Question Time: The owner of Taranaki’s lavender hideaway

Pihama Lavender owner Liz Sinclair talks about the perks of her job in such an idyllic setting. (File photo).

Simon O’Connor/Stuff

Pihama Lavender owner Liz Sinclair talks about the perks of her job in such an idyllic setting. (File photo).

Located around the Taranaki coast, Pihama Lavender specialises in handmade lavender products and monthly artisan markets. Stephanie Ockhuysen talks to owner Liz Sinclair about the blooming business.

Tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a Kiwi who has travelled around the world for a number of years before returning in 2014 and buying Pihama Lavender.

What do you do at Pihama Lavender?

I primarily grow lavender and distil the essential oil and hydrosol. These products are used to create further products. I sell all of these in the shop on site.

This shop also sells locally sourced art and craft as well as my own art. I have accommodation as well.

Then I run Growers and Makers Markets on the third Sunday of the month depending on weather. The picturesque gardens are popular all year round for other events.

The biggest perk of Sinclair’s job are the idyllic surroundings, she says.


The biggest perk of Sinclair’s job are the idyllic surroundings, she says.

What did you do before Pihama Lavender?

Before Pihama Lavender I was living in Melbourne, Australia, where I had my own little business.

What is the biggest perk of your job?

Of course the biggest perk of my job must be the idyllic surroundings. Every day seems a blessing in this part of Taranaki. This overplayed by the friendliness of the people make living and working her such a pleasure.

What is the biggest challenge of your job?

I’d say the biggest challenge of this job is managing some of the tasks on my own. I’m not getting any younger and some of the work is physically taxing. I’m lucky to have a pool of people I can call on for help.

What does your average day look like?

I wake up with the birds every morning. Most mornings I take time to have a coffee and catch up with newspapers from around the country and world. Then I set off outdoors to do whatever is planned based on time of year, weather and what events are coming up.

Maintenance of the six acre garden is time-consuming but enjoyable. The accommodation needs turning around after guests and has its own garden. In summer, I distil oil every day. In winter there is other maintenance.

I generally come in just before dark and in the weekends I man the shop and gallery, so my work is every day.

What are your tips for growing lavender?

Lavender is a native of the Mediterranean. Consequently, it prefers free draining alkaline soil.

People who have difficulty growing lavender usually try too hard, that is water and fertilise too much. The most important thing is to keep it pruned well. This is difficult with varieties like Dentata as they never stop flowering. Lavender grows very well from cuttings

How has Covid affected your business?

Of course Covid has affected my business. Before Covid a lot of my accommodation guests came from overseas. Lockdowns meant I couldn’t use the helpers I normally do. Markets have been intermittent due to number limits. I have set up an online store and this has been supported well.

What is your favourite place in Taranaki?

Taranaki has many wonderful places to visit. I really love walks around Opunake Lake and Middleton Beach with my dog.

What motivates you?

I love the environment and creativity. These are my inspiration.

I love the way the community supports me, so they are probably my motivation.

I intend to continue developing my garden in a sustainable way.

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