While Bruce and I have been pondering this 'time out' in Vanuatu, the obvious challenge was ensuring that life at Birdwoods was able to continue at full tilt.
In a wonderful form of 'karmic symmetry' we have been very fortunate to meet Gregg and Kerry Mousely from South Africa who, like us 15 years ago, reached the difficult decision to leave their farm in Clarens in the Free State to start a new life here in New Zealand with their two sons, Connor (17) and Dylan (14). With increasing uncertainty around the compulsory expropriation of farm land in SA, Kerry and Gregg want to provide a more secure and positive future for their boys. Kerry and Gregg have just been granted their working visas for New Zealand with Birdwoods as their sponsors and employers - in a way, giving Bruce and me the chance to pay forward the opportunity we were given to build a new chapter of life in New Zealand.
This is a great outcome for us all - Birdwoods will be in very capable hands with Kerry and Gregg joining our wonderful team, and Bruce and I can head off to the tropics knowing all will be well at home base. The Mouselys have much to offer New Zealand, and we are sure they will be as warmly welcomed and supported by the Hawke's Bay community as was our family 15 years ago. Gregg is going to take on Bruce’s role of looking after the property and the sculptures and Kerry will be working in the Gallery with Julia Whyte. Both have already started at Birdwoods and will move into our house with their boys at the end of February when we leave for Vanuatu.