Friday, December 9, 2022


Moutere Hills Community Centre Country Christmas Market 2022

The annual Moutere Hills Community Centre Country Christmas Market was back on again for 2022 on a sunny day on the 3rd of December. Many people from all over Tasman and Nelson enjoyed a wonderful day out in the beautiful Moutere Hills and the lovely kept Moutere Hills Community Centre.

It was a wonderful family day with something for everyone to purchase before Christmas; be it gifts of all kinds, crafts, artisan products, food and more.

I managed to find Katrina McLean the Facilities Manager of the Moutere Hills Community Centre, she said “it’s nice to have things back happening again like this Country Market as we are fundraising for the Community Centre - any profit we make from the market today will go towards a community outdoor recreation space which we would like to develop for the community.”

“I am very grateful to all the store-holders, 90 in all, that have turned out today, amazing quality of goods that they are selling and grateful for all the support from people coming out to the market, supporting the local artisans and different produces of goods, when there are so many other events on, at this time of the year  - we are very lucky for the support.”

Katrina McLean the Facilities Manager of the Moutere Hills Community Centre

I asked Katrina about the Community Centre and she commented “we are in a great setting here in the Moutere Hills for the Community Centre, it is beautiful, it is a great facility and we are very lucky to have it. This is a great community to be a part of, an interesting community to be in and believe it or not, I have been manager here for about 12 years now, it’s scary when I think about it, but the community are so great.”

The Moutere Hills Community Centre

Katrina outlined for us a broad picture of what goes on at the Community Centre, “a wide variety of community events happen here like this Christmas Market, Moutere Hop have big events here as well, regular social sports activities so people can come along and play volleyball, basketball and many other social sports.”

“We have different work shops and different recreation activities like yoga and different groups that come and use the centre, we also have a fitness centre that is open the majority of the time and lots of bookings for corporate events as well.”

“For the youth we have different sports clubs that are part of the centre, the Upper Moutere Tennis Club, Rangers Rugby Club and Rangers Football Club. The Upper Moutere Play Group are based here also, basketball and fitness classes that one can attend at the centre as well.

Does Katrina enjoy her job? “I do! - I love it! - it’s a lot of variety - some challenges - but I enjoy working in the community and I stay positive!

The Community Centre spare carpark is full

Vicki Lewis and Keith Best were a couple of helpers at the Community Centre serving coffee and drinks during the market.

Vicki Lewis and Keith Best

Vicki volunteers at the centre at times and teaches a stretch and flex class, which is yoga, twice a week at the centre. 

Keith Best does the Accounts Administration for the Community Centre and general work around the centre like helping at functions and events, helping set up and pack down after events and functions which is a big job.

Keith and his wife own a property next-door to the centre and run sheep and cattle.

Keith said “ I just work part time at the Community Centre, I very much enjoy it, as you are working with a great bunch of people.” I have been told he does a lot around the Community Centre.

The Community Centre Grounds

There were many amazing stalls at the Christmas Country Market, everything from beautiful hand-knitted tea cosies to delicious salamis, outstandingly beautiful baby clothes to bric-a-brac, Christmas printed toilet paper to finer art and jewellery, plenty to eat and music, too many to cover in this brief article, but some of the stalls and features that stood out for me were as follows:

Music Bella and Bella

Music by Bella and Bella from Motueka

Bella and Bella, both friends from Motueka, were busking at the market just for fun.

Their easy listening vocals were exceptional accompanied by the delicate sound of their guitar. It was lovely background music. Bella and Bella set the mood nicely for the market.

Inside the community Centre

Shona McLean  Artist 

Shona McLean  Artist  from Mapua

Well-known Mapua artist and ceramic maker Shona McLean and her husband, Martin, were at the market showing Shona’s paintings, cards and ceramics.

Shona McLean’s art radiates the joy of life and the natural world – the pleasures of picnics, beaches, dancing and wine.

“We used to have a gallery in Mapua, but when I got fed up with it  I closed it and turned it into accommodation, so now I sell art and ceramics at markets and in shows and other places - I don’t take life too seriously anymore” Shona said and she and her husband have turned the art studio into part of their home stay accommodation business. 

The purpose-built studio ‘Laughing Fish Studio’ is now ‘Laughing Fish Studio Accommodation.’ Email:

Teena Jelsma  ‘Neudorf Black’ (Black Garlic)

Teena Jelsma from ‘Neudorf Black’

Teena Jelsma was at the market. Teena is from Neudorf Road where she and her husband have a business called ‘Neudorf Black,’ which Teena calls ‘Black Deliciousness on Neudorf Road.’

Teena said “we have been making black garlic for three years, but we didn’t invent it, as it has been made in Asia for six hundred years where they have been eating it for vitality and taste.”

She goes to a lot of markets like the Nelson Market and has stock in stores around the region and they are online at

Teena Jelsma told me, “you can’t grow black garlic you have to make it by cooking fresh garlic for 6 weeks and through that time it caramelises through to black which creates beautiful sweet balsamic flavours —cooking out the volatiles that may give you bad breath. As it changes colour the flavour deepens,” she went on, “it is good for you, we sell it on its flavour, a little bit in your cooking goes a long way.”

Another product she sells is Garlic Essence, the juice that comes from the garlic as it is cooked, which can be put into salads and stir-fries. It tastes lovely!

Jessica Douglas ‘Forage and Fox’

Jessica Douglas  from ‘Forage and Fox’

On my travels around the market I met a young stall holder Jessica Douglas  from ‘Forage and Fox,’ florist and artist, who had a glorious stall of dried flowers. A stall which flower lovers just shouldn’t miss.

She is just starting off with her wonderful talent with dried flowers and has been to quite a few markets. Jessica said “some markets are really good, it is wonderful and lovely to meet everybody - everyone loves the dried flowers because they last forever and have something extra special about them.”

Jessica is growing her own wildflowers and other flowers she can dry, but she told me that at the moment she is collecting a lot of flowers from her Grand-parent’s lovely garden. She said the bees love the wild flowers when she is growing them.

She said “it’s lovely being at the Country Christmas Market today, I was here last year as well, it’s really good to see everyone out and about and there are some amazing stall holders here, so nice to see all the local talent.”

Look out for Jessica Douglas from ‘Forage and Fox’ at a market near you, as a start-up business she needs all our support. You can email Jessica at or on Instagram @forageandfox

Gabrielle Milme  ‘Little Wild Kitchen’

Gabrielle Milme  ‘Little Wild Kitchen’

Gabrielle Milme runs the beautiful ‘Little Wild Kitchen.’  Definitely have a look at her website and her email is, her baking is to die for.

Gabrielle commented “I have always enjoyed baking, it is in the family, I have baked at a few cafes around the region since I was about 16 and then I decided to go out on my own as I love it! - I thought I may as well make a business out of what you love.” She makes an array of cakes and slices plus “I also do cakes for all occasions birthdays, weddings, and all that sort of thing and have all dietary requirements of my own, so I opened a range of slices that are dairy free, gluten free and sugar free” 

I asked Gabrielle if she enjoys baking for dietary requirements. She said “yes absolutely love it and many customers come to me as there aren’t many options around the region.”

Gabrielle goes to an array of markets, the Mapua Market on Sunday, the Sundial Square Social Market on Wednesday evening and the Isle Park Market on Thursday evening.

If you haven’t tried Gabrielle’s baking do so, it’s a little wild!

Members of the public attending the market: 

Lyn Smith and Anne-Maree Therkleson

Lyn Smith and Anne-Maree Therkleson were two of many at the County Christmas Market and Lyn is from Mapua and Anne-Maree is from Richmond. Lyn is well known in the local community for supporting the community in her own very special way and Anne-Maree is a well known Tango Teacher, Pilates Teacher and Tango event organiser.

Like many stallholders and small business owners, Anne-Maree has had a hard time during the Covid period. She does a lot for the community at sometimes a high emotional and financial cost to herself.  "it is important to try and keep going to ride the difficult times.  We all just want the energy and opportunities to get back to pre-covid times".

Anne-Maree holds many Tango events that bring, not only people from throughout New Zealand, but people from throughout the word to Tasman and Nelson and other regions around New Zealand. A local up-coming Summer event, she told me, “‘Summer Tango in Nelson’ brings many people to Tasman and Nelson who will spend money on accommodation and local businesses and the event itself, the hiring of halls and obtaining goods, services and food, for the event, all goes back into the local economy”. 

Anne-Maree's email address for anyone interested in Pilates or Tango classes in 2023 is "I'd love to see you there trying something new!"

Lyn Smith and Anne-Maree Therkleson

Lyn said “…the Moutere is on my back-door step, it is a beautiful area and the last few years have been tough for local artisans here and the produce from here is outstanding. It’s worth coming and having a look at the outstanding array of different skills, abilities and items people are creating here. It’s no hardship to come, have a look and be part of this Country Market. I have enjoyed it and I have brought so many things that will be handy for Christmas.”

Lyn went on to say what she had brought at the market. “It is delightful and sad, I have brought some little fragrance bottles for the car or room defuses and I am sad as it is the last of the stock, as Covid has been hard on this particular store holder and so she is selling up. Her wears are beautiful, her candles are beautiful and the fragrances are very different from what you would normally come across.”

“I also brought some wonderful art-work from Shona McLean who is from Mapua and brought some lovely cards from her as well.”

Lyn was so excited as she went on “I have found a stall-holder that has the most divine absolutely guilt-free slices (Little Wild Kitchen), a lovely young woman here, no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, and absolutely delicious so I’m going back for some more!”

And she said “I haven’t finished yet! It’s a lovely day, a gorgeous event and I hope it all goes well for the organisers as they want it too.” Lyn thinks the Country Christmas Market  has always been linked to the wonderful Moutere Hills Community Centre and the market has been going for a number of years and growing every year.

I asked Lyn if she had been to the Community Centre for other events and she continued “they will often have markets here and during winter I came up to one that was a Farmers Market and the produce were so cheap that it saddened me, as I don’t know how they could survive selling it that cheap, but it does remind one about buying local and supporting local, as it was a huge difference from supermarket prices and the produce was beautiful, fresh grown.”

Lyn Smith summed up her experience of the day as “delightful here today” and Anne-Maree summed up her day as “a mad day of Christmas shopping in an idyllic setting.”


An orphan goat called Feta attended the market as well  accompanied by her owners Hanna and Corey who were enjoying the day with Feta following behind.

Hanna, Corey and Feta the orphan goat 

Corey said “Feta’s mother was killed at Collingwood, according to campers in the area, two weeks before they found her. She was a little unnourished without her mother's milk so we took pity on the animal and couldn’t leave her there without help.” 

Corey went on “we took her to the vet for a check-up, she is now okay after feeding Feta well and now Feta is 3 months old, follows us everywhere and we have a lawn mower!”

Hanna and Corey had come with their mascot Feta to support the market in Upper Moutere as they are marketeers themselves at the free market in Richmond and like to support other marketeers.

Overall, the Christmas Market was indeed a pleasant day out for many people. Thank you to everyone who agreed to take part in this article, it was your day out. Thanks to Lyn who summed up the days proceedings well and you may notice that many women were featured here, which is a characteristic of this area, where many women have stepped forward to take a leading role.

Pigeon Post News,   Richmond

Volunteer Online News, Tasman.

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