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February feeling fine? 🦌❤️🦌

Wow, February has been a challenging month for many North Island families and whānau. It all started for me personally towards the end of January when our little township of Kaukapakapa, and many other communities across the North Island of New Zealand received unprecedented flash flooding.

Kaukapakapa township is prone to flooding, however prior to this event, I had always been able to get through the main access road, and not being able to get out, was a very strange feeling. Less than a few weeks later, we were batting down the hatches, tying up outdoor furniture, in preparation for Cyclone Gabrielle, it all seemed a little surreal to me, in supposedly our Summer season we were expecting a cyclone, we had never had a full on cyclone, when we received warnings to be prepared to buy enough food for three days, we took the warnings seriously, and I am very grateful that we did! I was also very thankful that my husband was back in Auckland, because when the floods hit, he was away with the New Zealand Navy in Rangitāhua, the Kermedec Islands 1,000 km northeast of New Zealand.

We are now eleven days post Cyclone Gabrielle, when its first impact hit the Auckland area, four of those days we were without power, telephone and internet. In the first few days, we did not venture out as we already had a slip on Pinchgut Road, and we were sure our already soaked Kaukapakapa Village would be suffering again, it was two days before our children had any notification from us that we were ok, I can only imagine how that must have felt for them.

At our house and A Deer Cottage, the impact of the cyclone was minimal, some clean up of the section, a leak in our kitchen ceiling and the spoils of the fridge/freezer. However, once we had the power and telephone back on, we realised the devastation Cyclone Gabrielle had on some very vulnerable communities, towns and cities. I quickly saw that the North Island was severely impacted, and some communities had been doubly hit especially with the flooding less than a few weeks beforehand. Watching the constant updates, numbed me, I could not comprehend what had just happened, the stress of worrying if friends and family were ok, the tears are still never far from the surface, and with this I know I am not alone.

We spent a few days of hard yakka cleaning up the remnants of what Gabrielle left behind, keeping busy seemed to help me, Kaukapakapa is a wonderful community and the spirit of others, helping others - really warms your soul. When I watch the daily TV News, I still feel the sadness and devastation, however, I also see how much New Zealander's love their land and each other, the wonderful stories of hope and aroha just warms my soul. The North Island of New Zealand has a huge clean up in front of them, and I believe it is the goodness of our people that will help us all hold it together. We are Aotearoa - New Zealand, a land of incredible Kiwi's!.

Personally, I have been emotionally and physically exhausted, and when I think about the many New Zealander's in a worse position than we are in, I wonder what I can do to help me cope with these concerns I have. For some time now, I have been practicing meditation, and learning how to breathe effectively. Practicing meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which decreases your heart rate and reduces the release of stress hormones, with this it can help bring calmness and peace, and with this comes the ability to focus with more clarity. Meditation has helped me cope immensely, and I would like to share with you a simple breathing and meditation exercise.

Breathing into calm and balance

Become aware of your breath, placing one hand on your tummy and the other over your heart. Inhale through your nose for a slow count of four, then hold for four, then a slow exhale through your mouth for a minimum of four counts. Do this for five breaths, while noticing your tummy expand on the inhale and release on the exhale.

I have found I can do this anywhere, anytime, and I notice the feeling of calm and balance, I enjoy what this brings to me.

My tree roots meditation

You can do this by either sitting or standing with your feet flat on the floor, I imagine roots are growing from my feet into the earth, I feel stable and strong. I feel the connection with the earth, and when I exhale my breath, I imagine the stressful thoughts, are moved from my mind and taken deep into the earth. After doing this I feel my mind is clear, and I am calm and grounded, this gives me the feeling of peace and calm.


Mahia i runga i te rangimārie

me te ngākau māhaki

With a peaceful mind and respectful heart, we will

always get the best results


He aroha whakatō,

he aroha ka puta mai

If kindness is sown,

then kindness is what you shall receive


Mā te ngākau

aroha koe e ārahi

Let a loving heart

guide your decisions

At A Deer Cottage, we have been fully booked every weekend since we had our two week Christmas break in Melbourne, Australia - and last weekend was the first time that we had guests arriving from America. Due to the cyclone, they had to cancel their stay at A Deer Cottage, I felt really sad, but totally understood, at that stage we had no idea when we would have our power back on - it was really tricky not to have the ability to easily correspond with my guest, and when able, I had to drive 20 minutes out of the area to use the mobile data. It was a strange feeling not to be able to host a guest, however my guests safety and wellbeing is paramount to me.

Our impending guests, I now have to let them know about slips on the roads, and that one of the locations they wished to visit the Muriwai Gannet colony is closed, another guest, has asked "can they drive from Auckland airport to A Deer Cottage, and then from A Deer Cottage to Paihia?", I have to let them know that yes they can, however, there will be detours and will probably have delays in getting to their destination - this cyclone has certainly bought many challenges to the table.

In between all this chaos, we made a two day car trip down to Wellington, this was to shift our youngest daughter's gear back to Auckland, as she and her boyfriend are off on their OE (overseas trip) to Australia, and then further afield. It was a perfect opportunity to drop in and spend time with 96 year old Aunty Gabe, her spirit and energy is amazing, and her giggle is infectious. Aunty Gabe, is in the little seaside town of Waikanae approximately an hour from Wellington's CBD. Te Kani and I took a few hours out, and spent a lovely time at the Long Beach Café, just a minutes walk to the beach in Waikanae. I loved that the café had a gorgeous organic garden, and they used all the produce grown in their menu.

On our return to Auckland, when we had our power and internet out, I wrote Aunty Gabe a letter to say how much fun Te Kani and I had visiting her. Once she received the letter, she rang to say the feeling was mutual, Aunty Gabe certainly had her spirit on fire, she mentioned that she was very cross that she had a cyclone named after her...

I am back into the swing of looking and caring for guests at A Deer Cottage, making my guests feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed is a priority for me, and when my guest leaves, I love that they want to return.

If you would like to check out A Deer Cottage you can do so here . You can also follow A Deer Cottage on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

I would like to finish off our February blog/newsletter with this whakatauki - pearl of wisdom


Kia mau ki e whakapono me te aroha

Hold fast to hope,

faith and love

Take care, remember to smile even in times of diversity, if it doesn't make you feel good, it will surely make someone else feel good, all my aroha Angela 🦌❤️🦌


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