In the 1960’s Mary travelled by boat for 6 weeks with her family to reach New Zealand. Their dream was to own a farm and they spent many years working on different farms in the North Island before buying their own farm and settling in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Mary, her husband, and young children were very happy to be in New Zealand even though it was very different than where they had come from as she said, “oh, in some ways, it was very exciting but on the other hand, we just had sort of an old damp cottage to live in, and you know how it was in the 60s, you had to walk out into the garden to use the loo!”  Mary, who is now in her 80’s, spoke of having to adjust to the differences between New Zealand and her homeland by becoming quite pragmatic as she said, “I always think you can't have everything you know, it's the same with New Zealand and where I came from. You have many good things, but there are certain things you can’t have, nothing is perfect, as long as you can accept what's not perfect and see all the good things then you are alright.” After raising their children Mary and her husband moved from a large farm to a lifestyle block because of her husband’s health. When Mary’s husband died, she stayed on the farm for another ten years but after some serious health issues she decided to move into town. After 60 years of living in the country it was very hard for Mary to move into town, though joining the VEBV has helped, as she said, “I found it hard to accept that I have my limits, you know. But I try to accept it, and that's why I like the Eastern Bay Villages because they have talks, and they encourage you to make friends and so on, that's good.” While Mary misses her farm, she still maintains a large vegetable garden and describes herself as a “Greeny”, speaking about this she emphasised her strong commitment to the natural world saying, “I try to eat healthy, I have a garden, I grow my own veges. I’m a bit of a Greeny, you know, I think we have a responsibility to improve our environment, lower our footprint, and live in a healthy way.” 


A Mother

A Grandmother

A Gardener

A Friend

 “I’m describing myself like a plant, just striving to make the most of everything around me, reaching for the sun with the grass growing around me.”

- Mary


Mary expressed the sense of her mind as a creative force, representing this with three red flowers on tall stalks.


“Well, that's how it feels like a tree trunk with branches that sort of reach out to people, and then that effects our different lives”


As a farmer Mary is very identified with nature, and in her depiction of her spirit she has placed dabs of yellow representing spirit and energy in-between the green leaf-like shapes she painted. Expressing the sense that spirit intertwines everything.


Mary spoke of her emotions as being like the lines of water she symbolised, and then from her emotions at the bottom (under the water) she also reaches up to the light to the sun. As she said, “we can always strive to towards the light.”

My Power

“It’s the sun emerging. The sun means a lot to me, if you see the sun in the morning, well it warms you up. It just puts you in a much better situation, you feel more cheerful, more enthusiastic, and you can achieve a lot more if the sun is out. So, to me the sun is very important.”

Pleasure &

In addition to the strength and pleasure that Mary gains from Nature, she spoke of the VEBV giving her pleasure and strength saying: “It’s like a tree that provides a place where you can go, where you can sit, and enjoy the fruit, and you can sit there in the shade and just wonder about life and so on, and in these ways it helps you. That's how I feel about the Eastern Bay Villages, we know it's there to help us when we need help, and we also try to support it.”