Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Spirit of ‘Koha’

On Sunday two dear friends came to visit the farm with their children. They brought with them some new little additions to the farm, some wee baby roosters. We had a great time, and as they were leaving we stumbled on a topic that has been giving me cause for dilemma. Vicky patiently listened as I explained, and then she gave me the perfect answer….’the spirit of Koha’.
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‘Koha’ is a Maori term for ‘giving what you are able’, and this is how I want the Sanctuary side of the farm to be run. In days gone by, Koha was the accepted way to make a gift or donation to the host of the Marae (Maori meeting house) that you were visiting. People from different ‘iwi’ (tribes) would gather and bring what they were able. For some from the south island this could be NZ greenstone (Jade) for others it could be woven flax, provisions and so on. In those days some could take offence if a person giving ‘koha’ had an abundance but gave very little, as a sign of disrespect to the host, and some deliberately did so to show displeasure. But that was then…..
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Today however, ‘Koha’ boxes are perfectly acceptable and are less offensive than putting up a ‘donations welcome’ box, which usually infers a gift of money. Koha however does not, and is widely used throughout New Zealand. To give in the ‘spirit of Koha’ means to give what you can, and if you have nothing to give… that’s ok too. This was the perfect solution to my dilemma.

The Farm will have NO intake fees for any animals, NO huge amounts of paperwork to fill out, and NO long list of strict criteria for rehoming. I want to give our spare land to rehoming farm animals, and create a ‘farm experience’ and pleasant atmosphere to potential new ‘rehomers’. When they come here they will be able to see chickens free ranging, feed the ducks, get to meet their new pet in a beautiful secure picnic/petting area, and are able to ask about any history known, feed requirements, and care needed etc.

I think this personal friendly approach is what helps build confidence in potential new owners, and we can stress our only criteria is they go to a loving ‘forever’ home, which means they are not to be used for meat. A low but reasonable rehoming fee ensures we are able to cover the costs of collection, feed, rehabilitation, and any possible veterinary care we may need to enable a rescued animal to be happy, healthy and ready for rehoming with new owners.

So much ‘red tape’ sometimes deters people from taking an unwanted animal to a place of rescue. By removing pages of paperwork, intake fees, and adopting the ‘spirit of Koha’ we hope to help save more animals from a needless death, or abandonment.

We shall make it clear too, that we are NOT a public charity, organisation, or animal rights movement etc. We ARE however a privately owned existing farm, that is donating a few ‘Little Acres’ to rescuing farm animals as a non profit organisation.  Therefore we do NOT seek public funding, but donations of ‘koha’ will be perfectly acceptable for our cause.

We believe in good will, and have met so many kind and caring people in our field of work.  Therefore we embrace the ‘spirit of Koha’ on our farm as the way to operate, and we too can ‘pay it forward’ to help save more lives. - J

1 comment :

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