Every Monday the Chronicle fires 10 questions at someone from the region, revealing their passions and some things you didn't know about them.
Today Lucy Drake speaks with Rangitikei District councillor and Project Marton co-ordinator Cath Ash.
You always seem to have a lot of balls in the air at the same time with Project Marton and being on the Rangitikei District Council. How do you manage it?
When you say it like that it sounds like it should be hard. Sometimes it might be an interesting challenge, but never hard. The synergy between the two roles just really seems to flow. The immense potential for our community inspires me and excites me. I guess that excitement keeps me going, wanting to do more. I used to strive for some mythical and elusive work/life balance until it dawned on me, this is life!
People have talked about silver linings and newfound inspiration during the coronavirus crisis. Were there any of those for you?
Oh yes. I loved the opportunity to take time to breathe, pray, meditate and dream big. I tried to learn yoga; however, my dogs attempted to participate so that wasn't terribly successful. I used the virtual tours and visited a whole lot of gorgeous galleries and historic places around the world - loved that I could experience them without queues and crowds.
You have been planning and coordinating events for the Rangitikei District for a number of years now. Has there been a standout moment for you?
Any event where the community celebrates together makes my heart sing. We are about creating real magical memories for our community members. I love Market Day, and I think of the Harvest Festival as our baby. Thousands of people descend on Marton, family members come from far and wide, including my own. That connection is special. Last year we hosted a wedding - smack bang in the middle of the event, that was special to be able to give away such a cool prize, and introduce people to the majesty of the Rangitikei region. On a smaller scale, but just as inspiring, is the spirit that has been created at the community garden.
What is one piece of advice you would give to your 20-year-old self?
Be bold, don't fear failure, embrace every failure as a learning opportunity. I like the quote of Napoleon Hill: "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit". I would also strongly advise to be authentic, protect your integrity, lead with your heart. And eat your greens.
What might surprise us about you?
I'm a terribly shy introvert.
What do you enjoy doing during your downtime when you're not busy with council or Project Marton?
I tend to hang out with my dogs, bounce ideas off them. I love that they are always so eager to hear about my dreams and thoughts. We love going bush a little. Getting a little muddy, kind of get in touch with the earth a bit. I love to read, anything that teaches me something new, or a new perspective on something old. I also like to garden quite a bit and, with the help of a couple of good books, have discovered a new-found appreciation for weeds, and snails.
What is your favourite home-cooked meal?
I love kale, pumpkin and broccoli, or a really good green salad with loads of different sprouts. Pair it up with some garlic, a great dressing, some toasted nuts and seeds, divine. Maybe throw in some fried halloumi cheese. Frustratingly, I am a real rubbish cook and never have much time to prepare anything. I often end up supporting our local food establishments, but if I could have kale every day I would.
And what would be your go-to music?
My early years I was attached to the stereo listening to musicals like Oliver Twist and Fiddler on the Roof, then I evolved into rock and punk appreciation, followed by years spent absorbed in real gritty blues. I love classical music, and especially violin when it's played with real attitude, plus I am in absolute awe of any good vocalist.
Which event from history would you have most liked to attend?
Not too sure about an event, more a time. I would have loved to experience New Zealand when the rivers ran clean before the trees were all felled when moa roamed the forests and Haast's eagle ruled the sky. However, if I had to choose an event, probably Woodstock, or to witness the great Martin Luther King speech, I Have a Dream.
And if you could invite three people from history to come to dinner, who would they be?
That's not much of a dinner party but I would certainly start with Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa. I'm not much for sticking to the rules, so I'd also make sure Jesus and my Grandma was there too.