Kiwi Karen Part 2

Written by AHQ

9 December 2013

Greetings all,

While the Sydney Pot Luck Dinner is on, and around 25 of us are feasting on assorted yummy foods, the rest of you get to read part two of the story of Kiwi Karen’s quilts.

Her third recipient came from the Joint Movements Coordination Centre (JMCC) in Al Minhad Air Base.  When I received his request his name made me suspect that he was another Kiwi and then when he said his favourite colour was black I decided it was worth checking with him. Sure enough I was right and Karen’s next request was confirmed.  I am sorry but this is the clearest photo I have.  Aoteraroa was included again as was the national anthem and this time Karen added lots of other details.  Both the Royal Australian Artillery Badge and the Royal Australian Corps of Transport badge were added plus pictures of NZ native birds.  

There really isn’t a big blank section in the middle of the quilt but the clever tech guru has hidden a picture of the recipient and his name.  That funny black and white animal is a honey badger which is the unofficial mascot of the JMCC and the wagon wheel you can see is their patch. 

This quilt, for some reason, took quite a while to get to the recipient but it was worth waiting for.  

Well you will be happy to know my quilt found me safe and well. WOW!!!! What an amazing job Kiwi Karen did. I am so grateful, thank you ever so much. It is perfect. You guys are doing such an amazing job thank you very much. I will be sure to write back to Kiwi Karen in the coming days to express my thanks. 

Two more quilts came along for Karen.   It is quite amazing actually that Karen would just about finish one quilt and another would come along. It may be tempting fate but at the moment Karen is busy with other things and is not in a position to take on another Kiwi quilt and guess what, none have presented themselves!  

The next quilt was a request from a wife. She told me that her husband’s favourite colour was black and that he loves all things NRL and rugby and more specifically, Warriors or All Blacks.  Well that seemed like a dead giveaway so I just had to check.  Sure enough we had another ex-Kiwi on our books – kind of makes you wonder if there are any left over there…..  🙂

Once the quilt was completed we had a lovely thank you from his wife 

Hi, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Kiwi Karen for the amazing quilt and laundry bag she made for my husband.  The little things always count and it makes me proud to know that others appreciate what military men do.  Thank you again.

Karen received a bundle of Kiwi goodies and a lovely card that read in part

Thank you so much for the beautiful quilt and laundry bag.  Its good to know people back home are thinking of us.  I hope you enjoy these treats and they don’t make you to home sick

Take care

Karen’s final quilt (for now) was for another Kiwi that I found. This time I did some snooping and found a Kiwi who was deployed as part of the 2 Cavalry Task Group.  I had a Kiwi themed tea towel laundry bag, courtesy of Bev, and it needed a home.  I asked a few questions of the right people and guess what!  Another ex-pat Kiwi and another project for Karen. 

The background fabric was chosen because Karen thought it looked like a basketweave. The other fabrics are New Zealand prints.

Under the flag we have 

Blue Koru – NZ Heritage

Kaka Beak – Red Ponga Koru
Green Koru – Tiki

In case you were wondering…

The koru (Maori for “loop”) is a spiral shape based on the shape of a new unfurling silver fern frond and symbolizing new life, growth, strength and peace. It is an integral symbol in Maori art, carving and tattoos. The circular shape of the koru helps to convey the idea of perpetual movement while the inner coil suggests a return to the point of origin.

And Kaka Beak Flower…

is a shrub found only in New Zealand.   It is a member of the pea family and its closest relatives are in Australia – don’t know about you but it reminds me of Sturt’s Desert Pea.  In spring it produces stunning large red flowers which hang in clusters of 15-20 blooms.  I think they are rather stunning!

And the Tiki?

The term is also used in Maori Mythlogy where Tiki is the first man, created by one of the Gods. He found the first woman in a pond – she seduced him and he became the father of daughter.

Here is one story of Tiki among the many variants: Tiki was lonely and craved company. One day, seeing his reflection in a pool, he thought he had found a companion, and dived into the pool to seize it. The image shattered and Tiki was disappointed. He fell asleep and when he awoke he saw the reflection again. He covered the pool with earth and it gave birth to a woman. 

And another lovely thank you message for her as well.  I had to edit a lot out of this one as I don’t include any personal information about families and there was a lot of this shared in this letter but this is what I can comfortably share.

Kia Ora Karen,
I just received the amazing quilt you made for me and I just cannot believe the effort and genoristy you and your fellow quilters put into these beautiful pieces. A very big thank you from me and I will certainly treasure my quilt. Can you also please pass on my sincere thanks to your Aunty Mary and Daughter Pene for their contributions. It was great to know about the story behind the quilt. You certainly sound like a busy lady, and dedicating your quiet moments to Aussie Hero Quilts means a lot to me and other serving men and women who have received similar gifts.
Well Karen, I cannot thank you enough for your gift. That reminds me, thanks heaps for the biscuits and lollies, I actually use to go past the Griffinns factory every day during my teenage years, so the biscuits brought a smile to me face.
Kind regards

This brings me to a final special mention about Karen’s quilts.  The very first time I met Karen, I also met her lovely daughter Pene.  It is Pene who funds many of her mother’s Aussie Hero Quilts and this should not go unmentioned.  I think it is a lovely thing for mother and daughter to unite in this matter for this cause.  Also, Karen’s Aunty Mary, who lives in New Zealand has provided the flags that Karen has used in the quilts.   Thanks Aunty Mary.

Till next time………………….keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

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