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The Pounamu Prophecy - birth of a book Two women, two cultures and an ancient Maori prophecy that will change their lives. That's the tag line for The Pounamu Prophecy - my first novel. It has been a slow process, interrupted by moving...


Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol? The short answer is yes - you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty...


Bran MuffinsBran Muffins These bran muffins (adapted from a recipe by Alison Holst) are super filling - a great snack when you are trying to control your weight. Enjoy these muffins with a cup of tea but don't expect to absorb...


Beat the flu with Chicken Noodle Soup It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica....


My nanna's recipe for homemade Rewena (Maori) bread Rewena Bread Step 1 1 c flour 1 tsp sugar 1 potato Peel and cut potato into small pieces. Place in pot with 1 cup water, lid on, and simmer to mashing consistency. Mash, cool and when luke...


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The Pounamu Prophecy

Posted on : 13-03-2015 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Milestones, New Zealand, Traditions


COVER5hAt last, after months of prayer and pondering I finally have a title for my novel. The book has had four different names. If it was a person it would surely be suffering an identity crisis from so many changes! But thanks to my husband and sister-in-law, helped along by a few drinks sitting on a balcony in Bangkok, we have come up with a fantastic title: The Pounamu Prophecy.

Pounamu is a beautiful word for a beautiful stone. It is the Maori word for greenstone, a unique type of jade found only in the South Island of New Zealand. It is a sacred stone,  treasured by Maori as a sign of status or power and used for making peace. It is often carved into pendants and other jewellery which many tourists buy when they visit New Zealand.

In the past it was also carved into tools and weapons. Sometimes these valuable and most beautiful weapons were given to another tribe as a peace agreement. Pounamu is still used this way today. My husband’s tribe gave pounamu as a gesture of peace to another tribe after a dispute over his beautiful Mum’s body.

As a child I grew up on top of a hill where once stood a Maori pa site. A pounamu mere (a short flat club carved in the shape of a tear drop) was found in my father’s vegetable garden. (It was given to the local museum.)

Pounamu is smooth and cool to the touch. It has a depth of pattern, as though looking into the deepest green waters. In The Pounamu Prophecy, Helene, one of the characters, experiences the cool, soothing effect of this remarkable stone. It is a stone that one could readily endow with spiritual qualities but as Helene is reminded by her friend, Mere, ‘It is not the stone, but the maker of the stone that gives us peace.’

Shalom. Kia tau te rangi marie.


Speaking of seafood: I’m in beautiful sunny Nelson [New Zealand] speaking about it!

Posted on : 08-11-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Travelling


Hi, this week I am away in Nelson situated at the very top of the south island of New Zealand. I’m a guest speaker at an Aquaculture conference and my presentation will be about the benefits of Omega 3 in one’s diet, and ways to promote it’s health benefits. It’s been wonderful here so far, am thoroughly enjoying being back in the heartland of New Zealand, even if it is only for a week. I thought I’d post a few of my powerpoint slides here to give you a little taste of what it is I am going to be talking about.

By the way, if ever there was an idyllic place to grow up as a kid, two of the pics here show that place: Matauri Bay in another (northern) part of New Zealand, sometimes called “The Winterless North”, with views out over the Cavalli Islands … my husbands home for the first six years of his life!

A day of family and Maori history

Posted on : 19-04-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Traditions


“See that manuka tree over there?” My father-in-law pointed to a lonely manuka by a small stream cutting through a horse paddock. “That’s where a cart fell on Te Kooiti’s leg and broke it. He died three days later. As a child my grandmother used to sit me down by that tree and tell me that story over and over again. I used to think: Oh no, not the same story again! Now I understand.”

For years my father-in-law, Haare Williams, has told us about how he grew up with his grandparents in a raupo hut on the side of a hill by the Ohiwa Harbour. They were given a strip of land where Te Kooiti, the famous Maori chief, was mortally wounded to be the kaitiaki (caretakers) of this historic, some would say, sacred spot.

Can I eat mussels if I have high cholesterol?

Posted on : 30-01-2010 | By : Cindy | In : Maori kai, Seafood, Travelling


The short answer is yes – you can eat mussels if you have high cholesterol. Mussels are low in kilojoules, cholesterol and fat. The little fat they do have is mostly healthy unsaturated fat with plenty of omega-3’s to help stabilise the heart muscle, reduce triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), make arteries more elastic (which helps reduce blood pressure) and reduce blood clotting and inflammation.

Douse your mussels with butter, cream or other saturated fat and they will be more of a heart hazard than anything else. But if you eat them as we did at the Boat Shed Cafe in Nelson (northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island) – steamed with garlic, wine and parsley and served with a local pinot gris – your heart and your taste-buds will be very happy.

Last week we jumped on board the Pelorous Sound mail boat which chugs the length of Pelorous Sound three times a week delivering mail