Sonya Kamana with a flower arrangement that features a pink heliconia. 20080527
Go Local: Like many women, Sonya Kamana loves flowers.
Yet in Cook Islands, she says, men seem skeptical – they question the practical benefits.
“I know a lot of men here say, you can’t eat flowers,” she says. “Well, there is a saying that man cannot live on bread alone.
“And imagine how boring this world would be if we didn’t have artistic things like flower arranging, dancing, theatre …”
Flowers and plants can uplift a person, make one feel good and harmonious, they’re soothing and heartened.
Kamana wasn’t raised growing flowers.
She left Rarotonga and moved to New Zealand at the age of 13 to attend boarding school.
Only when she had her own home in Auckland, did she potter in the garden and plant.
She would purchase the flowers already established in pots from stores and just “plonk them in the ground.”
After 17 years away, Kamana returned home and discovered the joy of floral arrangements.
The art of arrangement came naturally for her.
“It’s learning as you go along, knowing which leaves are good to use and that won’t flop.”
Her favourite flowers are the fragrant tiare taina and tiare Maori – she planted the popular trees seen at Marine Drive in town.
But the sturdy resilient heliconia’s are her best plants for floral displays.
Delightfully, Kamana acknowledges she is better at flower arrangements than actually growing them.
She appreciates the different contours and shapes of plants and enjoys positioning their various forms together, to create a display of beauty and harmony.
Kamana uses local flora like the crotons, rauti, maire, ferns, succulents, and different distinctive textures, colours, and shapes of flowers.
A tip from Kamana is to first ask yourself where the arrangement will be placed, “and that determines the shape, whether it will have a back or front, et cetera. And the container is just as important.”
She credits her niece Shona Mato Lynch and nephew Rohan Ellis for their support and promotion of her new venture.
Kamana’s flower arrangement courses will teach you about structure, height, width, colour, density, form and more … practice makes perfect.
The weekend’s beginner’s course was fully booked, but call her on phone 50825 for other courses available from this week and visit her Facebook page ‘Raro Flowers’.
The fees are $20 per person; a group of 10 is required for a class at her residence in Matavera.