Christmas Feast 2013: shiny on the inside!

This week we danced to the sweet tunes of MC Babysteppers, we dipped candles, we ate sweet food cooked by Rachel Priestley, and we face-painted and ate ice cream from CommonSense Organics. We celebrated our Christmas party in style with our hard-working little farmers at Epuni School!

Julia has written a ‘thank you’ list over on our Facebook page here, where you can also see more pictures from the day’s events.

Here are a few other photos from our AWESOME Christmas party:

Rachel Priestley from Prodigal Daughter prepared 25kg of potatoes, 10kg of pork, 16 chickens and fed everyone an incredible meal.

Jacqui and Sue, the green forest angels from CommonSense Organics in Lower Hutt, donated ice cream for each of the children. I’ve never seen ice cream disappear so quickly before!

Sue from SuperVery generously gave us all of these beautiful Winnie-the-Pooh badges that she offered as a koha in return for sunflower seeds. We handed them out to all of the Epuni School children as an early Christmas gift:

Our farmers had sunflowers and other beautiful motifs painted on their faces:

And they dipped candles and made stunning colourful Christmas gifts, which they could take home.

Our feast featured in the DomPost the next day too. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this day super special!

Wishing everyone a very sunshiney Christmas season – we’ll be back in the New Year with more sunflower updates, and hopefully lots more photos that show how everyone’s sunflowers are growing.


Koha in the mail this week

Julia has been saving up the mail, and handed me a beautiful bunch of letters and parcels this week.

Thank you Riccarton Primary School in Christchurch, Kelburn Playcentre in Wellington and Putiki Kindergarten in Whanganui for your lovely letters and seeds:

We received this beautiful letter from the tamariki o Nga Hau e Wha at Merivale School in Tauranga, as well as some kamokamo seeds and information about how to grow them. Kia ora – we can’t wait to plant these seeds!

And finally, thank you Mary Ann in Auckland for this amazing sunflowery apron! We think it’s seriously cool and so perfect for our little farmers. I bet there’ll be a race in the kitchen to see who gets to wear it first 😉

What’s the buzz

This week we made the ultimate Sunshine Mobile by upcycling an old BBQ table (cheers Andy!) Doesn’t it look cool?! We also posted out more packets of seeds and did some event planning – see below for more info.


Keep Sunday 24 November, 10.00-11.30am, free for our special Sunshine Day at the Dowse, in Lower Hutt. Check out our world-famous Sunshine Mobile and take home some beautiful sunflower seeds or seedlings for a gold coin donation. Make your own bee sticker, or bring along an empty milk bottle and we’ll help you turn it into a watering can. There will be lots of fun craft activities too – we hope to see you there!


A special tena koe to Tāne this week for decorating such beautiful sunflower seed packets for us. Love your bees Tāne!

Tane packets


Here are two letters that we received from Manurewa Central School and Paremata Kindergarten asking for packets of seeds. Thanks for such colourful letters – we’ve posted your seed packets, so hopefully they arrive soon.


More sharing and kindness

The mail keeps rolling in, bringing with it delicious parcels of kindness from our friends and supporters. Each envelope and parcel is met with huge amounts of excitement from the Epuni School children. Thank you again everyone, this means so much to all of us here.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the lovely koha that we have received lately:

Alex and Tilly from Blenheim sent in this beautiful drawing, along with a $20 note. We love how tall the sunflowers are in your picture Alex 🙂

Pip in Auckland posted us some seeds and liquid plant food. This is seriously useful stuff and we are really grateful – thanks heaps Pip!

Kaye from Grow from Here heard about Project Sunshine and asked if she could have a few packets of seeds, as she will plant them in many of the gardens she works in (check out the beautiful sunflowers on her website!).

In return, she kindly gave us two fruit trees: an apple and a mulberry (Poppy the baby is in the photo to give an idea of how big the trees are!) We will plant these trees in our orchard at the school. Sending you a great big sunshiney ‘hug of thanks’ Kaye.

Phil lives on Waiheke Island and sent us an awesome little package with chocolate, a dinosaur toy & this beautiful feather. He says it’s from a dinosaur. We love it!

Wow Emma – thank you *so* much for your amazing notebooks and pencils. The children were thrilled when they opened your parcel and can’t wait to use them for taking notes in the garden 🙂

Emma and Lucy gave us these packets of vegetable seeds. These are fantastic, as our little farmers will be able to grow them in the school garden and then cook them up for lunch!

Sheryll and Philip sent us some much-needed stamps. And we’ve already used them all up this week posting out over 60 envelopes, so they were incredibly useful.

Finally, today Emma from Heretaunga Kindergarten visited us and brought with her koha from the kindergarten children. Emma said:

“I discussed with the children what we should give as a koha, the most interesting was a picture of Africa and some dinosaur tails, however we have finally agreed on some worm wees from our worm farm. We are part of the enviroschools project so are enjoying the journey of sustainability too.”

And today she delivered two bottles of ‘worm wee’ to Epuni School. Ka rawe, ka pai! We really appreciate your thoughtfulness!

Project Sunshine in the Gulf News

Thank you Phil and Tanya from Waiheke Island, for featuring us in the amazing children’s page ‘Imagined Worlds’, in the Gulf News. You can read the full text of the children’s page below.

It is pretty special that our seeds have travelled all the way up the country to Waiheke Island, where they’ll be grown in the community Food Forest. We hope the sunflowers bring a golden glow to the garden there, and look forward to hearing how they go.

Grow well little seeds!

Sharing and kindness

Our little project is starting to feel like something quite special indeed, as we have started receiving envelopes and handfuls full of koha for the children at Epuni School. We’ve also received envelopes with financial donations and bank payments as well – and so far we’ve fundraised over $100 to go towards beehives at the school.

Wow! Thank you everybody – this means so much to us, and really shows the children that acts of kindness do go a long way.

We thought you might like to see some of the lovely things that people have posted, delivered or handed to us to give to the Project Sunshine children:


Sam from Hamilton grows giant pumpkins. He has an awesome website full of growing information and tips and tricks on how to grow the biggest, fattest and best giant pumpkin! In exchange for a packet of sunflower seeds, Sam sent a packet of giant pumpkins seeds for the children to grow, along with some good planting information.


Diane Turner gave us a selection of bean seeds she has saved from her own garden. Some of the beans are heritage varieties and Diane also sent some lovely stories about the history of the plants – where they came from, who introduced them into New Zealand and how the beans are best eaten.

Tutaekuri potatoes from Rob

Rob gave us a handful of purple tutaekuri Maori potatoes. These look and taste different to the sort of potatoes you usually see for sale in markets and the supermarkets. Rob says they grow really well and are beautiful in salads. They’re also bright purple on the inside and we can’t wait to see how they grow.

Envelopes and stamps from Kara

Kara gave us a large amount of envelopes and a box of stamps, so we can keep sending out packets of seeds around the country. This has helped us immensely – thanks Kara!

Jam from Kelda

Kelda is an awesome chef at Nikau Cafe, jam maker extraordinaire, and a gardener at the Brooklyn Community Orchard. In exchange for a few packets of seed for the orchard, Kelda gave us these beautiful jars of jam and marmalade for the children and other helpers at Epuni School. We think it will be absolutely delicious on the Purebread that is frequently gifted to the children at Epuni School. Such a treat 🙂