A lovely story in the HoS about the Bruntons:
When Michelle tells people about her brood of 17, “their jaws drop”. Then they ask if they have misheard. …
Twelve are at home when we visit: Jethro, 18, Anna-Marie, 16, Leah, 15, Harriet, 13, Deborah, 12, Jacob, 11, Zacharias, 10, Jimmy, 8, Ben 6, Zebulun, 4, Ethan, 3 and Julia, aged just 18 months.
Victoria, 21, was working at the family’s shop, and the other four – Sarah, 26, Joel, 25, Rebekah, 22 and Rachel, 20, – are married and have left home.
17 kids is amazing enough, but with no multiple births it is even more unusual.
Peter runs a hardware store, where several of his children have helped over the years.
“I had three daughters working and one day a guy thought he had been served by one girl – until he saw them all standing together!” he laughs.
The family gets some tax rebates if his store has a bad year, but generally they do okay. He goes fishing in the nearby Kaipara Harbour. The other week he caught 51 snapper “which will do 10 family meals”.
I can’t imagine how much WFF payments they are eligible for, but very impressed that they seem to be largely self sufficient. How many families go fishing to save money on meals?
The weekly grocery bill comes in at about $500, including 40 litres of milk and 20 loaves of bread.
They must need a truck to deliver it!
He says the family “are all caring and watch out for each other” and he credits his wife with being an amazing mother and teacher. She home-schools the children.
Peter says all the older girls can cook and there’s baking every Saturday.
Inside, there is no roster. Children just take up responsibilities as needed. Anna-Marie makes porridge in bulk every morning.
My God. Being a mother to 17 kids would be challenging enough, but to also home school them.
There are so many stories about dysfunctional families, it is nice to read this story about a family that seems to have it very much together, despite its huge size