Yes we have found more guardians than we expected but we have much to prepare for.” Violet’s excitement disappeared from her face as her brother’s words brought her back down to reality. “Our universe is in a dark time sister and they will be far from the heroes we need.”

Feature image by Nellie0224