All posts by Estwing

Programmes @ Kaitiaki Farm

Tentative 2022 Programme

Given uncertain times we are publishing a tentative schedule with regular updates to follow.

Forest Educator Training 10th-14th January 2022

5-Day Forest Educator CourseWhanganui, January 2022Kaiako i te Taiao – Te Kaupae TuatahiForest Educator Course -Level OneJoin us at our forest school farm property for five days while immersing yourself in the theory and practice of forest schooling. You will leave feeling inspired and invigorated by practical lessons, thoughtful conversations, and good food. Experts in mātauranga māori, bushcraft, outdoor safety, and education will share knowledge guided by lead instructor Dani Lebo. Take the next step in your learning. Turn your classroom into your dream job.

Family Camp – 22nd-24th January 2022

Family fun and learning on a thriving organic farm.

Spaces limited.

Family Camp – 5th-7th February 2022

Family fun and learning on a thriving organic farm.

Spaces limited.

The Resilient Farm Tour 13th February 2022, 1-5 PM

This farm tour covers the essentials of designing and managing a resilient rural property in New Zealand. $60 per person. Couples $100.

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend 5th-6th March 2022

This programme covers all aspects of a permaculture property: Zones 0 through 5: House; gardens; orchards; animals small and large; managed tree lots; bush and wetland restoration.

Saturday 1 pm through Sunday 4 pm with all meals included. $160 per person. Couples $290. Accommodation $30 per person.

Tutors: Dani and Nelson Lebo are leaders in New Zealand’s permaculture movement. They are recognised experts in their respective fields of outdoor education, ecological design/management, and home design and renovation.


Abundance @ Kaitiaki Farm

We are into a spectacular spring with the entire farm thriving: goats, pigs, garlic beds, vege gardens, the orchards, olives, avocados, native plantings, etc. A combination of rain in October and sun in November has set photosynthesis to full throttle. Below are some images of the thriving kai and landscapes here on Kaitiaki Farm.

Planting Olives in 2017 (Before)
Olive Trees in 2021 (After)
Wetland in 2016 (Before)
Wetland in 2021 (After)
Cuddling a newborn goat
Goat’s Milk

We can hardly keep up with the milking and cheese-making.

Fried Halloumi

Tomatoes and Corgettes in the Ground
Duckling Season
Strawberry Bed
Feijoas in Flower
Avocado Orchard with Tagasaste Nurse Trees

Amazing how working with nature instead of against it give such amazing results!

Peace, Estwing

2022 Permaculture Calendar

2022 Permaculture Calendars for sale

Calendars are $18 post paid and two for $30.

Proceeds go to wetland restoration.


Filled with inspiring images that can change the way you see the world. Practical examples of each of the 12 permaculture design principles showcase photo contributions from the broader permaculture community.

Daily moon planting icons can help you get more organised by observing the rhythms and patterns of the lunar cycles, no matter where you are in the world, supporting regular planting routines.

Produced using vegetable based inks on post-consumer recycled paper. 100% of profits donated to permaculture projects internationally.

Climate Resilience PDC Internship

Immerse yourself in eco-design for climate resilience on a thriving permaculture farm outside of Whanganui. We take a systems approach to managing the farm holistically to maximise carbon sequestration and minimise carbon emissions.

This PDC focuses on ecological land management, regenerative agriculture, water management, eco-housing – both building and retrofit, appropriate technology, human-scale approaches and transport along with the full PDC curriculum.

5th January 2022 – 8 WEEKS WITH A WEEK OFF IN THE MIDDLE. ($700) 

From a recent intern: “I’ve just completed my 2 month PDC at the Eco School and have had an absolutely sensational time. If you want to learn how to become a permaculture home-steader FOR REAL, skip the two weeks of PowerPoint presentations offered elsewhere, and come get fully immersed in the lifestyle. Dani and Nelson have got the art of sustainable living down pat, and both are an absolute gold-mine of knowledge to be tapped. I left knowing how to do everything from preparing and planting garden beds; to raising livestock; milking and cheese-making; harvesting and preserving; butchering, baking (no candle-stick making…); DIY and carpentry. Essentially, we covered in incredible depth the art and science of ecology and land regeneration, as well as all the principles of design and analysis vital to making permaculture work properly. It was like being back at uni, except this time I was learning something useful (and deeply fascinating).”  – Harry

David Holmgren’s Retrosuburbia

RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future

This 592 page manual shows how Australians can downshift and retrofit their homes, gardens, communities and, above all, themselves to be more self-organised, sustainable and resilient into an uncertain future. It promises a challenging but exciting mix of satisfying work, a more meaningful way of living and hope for the next generation.

RetroSuburbia is divided into three main sections: the Built, the Biological and the Behavioural along with the introductory section ‘Setting the scene’.

NZ $89 + $9.60 parcel post tracked.


2022 Permaculture Calendars for sale

Calendars are $18 post paid and two for $30.Proceeds go to wetland restoration.Orders:

Peace, Estwing

Lucky Seven (Years)

We have reached another anniversary on this piece of land, which is always a good time to reflect on our progress. Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” We have been very lucky on this patch, but at the same time unlucky – facing a flood, a fire, and land slips. Our primary goal on the farm has been climate resilience so I suppose there is nothing like being put to the test.

Despite the challenges the farm is thriving, although we’ve cut back on growing kai a bit lately due to other commitments. Here are the market gardens at about half of their usual capacity.

Market gardens in mid-winter.

There are only ripe guavas and citrus this time of year, but we had a great plum, peach, feijoa and apple harvest earlier this year.

An orchard in mid-winter.

The valley is looking great, with about 2,000 trees planted on the slopes and along the stream, along with the avocado orchard.

Plantings in the valley.

At the moment we’re busy with the goats kidding and starting the milking season.

Alfie with her twins

Looking forward to more luck tomorrow.

Peace, Estwing

Festival of Adult Learning 6th – 12th September

The Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga 2021

For the seventh year the ECO School has partnered with Adult & Community Education Aotearoa to bring a series of free workshops to Whanganui.


Monday, 6th September. Location: Springvale Bike Park

3:30 – 5:00. Hot Composting for Serious Gardeners

This workshop explains how to build and manage a hot compost pile. Other compost methods will also be addressed.

Bagged sheep manure available for sale. Bagged compost for sale.

Wednesday, 8th September. Location: Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed Street

12:30 – 1:30. Backyard Gardening

This workshop explains some tips for success for vegetable gardening.

1:30 – 2:30. Fruit Tree Care

This workshop covers the basics of fruit tree pruning.

Thursday, 9th September. Location: Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed Street

12 – 1. Healthy Homes Brown Bag Lunch Session.

This workshop addresses the most cost effective ways to improve the health and comfort of existing homes. It covers some Dos and some Don’ts of where to spend your money.

Come on your lunch break.

1 – 2:30 Bicycle Maintenance and Repair

Home & Garden PDC Internship

This is a unique opportunity to dive into the core aspects of a permaculture lifestyle: a roof over your head and kai in your belly!

While covering the usual PDC curriculum, this hands-on and farm-based PDC will focus on building a sleep out and managing an organic vegetable garden. These practical skills are invaluable for anyone considering a resilient and sustainable lifestyle; anyone thinking about a “Tiny Home”; anyone seeking experience in growing food and caring for animals.

Other topics include: composting toilets, grey water, retrofit double-glazing, etc.

Start Date: 14th September

Duration: 8 weeks

Cost: $700


Our Farm is a Dump

A ‘secret admirer’ has commenced trolling us, our organisation and our farm. Like most Trolls, simple facts and accuracy don’t seem to matter. (For some people they never have and never will.) One favourite attack line they use over and over is the farm is a dump and unsafe for children.

On second thought, they might be right.

For example, here is where we dump lots and lots of food scraps, manure and saw dust.

We dump the resulting compost in garden beds to grow healthy kai, such as garlic, which is very dangerous to the local vampire population.

After harvesting the garlic we dump it in a shed to dry.

In fact there are dangerous piles of kai all over our farm.

Here is where we dump our fire wood before dumping the dangerous CO2 emissions into the pristine atmosphere.

Branches and sticks too small for firewood get dumped in piles and covered with earth to build Hugel Mounds, on top of which we dump fruit trees such as peaches, apples, pomegranate, oranges, grape fruit, lemons tangelos, mandarines, feijoas and persimmons.

Note this fresh, organic, healthy kai is very dangerous to children.

More dangerous kai dumped on the farm.

Here is where our rat bag children dump their bikes. Obvious tripping hazard!

For the last six years we have dumped thousands of trees all over our farm.

We usually dump the trees on slip-prone hillsides and eroding stream banks.

Here is another big dump of trees we tend to call our nursery.

Warning: Avocados!

Oh, you should see our sheds! Talk about a dump!

With most of the materials we divert from landfill we build useful items such as milking stands, solar dehydrators, chicken tractors and other animal shelters.

Low budget milking stand
Solar dehydrator
Chook tractor

Some people don’t believe in providing their goats and pigs with shelters but we do.

Made from scraps, the outdoor kitchen is also a complete dump that emits harmful fumes.

In fact our farm is such a dump that it was recently featured in a popular national magazine.

Definitely a DUMP!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’ 12th September

Sunday, 12th. 1:00 – 5:00

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’

We’ve put together a list of some of the core components of a permaculture property and arranged a ‘Show & Tell’ walking tour. Topics include: no-dig gardening; potting bench and plant nursery; vertical growing & small spaces; preventing pests and diseases in fruit trees; best tools and how to use them; hot composting; tree lucerne (Tagasaste); chicken tractors; browsing goats; creative reuse in building; outdoor kitchen including solar cooking, rocket stoves, and solar dehydrator. There will also be a discussion of our diverse income streams.

$55 or couples for $90. Includes afternoon tea.

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential.