Friday, April 29, 2011

Biz Beauts Run The Beach

One of the fantastic things about my hometown, the weeny - pop. 2000 - surf town of Ohope Beach in New Zealand is that the main cluster of seven businesses is run by women.

Maggie and Linda, 4ArtSake

Ohope Beach
Ohope Beach
Those businesses include art and jewelry store 4ArtSake, Beyond The Fringe hairdresser, a realtor, Ruby Dunes selling floral art, home and clothing, a brasserie called Toi-Toi,  a corner dairy called Beachhaven and across the road, The Quay Cafe.

At the end of the row is Linda Ferguson, 54, who owns the 4ArtSake, a magical shop and garden, selling her own sculptures as well as a range of jewelry, clothing and fine art.

The day I was there, her right hand woman Maggie gilded around making necklaces (from "trash and treasures" she laughs) stoking up the pizza oven in the garden and helping customers try on jade (pounamu) pieces. Maggie says: "You see New Zealand new through Linda's eyes, the beauty of the legends and Maoridom. The old tackorama used to drive me crazy."

Pounamu necklaces
 Their best selling artist Talulah was painting outside in the Autumnal nearlythere-sunshine.

I tried on a flax bustier wall sculpture and bought the darker one. And pounced on a Burberry-like cashmere scarf for $20.

Linda who was bought up in North Carolina before living in Laguna Beach, California, tells me:  "Women run the businesses in Ohope because it is a great lifestyle and we can be near our families.  We are surrounded by beauty inside our shops and outside with amazing beauty of this little paradise."

"We get to meet new people everyday" says Linda "and really it isn't like a job at all! We come to work to play and socialize, my favorite thing about owning the business."

Dog made from old motorbike
And she adds "I never get tired of coming through the gorge and seeing Whale Island out from the beach."

Pizza ovens

Dragon made from old gas bottle
"My goal is to find some balance so that I can surf, sculpt and run the gallery and my pieces sell pretty quickly." Sculpting allows her to "live in the moment and nothing else matters at that moment."After being at sea, yachting for 15 years "something about stone really grounds me."

Along the footpath we arrive at Ruby Dunes, which you might remember if you came with me to Ohope Beach back in January. Back then mother-daughter duo Karen and Nikki Pocock had just opened Ruby Dunes and filled it with dreamy vignettes of hammocks, silvery pillows, antique tea cups and driftwood chandeliers, some of which were plucked from their travels through South East Asia,  and Nikki's floral designs. They know this ground pretty well, as for years Nikki's father used to own a butchery right on this very spot. 

Karen Pocock at Ruby Dunes

Next door, Toi Toi Bar and Brasserie owned by another daughter, Sasha Pocock is a place where you can eat "dressed to the nines or with sand between your toes" they say. You can gaze out to sea and choose from an ocean menu which includes prawns and kumara (sweet potato) and pineapple and seared paua (abalone) and squid with warm vermicelli noodles and tamarind.

And finally at the end of the "strip" is a corner "dairy", a place to have a nice cuppa over a newspaper or buy your lotto tickets.

Beach Haven
Across the road is Helen O'Keefe, 56, who has owned The Quay Cafe "where the coffee's as fresh as the gossip". (Yes, ironic that I've gone all around the world from my favourite coffee Helen in Oakland to another in Ohope)

The Quay owner Helen

I must say the coffee is much better than anything I can rabbit on about - and there are always little candies on the saucer and sticks of chocolate and the squishiest of fresh marshmallows with the hot chocolate. The date and apricot and choc chip scones are baked daily. The biggest seller on the blackboard menu are the gourmet meat pies and the venison burger with cranberry and onion jam on sour dough.

The Quay menu
"This business is all day, every day" Helen said and even though she previously owned a lake lodge "I wasn't aware that it would be so physically hard with the margins so fine, you are constantly aware of the business side of things." 

Outside The Quay
view from The Quay
She enjoys seeing the business owners and the locals, with some of the customers, like Bren coming in up to seven times a day. "This is a great little community, no pretensions very casual." 

"I work and I work" she says "but just looking out and seeing the beach and the sea is very calming. " She would not have taken this on if it weren't for benefits of the location.

I watched in rush hour - believe me there is such a thing at Ohope Beach though the patrons are all in jandals (flip flops) and sunnies and bit happier than most bods who haven't had their coffee yet - and Helen was calmly and kindly encouraging a new member of staff who was finding the till a bit tricky. "You doing really well" she said to her gently.

Says Helen turning back to her coffee machine: "We're all pretty intrepid women here. We add a bit of colour the place as we're all so different."

Which brings me to an interesting segway. Well not really, but just wanted to let you know I'm off to London. Literally, my plane takes off in a couple of hours...Apparently there has been a bit of a do going down there.  Definitely not a royalist though would have been overjoyed to be invited to the "Everybody In The House of Love"version of the wedding. Might just catch a random (though not official) after-match function.

Tell me, what camp were you in?

1. The world's gone to heck. Thank goodness for that wonderful wedding!
2. Organised a street party re-enacting the wedding real time and am currently sewing a copy of her frock. Still crying.
3. Think Katie is truly one of the "Wisteria Sisters" - a clingy, sweet smelling climber - and they all deserve each other.

Sign at Matata, Bay of Plenty
4. Didn't know Kate Moss was even dating Will Farrell ! Cute couple. Didn't watch, couldn't give a toss.
5. A category way beyond any of the above.


  1. wow how wonderful that these are all run by amazing, family-centered women!!! It looks so quaint and cozy . . . not to mention yummy!!!

  2. Great post - glad to see that women are running the show :)

    Happy Weekend!

  3. What an amazing community! Next news you'll be moving home.

  4. one thing jody forgot to mention is that about eight years ago women held the five top posts in new zealand. fantastic huh... but just wanted ot say that tallulah's images are amazing. truly great jody - can you tell her i think so

  5. When I was a child my dear Aunty Jean had the classic kiwi bach at Ohope - we stayed in a small fibre smack on the sand and fished for pipis - I was little so I got to hold the bucket but a big wave.... She sold and the next time I went to Ohope 25 years later there was a mansion on her site. So we stayed at the west end motel ( Jodys).

    I went to the beautiful for arts sake shop and bought my Te Teko farming cousin Koogee a lovely outdoor wall plaque for his wedding. I admired a paua and shell beautiful beautiful bangle in passing - and found it in my handbag when I got back to Sydney courtesy of my cousin Francie who has since moved to Auckland to be a judge.

    I gave up smoking once and for all in Ohope. x

  6. What a beautiful place. Sounds like everyone has their priorities in perspective.

    Enjoy the next leg of your travels.

  7. Hey Jody,

    It's Camilla :)
    Really like your blog, it's lovely. Ohope looks really really beautiful!

    x Camilla

  8. Lovely first dresses ladies. this place looks so so beautiful.

    Helen, X

  9. Surf town and biz owned by women? I'm sold!

  10. I just stumbled across your blog via Nappy Valley Girl. Imagine my surprise to see you were from Ohope and talking about the Pocock gals. I'm a Brit living in Mt Maunganui. My kiwi husband (Jared Roper) is great chums with the Pocock family, particularly their son Michael. I am SEETHING with jealousy at your being in London. Have a wonderful time and I look forward to reading your blog love Jenny

  11. Kind of, all of the above??

    Wow. These women are really 'livin' it up.'

  12. Your hometown is so sweet, it makes me almost teary. It must be so wonderful to be back--I know I'd love to spend a few days there--it's gorgeous!

    xo Mary Jo


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