Join the Front Lines of Climate Change Action

An increasing incidence of extreme weather events.

That is the climate scientist way of saying, “More superstorms, more record floods, more record droughts.” Worldwide the repair costs will run into the trillions. Building more stop banks, levies, dykes and other flood protection will be expensive and ultimately ineffective.

Research shows the best way to mitigate severe flooding is to hold back water from large rivers during major rainfall events. This is done by taking a holistic approach to watershed (catchment) management, which includes these specific actions: replanting trees on steep overgrazed hillsides; restoring degraded wetlands; and, protecting riparian (stream-side) corridors. Other benefits of these actions include improved water quality and increased biological diversity.

A history of less-than-ideal farming and land management practices makes the Whanganui District and Whanganui city particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events such as last year’s flood, which caused thousands of slips district wide, severe erosion and record flooding. We will see more of the same and even worse in the decades to come, and the repair bills will cost rate payers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ultimately it would be cheaper to take the steps described above than to do nothing and accept the devastation and massive costs of clean up and repair. It is a case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Last year our tiny stream burst its banks and carried cubic meters of soil off into the Whanganui River and on to the Tasman Sea.


This historic wetland was nothing but a drainage channel during the floods.


So we have decided to take direct action to address the effects of climate change in our community. We have initiated the Purua Stream Restoration Project to serve as a model of private-public-community partnership. The vision of the Project is to protect the entire stream by working with landowners, community members and Horizons Regional Council to fence it off and plant tens of thousands of native trees, grasses and wetland plants.

We have started the process on our property.





Stage One at Kaitiaki Farm has involved fencing off an acre of land and planting 800 – 1,000 natives. The entire bend in the stream in the photo below has been protected.


After spending six weekends to build a stock proof fence, two working bees have involved the Whanganui community, planting the stream sides…


…and the higher banks.


Horizons Regional Council has excellent programmes that help defer the costs of fencing and provide plants grown at the Kaitoke Prison nursery.


Additionally, we have had over 800 more plants donated so far.


Stage One is nearly complete and we’re keen to proceed with Stage Two, which will involve fencing off another 1 and 1/2 acres and planting 1,000 native plants.

Stage Three will involve working with landowners up and down the stream.

Stage Four will involve replicating this model of private-public-community partnership throughout the entire Whanganui catchment.

If you are concerned about the direct effects of climate change on our community and want to get involved, grab a spade, dig a post hole, plant a tree. We can make a difference here and now, and for the future.


Get involved today. Email: crew.whanganui at gmail dot com

Peace, Estwing

Whanganui Permaculture Weekend

4th Annual Whanganui Permaculture Weekend


Whanganui’s premier sustainability event is back for a forth year with a fantastic line up of events during the weekend of September 10th-11th.

The Whanganui Permaculture Weekend highlights innovative local projects, offers hands-on workshops, a seed swap, working bee, shared meal and movie night. Education is a highlight of this year’s programme, which includes highlights of teaching and learning at the secondary school level, the tertiary level, and adult learning.

Richard Pedley of Wanganui Collegiate will share the school’s new agriculture programme with a presentation and tour. The theme or Richard’s offering is permaculture education in schools. The school’s website describes the new programme as follows:

“At Wanganui Collegiate School we are offering an agriculture programme aiming to prepare students for a dynamic and fast changing future, with a growing awareness of sustainably produced, local, high quality food.”

Jake Schultz of Universal College of Learning (UCOL) will provide an overview of two new course offerings: Certificate in Apiculture (beekeeping); and, Sustainable Agriculture. Describing these courses, Jake says,

“Food and everything that surrounds it is the property that brings us all together, no matter what part of the planet you are from. Within that, the sustainability of our food systems and the future of it is key. Because without it, we lose everything.”

The Permaculture Weekend wraps up Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga, which is brought to the River City by Adult and Community Education Aotearoa, the Whanganui Learning Centre, and The ECO School. On Saturday Nelson Lebo of the ECO School will offer two workshops on backyard food production: an introduction to organic gardening and fruit tree care, and an organic gardening master class.

When it comes to organic production, Nelson says, “It’s all about working smarter rather than working harder. My motto is tools, timing and technique: using the right tools at the right times in the right ways. That’s how you get 10 hours of work done in five hours.” Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 6.22.08 am

Some events are offered on a donation basis while fees may apply to others. Some are free. The full schedule is below. Free if otherwise noted.


Saturday, 10th September

9-12 Tools for a Resilient Household: permaculture calendars, broad forks, solar ovens, rocket stoves, permaculture books, and stirrup hoes. REBS Stall, River Market

10-11 Introduction to organic gardening and fruit tree care, Nelson Lebo, Moutoa Gardens

11-1 Rope Making and Rourou Making, Tracey Young, River Market. Meet river side of i-site.

1-3 New UCOL Programmes: Bee Keeping and Organic Gardening. Jake Schultz. Room E-2-15, UCOL Complex, Taupo Quay

2-5 Organic Gardening Master Class. Nelson Lebo. Registration and fee:

2.30-3.30 Composting workshops – Theory – Hadi Gurton, 83 Maria Place Extension

3.45-5 Composting workshop – Practical  – Rachel Rose, 77 Anzac Parade.


Sunday, 11th September

8:30-10 Permaculture in Schools. Richard Pedley, Wanganui Collegiate School

10-12 Matai Street Community Garden Tour and Working Bee. Phil Holden. Matai Street. By donation

12:30-2 DIY Weta Hotels for children. Dani Lebo, 223 No. 2 Line. Materials fee

2-4 Seed Swap. Whanganui Seed Savers. Quaker Meeting House, 256 Wicksteed St. By donation

3-5:30 Wetland Restoration Working Bee. 223 No. 2 Line

6-7:30 Shared Meal, 217 No. 2 Line

7:30-8:30 Film: Origin of the Apple, 217 No. 2 Line