Relishing the special moments from afar

Wednesday April 15, 2020 Written by Published in Outer Islands
June Hosking picks fresh chilli to make sugar-free chilli sauce. 20040714 June Hosking picks fresh chilli to make sugar-free chilli sauce. 20040714

Pa Enua producers are taking the challenges of the travel ban in their stride.

June Hosking left her husband Andrew back at their island home and came over to Rarotonga on the last flight out of Mauke.

She expected to be away for a month or two – but just after arriving she received news the Pa Enua will remain closed for three months.

That’s okay, she says. It’s a time that her mum, Mama Here Allan who is in her 80s, needs her more than her husband, though she does miss him.

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And she has a memento of Andrew: 200 jars of preserves made from the plants they grow together and more around Ma‘uke. Usually she sells to tourists – but that market has gone. Ranging in price from $7 to $9, there is Bitter Lime Marmalade, Ginger and Garlic Paste, Guava and Raparapa Chutney, Mango Chutney, Pawpaw and Ginger Jam, Soursop Chutney,  and much more.

Hosking says the product is made from fresh fruit organically grown on the island, except for a few things that she has to buy such as some spices, garlic and onions. 

They also make their own fruity vinegars and sundry fruit for chutneys, rather than using bought things like raisins that are usually used in chutneys. “They are cooked in a little good clean Ma‘uke sea water so have extra trace elements as a bonus.

“And right now I have ginger and garlic paste for sale. A spoonful in hot water with a little honey is great for sore throats; blended in heated milk will give you a yummy latte.”

Hosking is a new grandma but, because of the travel bans, she isn’t yet able to meet her baby grandson Jay in Christchurch – which has been really tough.

Even if they could travel now, she says she wouldn't want to put him at risk.

“I can't complain though because we can video chat via internet, unlike when I was at boarding school as a teenager and we'd communicate via letters two or three times a year,” she laughs.

Hosking is grateful Mauke’s Air Raro agent texted her a travel ban warning.  “Mum had already been crook for a week and struggling to keep up with everything living on her own.”

As she gets older June and her siblings are aware they need to be with her more.  “Time goes so so fast. What seems like such a marathon at the beginning is gone before you know it. levitra People all over the place in lockdown are having to keep this in mind for their own mental health.”

Twenty years or so ago when her mum had to go back to New Zealand to qualify for the pension, Hosking and her children lived in Rarotonga keeping her Dad company, and making sure the household ran smoothly.

“I'm so pleased I had that time with him,” she says. “At the beginning it seemed like such a long time to be here ... but in 2007 Dad had a heart attack and was gone.”

She has stocked up their groceries and, with help from an ex-Mauke student, has cut back the overgrown grass, and raked and cleaned to put the yard back in good order to reduce mosquito habitats. “It is not easy for adults who have been used to having their own home that they manage to then have to live under one roof,” she muses.  “Sometimes I see in the islands that parents are still treating their grown kids like children even when they're relatively old themselves.

“So, I recall the life lessons Jesus gave by example and in words at his last meal with his disciples ... we must be committed to loving and serving.

“Both are terribly difficult and I fail frequently, but I know these are the best life skills we can impart to our children in order that we can be the best we can be.”

Ph 57951 to buy chutneys from Hosking in Tikioki, or buy from Prime Foods or Tuakata Café.

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