Mahi To Do

I have a mind map on the wall with a BIG “Mahi To DO” in the middle and a whole lot of things around the outside to complete before I leave. Well not all before I leave but most before I leave.
koru hand painted rocks
But I’m looking at it and thinking, that’s a lot of things around that circle and that is totally an artist’s circle! Not in a straight line one thing after another.

Although I do have one of those lists too because once I finish with the mind map, I transfer it to my TO DO book that has actual lists with things to tick off. Aha – you thought I was totally in circles didn’t you – there is SOME logic to me!
But my point being (other than rambling on to myself here) is that we can still be organised and on to it as artists who think in circles and back to front and upside down and we can achieve so much more when we allow our circular ways of thinking to merge seamlessly (I like this word) with a little bit of logic – just a little though.
Ok, I’ll admit I’m a bit brain dead right now, possibly a bit delirious but do you know what I mean? No wonder some of us feel like we’re p***ing in the wind at school when it and it’s total logic and structure was never made for us…but that is another story… anyway I better haere ki te moe!
Nope – can’t – got “mahi to do!”
Now is this right brain or left brain speaking here?
Jo x
PS – Day 243 – woohoo!! And a pinch and a punch for the last day of the month and NO returns!

To Be a Child Again

To be in awe like a child, satisfied with the simplest of things…
Oh to be a child again, to remember freedom with no boundaries or limitations.
To understand life in all it’s beauty and wonder…
koru hand painted rocks
Excited in the present, no knowledge of past or future, just present…
How to return to that place of knowing and understanding, to live, I mean really live.
Sharing, loving, giving, happy with what is… no need for material things, just living, right here, right now, not a worry in the world…
Jo x

Ahi Kaa

Ahi Kaa – the hot embers glowing remind me of my ancestors crouched around a fire watching… sharing a story or two…
koru hand painted rocks
Ahi Kaa – keeping the fires burning at home. Keeping the fire alive for whānau to come home to. Maintaining your intrinsic connection to the land and the environment and remembering that this is where I belong.
Ahi Kaa – can be carried within. I carry my ahi kaa within as a reminder of where I come from, who I am and I know one day if the desire arises to return to my tūrangawaewae – my place to stand, the fire is still burning for me…
Ahi Kaa – identity, warmth, nurture, comfort, belong, security, stability.
Ahi Kaa – keeping the fires burning…
Jo x

Tui Tui Tuia

Tuia i runga
Tuia i raro
Tuia i roto
Tuia i waho
Tui tui tuia
koru hand painted rocks
I remember this waiata from ages ago at school! And like most Māori waiata we learnt in mainstream school (which was very few), I really didn’t know what any of them meant.
So now when I recite these words, they have a whole new meaning for me.
The tūī is one of our native birds that is identified by it’s beautiful iridescent feathers and white tuft at the front on it’s neck. They are one of my favourite birds!
Tui also means to sew, or weave together so the significance of these words for me now is about weaving together, an understanding that everything is connected, connecting with one another…
I share this kōrero about the tūī today because I saw nine tui today while walking – yes nine!
I stopped to count them and there were seven to begin with and then two more flew over to join in the chorus. It was a hub of activity I tell ya! And these were the ones that I saw – I heard many others calling from a distance too…
So a special time of year to remember our connections to one another, to weave together our stories of old and our new stories and to welcome Koanga – Springtime – yus!
Jo : )

Day 239 – Fear Revisited

I cast my mind back to Jan 1st 2011.


Fear was fully there and I remember sitting at my computer thinking, shall I push the button or shouldn’t I? I sat there for at least two hours. I remember it was late.
koru hand painted rocks
All sorts of things going through my mind – people are not gonna like what you do, why would they want to look at a rock and why would they want to listen to anything you say? And why, and why…all the reasons under the sun not to push that button.
And then I pushed it – as scary as it was I pushed that button and that post was out there in the universe for all to see along with my commitment to paint a rock every day for 2011.
And now it is Day 239 and I’m heading for the finish line – there’s no stopping me now! I’m committed and soon this challenge will be done and dusted and I will be onto the next thing.
But, so many things have happened as a result of this project and I’m OVER the moon at what has been achieved, the people I’ve met, the people I will meet in the future. I’ve healed so much of me, shared so many things, opened myself up to the world of possibility and I may not have fully gotten over that fear yet but there are more moments now than ever where I’m in my element and nothing can stop me.
So I just wanted to share this tonight even though you may have already heard it before! I remember my words, “fear is so gonna get kicked to the curb this year” and I reckon I’ve given it a pretty good kicking haha and still got some more to do!! Bring it!!
Jo x

Out the Other Side

I love this rock but I didn’t really enjoy painting it to begin with because I was quite agitated. It’s another revived rock that I found in the garden, a rock I had started months, maybe years ago but never finished.
koru hand painted rocks
So another green spiral underneath, another rock to be healed from another time and space…
And as always with perseverance, I always make it through.
And I love this rock now! I worked my way through that initial block, into the healing, letting go and allowed the new to come through. I say now THIS is my favourite rock, but I said that the other day too but they are probably all special for me in their own special way because each has been an extension of myself and who I am.
I’m off to watch the Homai te Pakipaki final on Māori TV – starting in 4 minutes – so enjoy!!
Jo x
PS – I have my special offers coming tomorrow… so watch this space : )


This is a pretty fired up rock! It contains all sorts of things – fed up, had enough, drive, passion, annoyed, over it, move on, get off your ass and do something, so you can’t be bothered, head down butt up, stop being lazy, get your a into g and do something about it, grow up, move on, get a grip, stop making excuses, go and live somewhere where you have to walk miles to fetch water and food, be grateful, stop making excuses – did I already say that, get over it, move on, over and out, done, no more excuses, over it, over it – so over it!
koru hand painted rocks
Right…now I’ve got that out for the day… breathe…
How much do you really want something and what are willing to do to get it?
And when I say I’m over it, I don’t mean it literally and I’m not talking about the rocks. The rocks are my outlet for the day sometimes, as you can see!
Creative explosions are SO allowed!
Jo x

Found Treasures

I was out in the back yard choosing my rock today and much to my delight, I found lots of little surprises! Well actually they’d been there all along, I just didn’t stop for long enough to notice them and really see what was there!
I didn’t realise how many found treasures I had gathered over the years – walking on sandy beaches, white sand, black sand…gathering shells, stones, broken glass, pieces of driftwood in all kinds of unusual forms, oh so many little gems…
koru hand painted rocks
I was really excited! Like a little kid with a new toy for five minutes or something, how could I have missed this before? My mind went on a “wonder” full journey creating new treasures from these found treasures, pieces of jewellery and sculptures and all sorts of creativity buzzing around in my hinengaro…
So I’ve decided to hang out the back for a bit longer during the day and pull out some of those bits and pieces…even just for half an hour, to grab something and say hmmm… where has this come from and what can I transform this into today and what message of hope and aroha will this treasure share with the world?
Jo x
PS – And just a litle extra kōrero for you – I’ve decided to change my book idea and instead of having four books, (the first three months have already been designed – what a mission I must say – it pays not to be fussy!) I’ll have one book for the whole year once the year is over and an exhibition of some of the photos (and rocks of course!) which will coincide with the book launch – thank-you Nina-kaye and Jack Gray (hey that rhymes!) for that little bit of prodding and inspiration (and I really am going to get you to come and dance Jack) and Lyn – Whittakers will be hearing from me! – and everybody else too who have been so tūturu to this kaupapa!!
But – because I am not going to have any books available before I go away, I have some little surprises up my sleeve…you’ll have the opportunity to purchase your favourite photo or two of the rocks so far… and it won’t cost you an arm or a leg…just give me a moment and you’ll be hearing from me soon when I invite you to this exclusive offer for rock followers and friends. Ma te wā xx


I find a rock to paint, choose my paints from an old adidas shoe box, (damn you adidas and my adidas shoes I love so much!) I gather brushes, tray and water…a warm spot somewhere beckons and I paint…
koru hand painted rock
Paint my way over the rock, I feel the lines… when I first look at the rock, I look with my ears and my hands and then my eyes see where I should go…
I used to always start with the koru, but this year that has changed; now and then I will start with a simple line, and that’s ok.
So I feel the lines…one this way, one that way, maybe a koru here, maybe a koru there, now another colour, sometimes only one colour, it all depends on how I feel…
I feel my way around the rock, allowing the rock to speak, to tell me the story of the day and then I paint.
I paint until I’ve finished, until there is no more and always never what I expect it to be.
Intuitively I paint straight onto there, no pencil, no ruler, no expectation allowed…
And it always feels right, always…and sometimes I don’t like it, but I don’t have to like it because it’s not about me…intuition…trust and belief in self…
Jo x

Memories of Chocolate

Every day before school I would look forward to opening my lunchbox to see what was inside. There would always be a surprise in there, a delicious chocolate of some sorts (that was actually no surprise!) and kit kats were my favourite! I would savour the taste, eat around the edges first, then bite into the middle part…yummy!
koru hand painted rocks
I was brought up on chocolate – as you can see – a chocolate in your lunchbox everyday just like painting a rock a day or taking a photo a day pretty much forms the habit…so if you’ve ever shared chocolate with me or eaten chocolate with me, or given me chocolate, then you will know – I LOVE chocolate!!
So these memories of chocolate are firmly imprinted and although I still eat chocolate today, I’m a bit more choosy about what type, what the ingredients are and how and where it was made. Kit kats are a no no for me now as I refuse to eat anything that Nestle makes and I prefer to support chocolate makers through Fair Trade and sometimes an Aotearoa made Porirua Whittakers chocolate bar will find it’s way to our fridge. And by the way, I’m so glad they have said NO more to palm oil in their chocolate!
But! This is not to say that I will say NO to your chocolate if you offered it to me! And dark chocolate – if you’re going to give me chocolate, give me dark chocolate!!
So why all the talk about chocolate?
Well, the chocolate fairy was my Dad. Everyday without fail (what I remember!) a chocolate in our lunchboxes. So I blame him for my sweet tooth and LOVE for chocolate and my use of chocolate as an emotional filler. They say that chocolate is an emotional food – well I’m the proof of that!
And it’s my Dad’s birthday today. He is now 84. I spoke to him a couple of days ago to remind him although he did not need reminding! And then I rang him again tonight (I think I interrupted his dinner lol) and he said, didn’t you ring me the other day to wish me happy birthday lol
And in true Dad form he says, 84 and not out! He’s rather cheeky at times and always joking about things…
Those memories of chocolate are totally ingrained and even though it probably wasn’t the best thing for a young girl to be eating first thing in the morning, (because of course we ate the chocolate before we went to school!) those little things I will never forget. And despite all the stories created about not feeling loved, those times that are now memories are a gentle reminder, that yes, I was shown love by those who loved me in their own special way and in the best way they knew how.
Rā whānau ki a koe Dad – ka nui tōku aroha ki a koe.
Jo x
PS – this is probably my favourite rock of the year and how lovely it is for my Dad.

What Do You Stand For?

I came to the end of another book today. The book is called “Seasick” by Alanna Mitchell – the hidden ecological crisis of the global ocean.
It was a very real wake up call – if there is no ocean, life as we know it on planet earth will cease to exist.
koru hand painted rocks
Water – wai – has over the past few years been at the forefront of everything I do. Water – without it we would not survive. Here in Aotearoa we talk about our clean green country, but nothing could be further from the truth. We have some of the most polluted waterways in the world and most people just don’t understand how serious this is.
Right now, I want to quote directly from the book as I think this is important.
“Truth lies in the tales we tell rather than in the scientific facts that give rise to them…the story we tell matters because it alone determines the actions we take or fail to take. In other words, the final vital sign of the global ocean is how the agent of destruction – us – will react…The problem of the atmosphere and the ocean is a problem of human behaviour…”
Many scientists interviewed for this book talked about the timeframe of “2015 – 2030 as the drop-dead point of action that is effective for halting the planet’s course toward chaos. Others are clear that if the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere rises above 450 parts per million by volume, that will represent a point of no return. Today it is at 387 and rising faster than at any time since humans appeared on the planet.”
2015 – 2030. I don’t know if this timeframe is accurate, but I do know that the time to act is now. This is my lifetime and that matters to me. And this story starts with me. The story that I want to tell, is that I did everything I could to ensure our ocean and waterways are alive and well.
The last chapter of this book asks – what do I stand for? What story do I tell myself about why I am here? I’m constantly asking myself this question…
And each day I slowly but surely find my way into the answers and I always come back to water.
What do you stand for?
Jo : )

Healing Revealed

Not often do I speak directly about the rock that I have painted, the photos that I have taken and my interpretation of them. Most times I allow them to speak for themselves. But today was different.
koru hand painted rocks
I did my usual adventure outside to find a rock to paint and I went straight to the “small rock” pile. I have piles all over the place! But today was small rock pile day! And the rock that you see in the photo jumped out at me – as they always do! I also brought two other rocks inside, kind of like companions (later I realised as kaitiaki) but this is the rock that I felt strongly about painting for today.
So painting the rock was simple; there was nothing different about it in fact, it felt like any other of my koru rocks that I have painted.
But the kōrero came in the photos…
As I started to take photos of this rock, I realised that these photos were an extension of my emotions and were speaking to me of a time and place, past and present. That feeling was so strong for me…
What was revealed to me was a memory of past, hiding self, hiding in the dark, hiding away, the word hiding always came out. As a child alone, once open and free and slowly retreated into oneself – hiding. That is the rock you see on the left hand side. I immediately saw this, when I looked at the photo – it catapulted me back in time – it was a really big shock!
And then the photos that followed were lighter. I was facing the light instead of sitting in the dark… and at this time I realised that the rock was me…and I was now turned to the sun, with the shadows behind me. The curtain had been drawn and there I was revealed for all to see…
It was such an important moment as I sat here and looked at what had been told to me, revealed and healed all in a short space of time.
Healing can present itself in so many ways and this is one of those many special moments of awareness and understanding that tell me – yes, there is another power at work here and if we are tuned into it, slow down and be quiet enough to hear it, see it, feel it, we can experience healing in every moment of every day.
Jo x

In the Palm of My Hand

I got home today and sat thinking hmmmm what am I gonna do? Not like I haven’t got lots of things to do because I’ve got heaps to do and then Todd chimes in and says, “you can do whatever you want to!” And I thought, too right I can – I am in control, I am the master of my own destiny. I can choose what I want to do at any given time…
koru hand painted rock
So I wrapped myself up in heaps of clothes, climbed into my warm bed in the lounge, computer on lap and started working. I could have gone to sleep or just watched a DVD (tempting!) but I decided to do my mahi instead.

But the luxury for me is being able to hop into my bed in the early afternoon and choose my place of work, how I choose to work and when. That is my choice.
We are the makers of our destiny – all of us, life is in the palm of our hands – literally. Grab it while you can!
This stone is exactly as the title says; it fits snuggly into my hand like a totem, a tohu that I can hold to remind me of the passion I have to make a difference in this world and to make every moment count – on my terms of course. A bit radical I know but life really is about allowing yourself the choice of how you choose to live.
Jo x

A Bit of a Waffle Kōrero

Colours of passion and fire and action and balance. I photographed this rock outside in between rains although the rain was ready to fall again as I took this – you can see by the drops…
So what to talk about today…
koru hand painted rocks
A longing to be home again, sometimes…memories of childhood eating chocolate everyday. Everyday we always used to get chocolate in our lunch boxes but I will talk more about this on Monday…you’ll soon know why…
I wonder about the weather and why our strawberries are growing in the middle of winter. I already know why – those polar shifts are happening, weather is changing… some people will say it is evolution but I don’t think so. I’ve already talked about this in another post, evolution – go and find that post, some people didn’t agree with me!
Sometimes you wonder if you are doing the right thing, if what you are doing in this world is making a difference and helping people. I hope so. I would hate for my life to be a total waste of time, what is the point of that. Every moment important.
So that is my ramble for the day, straight from the mouth without actually thinking about what I just said, but thats normally how it happens anyway although this doesn’t necessarily make sense and who says it has to anyway?
Jo x

Heart no. 2

Now and then, I ask myself, how do I do this? It’s nearly Sept and somedays I feel I don’t have anything to say and I’m doing stuff and then time to paint the rock…it’s part of my day now but when I look back over just the past week, I still can’t believe it sometimes! Anyway…had that little burst of expression!
koru hand painted rocks
So another heart day today. Thoughts of friends and whānau who are celebrating their birthdays and thoughts of friends and whānau who are mourning the loss of a loved one and celebrating their lives at the same time.
Life. Challenging at times, so happy at other times. The ups and downs, happiness and sadness. Life. If we learn to ride that wave and accept what is…easily said than done.
So I painted another heart today – heart no. 2. A pink and gold one to remember loved ones in birth and in death and I paint this heart for love because I believe love has the power to change everything…What if we all had hearts full of love and spread that love around?
Jo x

Dreaming of Dolphins

I’ve been thinking heaps about what is happening in our world today – actually it’s probably no surprise to any of you who know me or to those of you who follow the rocks…not a day goes by where I am not thinking about what I can do to help heal our planet and people.
koru hand painted rocks
In December last year I had a dream. Not many of my dreams stay with me like this one but I remember it so vividly.
I dreamt of a whole lot of dolphins – blue – heaps of them, don’t know how many – physically I could see at least 20 but I felt like there were hundreds!! They were a bright blue like a royal blue and they were on the move. They were in a bay with high hills all around and they were leaving there. Diving in and out of the water, so graceful…following one behind the other…
They were on a journey…
So the dolphins remain constant in my thoughts and I think about the dolphin as being many things; graceful, playful, intelligent, community, power, protection…
I think about them and the life that no longer exists in our oceans because of the impact that humans are having on our planet. And how long will it be before there will be no more dolphins and whales and all life disappears…
These dolphins I believe are a tohu, a symbol of hope, that there is still time to turn the tide and start replenishing and giving love and respect once again to our planet. I also believe that the dolphins are on the move because it is no longer safe for them and we need to act now; for our planet and for each other. There still is time…
Jo x

Notes To Self

Today I stumbled on lessons – more lessons and answers to questions…
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And then I found myself listening to more questions and words like imitation – imitating others, superficial, conforming, constraints, limitation inhibiting freedom to be self…
So my notes to myself today again ask: who am I? What are the borders I am placing around myself, within myself that are limiting my freedom and my ability to be me?

What am I comparing myself to?
Know thyself…these words have been strong for me over the past 20 years. And I heard them again, a gentle reminder.
Today some words of wisdom were put in front of me, I do not even know how it happened but I know it was meant for me. I’m not one to quote the words of others, but these words are important for me right now, they reached to my core and again, intention in action, intention to heal was revealed. And I was also reminded, that my healing is also healing for others.
The enemy is not the other, the enemy is you.
Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986
Jo x
PS – Moe mai rā e te Matua Paora Reeves, moe mai rā…

1001 Cranes For Japan

I’m sending a message today from my dear friend Ilka who is collecting 1001 Cranes for Japan.

In her blog post on April 16th, she talks about creating paper cranes and sending them as a gesture of peace, prayer and heartfelt love for the people of Japan.
koru hand painted rocks
I believe in collective consciousness to bring about change in the world, and I believe that one voice can make a difference, so many voices, many actions of conscious intent can make a BIG difference.
Ilka shares a story…”I heard recently that the Japanese have a collective memory of the horror that Nuclear radiation causes from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Then I remembered the story I heard when I was a little girl about a Japanese girl who set to folding 1001 cranes in the ancient Japanese tradition of senbazuru. The story goes that the girl, Sadako Sasaki, developed leukemia years after the atomic bomb exploded about a mile from her home. During her illness, she made paper cranes, hoping to make a wish for her restored health. She died in 1955 at age 12, before she could finish, but has since become an international symbol of peace. Senbazuru is the art of folding one thousand origami cranes. As the legend goes, you will be granted one wish by a mystical crane.”
So I share Ilka’s story of a story with you… a story of intent and hope that we can give thought to those who may have gone out of our minds for a short while, to bring them back into our consciousness and send them love.
Ilka will be collecting cranes to be sent until the end of August. Her address to send cranes to is: Ilka Blue, PO Box 2150, Ocean Shores, NSW 2483, AUSTRALIA
If you follow this link to her website you will also be able to find out how to make the paper cranes. And feel free to leave her a message, I’m sure she will love to hear from you.
And thank-you.
Jo x

Stones of Old

I was given these two stones to paint while in Australia a couple of months ago and they’ve been sitting next to my rose quartz since I brought them home and today I was ready to paint them.
koru hand painted rocks
The smaller stone is the smallest I’ve painted this year! It’s about 1.5cm. These stones are quite different to what I normally paint; they are flatter, lighter in weight and are a lovely earth brown colour. And like the rocks from home, they have a special “feel” to them…
I felt this with all the stones I connected with in Australia – and I connected with many. There is a sense of “ancient” about them, just like the tāngata whenua there. I believe they are one of our oldest living people in the world, they are old spirits, that is what I see. And these rocks even though small, feel old too.
So the symbols that I see within these rocks are of a time long ago, I am not entirely sure what they mean but I know they are important. I wonder where they come from? Where do they connect to? What world, what people, what land? Or are they representative of many lands?
And despite our different cultures, environment and language, I believe there are symbols that bring us together, a common ground and story that we share with all living things. Perhaps these stones of old tell those stories too…
I have painted two other purple designs on the other sides of these rocks. I have chosen not to show them here but purple has always been a wairua colour for me. Balance of the physical and the spiritual.
Jo x

Intention In Action

I am totally (totally!) convinced now that you can bring forth whatever you want in your life just through pure intention and trust. I’ve experienced intention in action over the past year in the most amazing ways, it has been a strong validation for me that anything is possible!
koru hand painted rocks
Like a domino effect, one thing leads to another, opportunities present themselves sometimes in the most unlikely of ways but I am open none-the-less and awareness of self and what is going on around me like I’ve never known awareness before.
Life is full of syncronicitys, bringing forth a part of me I never knew existed. And living intuitively by trusting every moment is exciting! Challenging at times, but exciting!

When life is allowed to flow, all you want to do is flow with it, give thanks, sit back, and be in awe…
Jo x


In my tiredness, I’m writing a post about my carbon footprint. I’m totally conscious of it, but how can I “give back” to the environment what I am taking from it as I fly to the other side of the world next month?
koru hand painted rocks
There are little things that I’m doing already; the normal things that everyone should be doing such as recycling and composting kai! Everyone does this already right?
But what else?

If I woke up one morning and the fate of life on planet earth was totally in my hands what would I do??

I would stop all drilling for oil in every corner of the world, I would replant every farmed piece of land with native trees and no longer would anyone be allowed to fish commercially anywhere in the world! And water would be the most precious resource that ever existed, but it is already isn’t it?
I would wave my magic wand and cast a spell of aroha over the whole world and then after that I think that everything would change because people would love and respect themselves and one another and will truly truly appreciate and be grateful for this life giving planet we have.
Wouldn’t that be something?
So much more I could add to this but if I speak any more I may just talk myself into no- sense, so I’ll leave it there!
By the way, the lovely carved piece that compliments my painted rock today is a pūrerehua that Todd carved. A pūrerehua is a butterfly or a moth but in this case it is a musical instrument made from wood, stone or bone that is attached to a long string and swung around to make a “bull roaring” sound.

It is carved in distinctly west coast style with the serpentine flowing limbs weaving in and out of each other and maunga Taranaki’s peak at the top. Very soon it will be moulded into glass but for now is a lovely background for my rock today and very grounding for this kaupapa. It is recycled kauri.
Jo x

From Right to Left

Does anyone else read the newspaper from right to left, from back to front? As I painted today’s rock (from right to left) I was reminded of my apparent dsylexia, getting words and things around the wrong way…
koru hand painted rock
It could perhaps have to do with the fact that I am left-handed why I paint from right to left although I don’t do this all the time and there are actually some things I do with my right hand such as use scissors and hit a golf ball with both a right and left hand golf club! So there haha!
But anyway, does anyone else go from right to left is what I want to know?
It just feels right to read from right to left. I don’t actually read the newspaper very often, only when I get it from the Polytech for free on a Thurs and then I go straight to the art section at the back and thats about my reading… unless it’s really really interesting stuff!
And I do read books from left to right but I have a tendency to have at least five books on the go and I like to jump all around the place in a book unless it’s a really good one and I have to read the whole thing from front to back! So you could say I like to read books in circles?!
A light-hearted kōrero for today : )
Jo x

Silver Lining

I sat to paint my rock today and I had all these thoughts in my mind about what it was going to be (actually I started with four rocks and called it four stones lol) and then all of that went out the window!
koru hand painted rocks
And then once I had finished “one” rock, I thought oh this will look kind of cool with this sort of photo in this kind of setting and then…NOT to be.
I even chose all the colours of paint and squeezed the paint out onto the tray but only used two of the four colours there.
And then when I went to actually photograph the rocks, what I thought was cool wasn’t really cool at all BUT then, the photo opportunities presented themselves like shining bright lights, sort of like when I go collecting rocks at the beach in Taranaki. I look down the beach and all these beaming bright rocks are saying pick me pick me!
I have no idea why today of all days I decided that I would try and control every part of this process or “think” about it rather than just do. Perhaps it was to just bring me back to that place of “knowing” and “trust” again to allow things to unfold and to not push so hard with things…
And what is that saying? Every cloud has a silver lining? Well this rock has a silver lining – literally – the paint underneath is silver. But every rock I paint has a silver lining and sometimes its hard to comprehend or even express what the messages are from the rocks but I know there are always messages in there somewhere and if I just wait… then all will be revealed…
Jo x

Small Wonders

Today’s rock and the three rocks before have all been very small rocks! I enjoy painting the small rocks, despite them sometimes being harder to paint! There is something about these tiny gems that is appealing…
Perhaps it is because they can fall easily into a pocket to be kept cosy and warm or held safely in the palm of your hand…such small wonders…I wonder which larger rock they have come from and how many flows of water did it take to make them so small?
koru hand painted rocks
Shaped so perfectly…
It reminds me of the little things in life, those things that make all the difference…
So if you find the small wonders in your day, you’ll realise that life is full of them and they bring a certain magic and belief that anything is possible.
Jo x

Just Let Go

Do not hold on to past grudges…unless you want them to hang on like leeches sucking the life out of you…
They do not serve you in the present nor will they serve you into the future.
koru hand painted rocks
Life is for living, enjoying every moment, let go of what is limiting and allow yourself to welcome the new.
Jo x


Ross Bennett reminded me of an experience we had while I was living in Taranaki a few years back.
I was working on a project with him and one day while delivering the final product to his house in Oakura, I ran out of petrol – big lol
koru hand painted rocks
So I ended up on the side of the road out the coast waiting for Ross “to the rescue”…and while I waited a storm was brewing…

The wind started to pick up so with petrol in tank we decided to drive to Rahotu for some shelter to make the exchange of goods and when we got there it was too windy to even get out of the car! Sideways wind and rain, Tāwhirimātea was definitely doing his thing…
That day, a tornado swept through the metropolis of Rahotu. Big massive trees which once stood beside the road now lay flat across the road blocking the main highway. The tornado swept right by us only a few metres away I reckon, on the other side of the road.
I got home late that night as the roads were blocked for a while but I was just glad to be going home! Not every day you get to be in the midst of a tornado and to experience the strength of nature first hand was both frightening and exciting at the same time.
Jo x

Other Ways Of Knowing

E iti noa ana na te aroha.
Even though my gift is small, it is given with love.
I went to the mailbox today and there tucked inside was a yellow parcel, addressed to me, from John Broomfield. I was excited to open it and I knew what it was – a book written by John called “Other Ways of Knowing”. It had come from the South by boat, from John’s house at a beautiful placed called Te Wairua.
koru hand painted rocks
On the inside cover of the book was a message from John, “E iti noa ana na te aroha” I was so touched by this simple and meaningful message.
I had known John for a little while before I realised he was an author and discovered his book in a suggested reading list for one of the Whare Wānanga here in Aotearoa. And he was kind enough to send it to me.
I’m SO excited to read it!

And how lovely that my rock today reflects that very kōrero. This rock is approx 3 cm in diameter – a small rock but its message and meaning, special all the same.
Thank-you John!
Jo x
You can learn more about John’s life work by visiting his website where you can also purchase his book.


A smooth blue sheet behind a painted textured rock…
Texture is bumpy and rough. It adds colour, excitement and a sense of satisfaction like you’ve worked hard all your life. I like smooth but there is something about a rough texture that makes you want to touch it and see what is there and where did all those little holes come from?
koru hand painted rocks
Texture is not perfect nor is it linear, it is not calm or flowing although the bumps and grooves like those in this rock were perhaps formed with the flow of water as it rushed over it…
I remember many years ago learning how to create texture, to paint it in an image and then I taught myself to photograph it, to see it in a new light as something that is precious…
How boring the world would be without texture. The beautiful textures of our natural world and the many human textures that are so complex and yet so simple.
Jo x


Our tamariki these days are so lucky. Many still have their grandparents on both sides and some even have great grandparents and great great grandparents!
koru hand painted rocks
I only knew one of my grandparents and she passed away on my ninth birthday. But I have vivid memories of her that I will never forget. She used to wear reading glasses that would magnify her eyes ten times! My other grandparents I did not know and can only remember them from photos and what others have shared about them.
I feel kind of sad about that. I wish I had my pāhake to spend time with, to hear the reo being spoken and to hear all their stories. Many of our pāhake have passed away in recent years and sometimes its not until they pass away that we realise their importance in our lives and our communities.
If I had my grandparents today, I would be cherishing them every single day, and recording every word they say! I am grateful though for the many adopted pāhake that I have had in my life, those who have shared stories with me and whose presence has made me feel loved and protected.
And today I am also grateful that I still have my parents who are grandparents to nine mokopuna and who inspire me with their longevity and will to live. And all I can say to all of their mokopuna is to value them and honour them because they will not always be there.
Jo x

The White Picket Fence

We have a white picket fence at the front of our house.
Wikipedia defines a picket fence as: a variety of fence that has been used mostly for domestic boundaries. Symbolically: a picket fence, ideally white, is seen by some as a symbol of the ideal middle-class suburban life…
koru hand painted rock
Hmmm… funny how a fence can define the “ideal” life. But I don’t see our fence like that at all. In fact I can’t wait for it to come down! We get too used to fencing ourselves in or out and dividing spaces to remind us of who owns what.
I remember having a big front lawn growing up – well it was big to me at the time! We would play often on the front lawn, it had no fence and none of our neighbours had fences either… we were free to roam and we often spent time at other people’s houses.
When I look at the fence, it reminds me of limitations, boundaries, blocking oneself into a narrow minded mentality. I also see colonisation.
It’s going to be a great day when that fence does actually come down because by then our native trees will have taken over the white picket fence and the native rimu timber that is hiding under that white paint will be able to come out in all it’s glory.
Jo x

Looking Back

Just before I wrote this I was having a look back through all the rocks I had painted, the photos I had taken and the stories I had written so far. It is Day 213 today, so I’ve looked back over the past 212 days and wow! I was pretty stunned by what I had achieved.
koru hand painted rocks
I asked myself, how did I do that? Did I really do that? Oh my gosh! And as I was looking through from Day 212 to Day 1 (yes I was going from back to front, it’s how I read the paper too!), I was thinking hmmmm, I’m actually getting better at this and then I arrived at Day 1 and realised I wasn’t too bad to begin with!
The perfectionist coming out in me again! Actually I wrote a post about perfectionism too!
I’m not one to be proud out loud of my own achievements, but I was pretty chuffed with what I had achieved and the commitment I had made to my creativity at the beginning of the year has become so much more.
So I’m openly giving myself a pat on the back, saying well done and keep going because the year aint over yet! It feels a little uncomfortable to be blowing my own horn (that sounds really weird to say that lol by the way!) but at the same time, I’m smiling at what I have achieved.
Thank-you self.
Jo x
PS – I know I’m getting over my perfectionism too because I slapped this paint on and made sure lines weren’t too straight haha – and of course only I can notice! : )