Heaven and Earth, and moldavite

06 Jan 2022

Moldavite is a meteorite that plunged onto our planet nearly 15 million years ago. Dark green in colour and gnarled by extreme heat, this remarkable rock has significantly influenced the lives of Tairua couple, Kathy Warner and Robert Simmons. 

The energetic qualities of Moldavite are said to include synchronicity and transformation, and as Kathy relaxes in her grandmother’s old rocking chair, with a lovely ocean view from her lounge, she reflects on this and on her life. Kathy’s grandmother was a full-blooded American Indian of the Ojibwa tribe. There are 250 tribes throughout America, each with their own culture and language. The Ojibwa’s homeland is around northern Michigan, Ontario and the Great Lakes. 

“My people would fish in the summer months and hunt during winter,” says Kathy. “They did a lot of leather and bead work and made baskets from porcupine quills. My great-grandmother was a spiritual healer. Her daughter, my grandmother, lived in the era when younger children were taken away from their families and put in boarding schools so that her connection with their language, culture and religion was taken away.”

Kathy’s grandmother had a big influence on her life. “She was a very spiritual woman and role model on how to live life with integrity,” says Kathy. “She was also a good businesswoman. She used to have a hot dog and chili stand for tourists during the summer months and she was a very organised person. I remember every morning she would sit quietly in her rocking chair (which Kathy now sits in) and read something inspiring. She was a beautiful soul.”

Kathy says witnessing her grandmother’s organisational skills has helped her over the years. As a young mother with mathematical and creative abilities, she returned to study and then embarked on a career in electrical and mechanical engineering. When Kathy and Robert’s paths crossed there was an even bigger shift in her life as they fell in love and were engaged within weeks. Less than a year later they were married, and with Kathy’s son and Robert’s son, they became a family.

The day after they got married Kathy and Robert opened their first shop in Massachusetts, combining Robert’s love for making jewellery and Kathy’s interest in crystals. They named it “Heaven and Earth”.

The year before they met, Robert was looking for a gem to incorporate in his jewellery designs. By chance - though one may anticipate debate with Kathy and Robert on the roots of chance - he read an old publication featuring a Czechoslovakian tektite suitable for jewellery making. Twenty-six years after that article was published, Robert located the author and moldavite, a fascinating stone they bought and then sold in their shop. Robert and Kathy’s small but popular shop flourished.

 “People all over the world heard about us having Moldavite and they told others,” says Kathy. “We were just a tiny shop, but we started getting international people flying from Europe to buy it. It was a wild time.”

Their next step was creation of a mail order business. This online business, based in America, now employs 10 people.

As Kathy and Robert’s business expanded, they travelled to teach crystal workshops. And it was a on their way to Australia in 2010 that they discovered the charms of New Zealand and the Coromandel. “It only took about four days before we knew we needed to move here,” says Kathy. “We spotted an immigration office in Tauranga, walked in and started the process to make New Zealand our home. After a few return visits, Tairua won our hearts and was the place we wanted to live. Now we love the town and the wonderful sense of community here.” 

When the old Shell’s Restaurant space became available for rent five years ago, Kathy and Robert decided to open a new “Heaven and Earth” in Tairua. “It has been really fun having the shop in Tairua and being involved in the community,” says Kathy.

The couple have been working together for nearly 36 years. So how does a marriage as well as a business partnership work? “We work well together because we both have our individual areas of responsibility,” says Kathy. “We may discuss things in general, but we have the final say on our own areas of the business.”

Kathy’s top four stones are moldavite, turquoise, moonstone and morganite. 

Displayed beside the beauty of the crystals in Kathy and Robert’s Tairua shop are some of Kathy’s unique collages. She did her first collages when at high school recalls decorating the wall of a tiny bathroom when she was flatting. “I pasted a collage of pictures all over the wall to make it cheerful,” she laughs. “I wonder what the next tenant thought if it.”

Kathy has held workshops on Inner Treasures Collage, which she says is a form of meditation and inner exploration. “I find that creating a collage is a way for my psyche or the divine to speak to me or to reveal something that I wasn’t fully aware of,” she says. “It takes you on an inner journey.”

This deep process starts with cutting out images selected intuitively from a variety of magazines and pasting them on a board or card.

“I think the most important thing we can do is to be kind and compassionate, and bring love into the world,” says Kathy. “I have never followed a particular philosophy or religion because I’ve always felt that the germ of truth is at the essence of all of them. No matter what names people use for the divine, we are all talking about the same being, The Great Spirit, as my ancestors said.

“I think the divine presents in different ways that people can relate to. It is all one.”

Kathy loves growing vegetables and there is an abundance of them in her garden as well as lovely roses and hydrangeas. And at their home, surrounded by the beauty of nature and their favourite crystals, Kathy and Robert have continued the fun of their Christmas tradition. “We always watch the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, on Christmas Eve and then watch the Scrooge movie, ‘The Christmas Carol’ on Christmas Day, it’s fun,” smiles Kathy.

Pictured: Kathy Warner relaxes in her grandmother’s rocking chair as she reflects on how she came to be in Tairua.