“When I make a promise there is no room for failure and so I was determined to make it to Ruby’s home in Putere.”

Ruby and I met at a little birthday party at Ronald McDonald House in Auckland several years ago.  Ruby and I danced together and afterwards I learned from her Dad that she was born without a fully functioning heart. He invited me to visit them on their farm in the Hawkes Bay if I could ever make it.  I promised I would.


When I arrived in the middle of nowhere after a 6.5 hour drive I realised how lucky I was to have this truck Kiwi experience. I was unprepared for such an extraordinary 3 days on a farm in the Hawkes Bay but I totally loved it.

I had my first opportunity to head out hunting before dawn. Usually I would aim for a mini sleep in and a couple of cappuccinos before a give-back event, but this time I found myself straddling a tractor, with a rifle at the ready, pointing out deer!

The school was the next surprise. A wonderful calm spot in the midst of farmland. A few children enrolled, all of primary and middle school ages, who studied together and supported each other in their learning. This was their first ever class of cooking together with Vietnamese ingredients which we then took out to eat picnic style under the tress.

Ruby was the hero for the day and we are still in touch today as she forges forward at High School in Napier.