Irma Jager

Nonviolent Communication Trainer
Primal Health Coach
Passionate Foodie

Welcome! I’m glad you found me on the worldwide web.
It means I have an opportunity to connect, to inspire and to support you to thrive.

I was born in The Netherlands in 1965 and lived there in various places for the first 30 years of my life. I studied Hospitality Management and worked as a purchasing manager for a hotel chain. 
A brief holiday in New Zealand changed my life forever… my husband and I fell in love with “the land of the long white cloud” and we emigrated in 1995. Whenever people ask me “do you still go home?”, I stare a blank… New Zealand is my home. And our 10ha lifestyle-farm in the Motueka Valley in particular. This is where we have planted orchards, built top-soil, learned how to milk a cow, embraced co-operative living with 6 house-holds and grown so much, together with our three children.

We didn’t just end up living this lifestyle out-of-the blue…it’s been a journey and one that started in Nelson….

Penguino Ice Cream Café
When we travelled throughout New Zealand as new immigrants – deciding on a place to settle – we noticed how kiwi’s would buy ice creams from the dairy at 8am in the morning. A bit of research in a library confirmed that New Zealand is amongst the world’s top consumers of this delectable treat. But we noticed a complete absence of Gelato – freshly churned Italian-style ice cream.
There is a long version of this story, but the short one is that we opened New Zealand’s first gelateria in Nelson in October 1995.
We worked very long hours the first two years and almost didn’t make it… people came looking for hokey pokey and unprepared for the 18 flavours we had on display. We could see the look of overwhelm on their faces when greeted by flavours like pistachio, stracciatella, tiramisu and lemon sorbet. But the third year was a turning point and over the years Penguino became a Nelson icon.
We started employing staff and were keen to expand.

We enjoyed the thought of Penguino Cafés scattered around New Zealand and were strongly encouraged to open up more shops… ‘please, open a Penguino in Auckland’ customers would beg us.
We opened our first franchise in Browns Bay on 2002.
Both outlets are still running to this day.
A group of businessman had ‘tasted’ us and they wanted to buy both the Nelson Café and the franchise system. After turning them down twice – we were still having a lot of fun after all – we gave them a purchase price that they accepted (to our surprise). We handed over early 2004.

In 1998 our first child, Luka, was born… a Penguino Bambino.
He grew up amongst a churning ice cream machine and a mother who juggled counting the day’s takings with him hanging over her shoulder.
Our daughter Yiba was born in 2002 and I served customers with her in a baby-wrap on my back.
Cella’s arrival completed our family in 2004 but she missed all of the ice cream action. By that time we had made a complete change of our life…

Self-Sufficient Lifestyle
Having observed how Luka learned many life-skills (walking, talking, climbing, biking, thinking) without any teaching from us, we decided to continue that path and apply for a home-education exemption. We were keen to have a lifestyle where our children could be living and learning alongside us. A deer-farm in the Motueka Valley became our home in 2004.
This place has organically grown into a home for 6 households.
Our family grows about 80% of our own food – meat (beef, sheep, pork), eggs, dairy, veggies, fruit and nuts.
All three children have followed the life-learning path and not attended a public school.

Nonviolent Communication
I first became aware of Nonviolent Communication in 2004 and have actively developed this new language through attending workshops, taking part in and leading practice groups. I have been facilitating NVC courses in the Nelson/Tasman area for the last few years and worked as a communication consultant in the business environment. I am a certification candidate for the Centre of Nonviolent Communication since the beginning of 2020.

I get the opportunity to role-model authentic communication in a range of volunteer positions in community groups (e.g. as part of the Luminate Trust Management Team, Volunteer Fire Fighter) as well as during my communal living with six households in the Motueka Valley.

In my role as a health coach I  experience the magic of truly listening and giving empathy to people as opposed to giving advise and wanting to ‘fix’ someone’s problem.

Click on Events on the menu and see my upcoming workshops. Or connect with me to arrange one-on-one coaching, empathy sessions or mediation.

Nutrition and Health
I became interested in the food we eat after Luka was born. What to feed this precious thriving young body after 10 months of exclusive breastfeeding?
Slowly I started looking for nourishing food and the book “Nourishing Traditions” supported me enormously. Rosie joined us on our farm – an 18 year old Jersey house-cow… so raw milk became a no-brainer. I started making yoghurt and simple cheeses… then hard cheese and camembert. Fermentation became a way to nourish my gut and also to preserve the harvest.

A small heart-attack in 2008 jolted me.
And another long story short: in 2011 I changed to a Primal diet. No more grains (bye bye beloved sourdough bread) and refined sugars, instead upping the saturated fat in my diet. And I lost 10kg and my back-pain disappeared and my cold sores became a lot less frequent and… and… and… I noticed I started feeling younger, instead of older. And never had any heart problems since.

In 2014 I did the Primal Health Coach certification program and studied nutrition because I wanted to further my knowledge. Since then I have supported many friends, family members and clients to find their way towards thriving.
Things have changed heaps since then; primal/paleo and keto diets are now common ways of eating and I feel satisfied that I have had a tiny role in that.

To finish off: eating nutrient-dense, real food is really important to me.
But I mostly identify with this:
“Some people eat to live, I live to eat!!” I so love my food.