Photography Kara Rosenlund for  Country Style  

Photography Kara Rosenlund for Country Style 


When I was asked from the earliest age what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would proudly state “a mother”. It would make people laugh. They didn’t think I understood the question. The fact is, that was all I ever really wanted to be. Women’s lib was at full force in the 60’s. University, career, travel, all possibilities for women for the very first time and my dreams and aspirations were… motherhood!

As a child I remember being cuddled up in bed with my little sister telling her stories, where the queen of all the fairies {who lucky for her was me} ruled supreme over the fairy kingdom! Sometimes in the dark, to their terror, I would tell scary stories to my cousins and little brother. To me, the sum of their fear equaled the quality of the story telling. I would relate stories to my parents about school, mimicking the teachers and I would keep going until they couldn’t breathe with laughter. Which is a bit weird seeing I hated school so much and spent my days trying to figure out ways not to go, counting the years, months and days until I could leave. Which I did on my 15th birthday.

All my dreams and aspirations were realised at 19 years old when my baby daughter was born and the years that followed with four sons. Everything I wanted to teach them I put in a story. Now they are grown up, they would say I talk too much and they don’t need to hear all these stories but lucky for me I have grandchildren, who haven’t heard all my stories. The only difference is, I now have the time to write them down, so my great, great, great grandchildren will still hear my voice and hopefully it will make them smile.


Kelly is my first born and only daughter. She was born to the sound of Neil Diamond's “Hot August Night”. Not exactly to it but my dancing certainly got things started. I think this might have something to do with why she is not happy without music. Even as a baby she would head bang to the beat and right on beat, I might add. By the age of three her obsession was ABBA! Every move, every gesture, she had down pat.

Putting on performances for all our neighbours and anyone who would stop and listen, she would put on her records and you would get a performance of Grease, West Side Story, The Oz, Thriller and on and on the list goes…There was never a question of what would she do when she grew up, it was always music… and everyone who knew her, knew it! As a mother she would sing the sweetest of lullabies to her own baby girl, Toia. The same funny little songs that I had sung to her. And so the beat goes on….

The sound of Kelly singing through the years of her life has bought so much happiness. From her three-year-old voice singing ABBA, to the songs she has written for the babies of our family, the sound of her voice has, and always will, fill my heart with joy.


Toia grew up as though she was the younger sister to her four uncles, sitting on the front of their skateboards as they skated to the beach or swam across the river to play rugby in the park. Toia was always a part of their life and she a part of theirs. Nothing gave me more pleasure than the sight of my four tall, strong sons walking back from the beach with a two-year-old Toia on their shoulders. To watch my children and the next generation genuinely care, love and be there for each other is all I could really ask for.

I think she may have been three years old when she would only roar when spoken to. The Lion King was her reality and she was Simba, rarely leaving character. She could speak, she just chose not to and this was the beginning of her love for performing.

The truth is that Toia has the heart and soul of the tribes that she has descended from. Sioux Indian, Maori and Fijian blood run through her veins and she seems to bring their ancient wisdom and knowing to everything she does. Toia is not only a talented musician, she is a gifted writer who has been involved with all aspects of our projects, from songwriting to poems and stories. She is our gift from heaven. Her talents are only surpassed by her nature, a kind, gentle soul who brings light and joy to our world.