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Cup of tea with a slice of life

Charlotte Harding, son Finn, and husband Clayton, of Martinborough. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Lisa Urbani

Charlotte Harding, 43, calls herself an ‘ideas generator’, with good reason.

As a new immigrant from the United Kingdom, Charlotte first lived in Auckland, and then relocated to Martinborough in 2015, with her partner Clayton.

Finding the community to be very welcoming, she had no hesitation in joining the choir in her first week, and “throwing herself in” as she put it.

Within weeks, she discovered that she was pregnant and also acquired a canine companion in the form of Alfie, her wheaten terrier.

This led her to join a dog walking group and thus meeting more people.

She said that “living halfway around the world from my family means I have a gap of love to give, and I do that by getting involved in projects that light me up and recharge me.”

Once her son, Finn 4, was old enough, one of her first projects was the Martinborough Toy Library.

She really appreciated this community service which allows families to have a place where they can meet, at the Wahinga Centre in the heart of the village.

Now working for the Martinborough Business Association in her capacity as secretary, she said that she truly feels passionate about her hometown.

“The community is amazing, so rich and diverse, as are all the towns in Wairarapa.”

Charlotte was asked to get involved in the Dark Sky project which aims to create the largest dark sky reserve in the world, and to gain official recognition as a dark sky reserve by the US-based International Dark Sky Association.

In order to do this Martinborough, Carterton, and Masterton would combine to form almost 6000km2 of reserve by minimising light pollution and maximising community support.

“A lot of my passion now embraces my son and his future.

“The potential is so exciting; I can often be found gazing in wonder and now I have a pair of binoculars to get a little bit closer.”

She also enjoys working one day a week at Mint in Martinborough, a home goods store, with an emphasis on kitchenware, just to keep a foot in the retail world.

Always generating new ideas, Charlotte started her own group called Tea with a Slice of Life, a monthly meeting over tea, where different women can connect and inspire each other.

The idea is for them to share their life journeys as openly and honestly as they can, but given the current situation, she planned to take it online.

It will be a weekly virtual event, whereby someone in the group will chat about a specific theme.

Anyone who is interested is welcome to drop in and connect on the Facebook group Tea with a Slice of Life.

Charlotte was honoured by the South Wairarapa Rotary Club, who presented her with the Rotary Pride of Workmanship Award, at a ceremony in the Anzac Hall in Featherston.

Nominated by Allan Hogg the chairman of the Martinborough Business Association, this award was for her contribution to activities.

Charlotte was delighted to be chosen for the Rotary award.

“I love this community, the people and my life here and it is no effort to do all the things I do.

“We are each unique individuals with a story, and I love discovering that story, the magic that everyone has.

“I can always see the potential for two becoming even better together, so I love introducing people because magic happens in collaboration.”

For the moment, she and Clayton – whom she praised for his support – and Finn and Alfie, will be slowing down and trying to simplify, but looking for fun and creativity.

“Adventures in your backyard are some of the best to be had, and who doesn’t love some dancing action in the kitchen!”

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