The cone-shaped Mt Taranaki sits in semicircle of land that radiates from the summit down to the ocean. The scoria near the summit rolls down into forest that follows the circular shape of the mountain forming the border of Egmont National Park. At the edge of the forest, rolling green fields flow down 18 kilometres to the Tasman Sea. South of Cape Egmont lies the small coastal town of Opunake. It was once a port town, until the challenges of maintaining a port on a difficult stretch of coast combined with stormy weather and the advent of road transport, transformed it into a seaside community and a service town for the local farming community.
Just south of Opunake is Pihama Dairy Factory, an interesting old facility decommissioned in the sixties that has now morphed into a lavender farm and local events centre. I went to a music afternoon at the Pihama Lavender Farm, where local musical artists were invited to play a few songs after the monthly market day. The sheltered setting in the large garden amongst palms and large trees was a perfect place to lay out a blanket, relax and listen to music. The Pihama music jam attracted a wide range of musicians from a variety of genres, including rock, country, reggae and jazz. As we arrived a little late to enjoy the market day I decided to come back another time to see the market.
Current owner of the Pihama Dairy Factory, Liz Sinclair, is one of those people who help grow good communities. Every third Sunday in the month Liz invites the community into her place for a market day. Last Sunday there were 50 stallholders selling their products, crafts and plants with the theme of ‘home made and home grown’. The local community loves wandering around the beautiful gardens and repurposed dairy factory.