Category Archives: Eco Thrifty Life

Autumn Abundance!

The farm is thriving with fruit and vegetables at the moment – we can’t even keep up with it all. The gardens have been going great all summer and now the autumn fruits are ripening in the orchards.

The plums and peaches are past us at this point. We’ve been picking lots of apples. These ones – called akane – are naturally disease resistant and have a great taste.

Pears have done well also.

There are too many figs to pick let alone eat. In the foreground are guavas not yet ripe.

And grapes! So many grapes!

Feijoas will be the next crop and it looks like a massive one. Alongside them will be persimmons – YUM!

Olives will be ready in winter along with most of the citrus.

And avos will be ready in spring.

Update: Persimmons nearly ready at the end of April!

Update: Our loquats are flowering for the first time! Loquat is quite unusual in that it flowers in the autumn instead of in the spring. The fruits are usually ready in December.

And these cool purple capsicums.

Peace, Estwing

Life Finds a Way

Practicing regenerative agriculture on the farm for the past seven years we’ve seen remarkable improvement in soil life, plants and animals. Biology is so powerful if we start by doing less harm than good. The key is working with nature instead of against it.

Here is a poplar that got blown over in the wind about two months ago. Instead of cutting the stump with a chainsaw I left it because I knew it would recover. It just started re-sprouting this week.

Re-sprouting poplar

Here is a mushroom growing out of an old snapped limb of this birch tree.

The wetlands and riparian corridor have made huge advances since we fenced out stock and planted 2,000 natives.


The culvert is a weak link along our stream so we’ve reinforced it with biology – much stronger than concrete and steel!

Before & After

Every morning it’s so exciting to get up and see what else is growing on the farm!

Peace, Estwing

Permaculture Gifts

We believe in appropriate technology and sound advice. We offer items that help build resilient properties and communities.

The items we sell include the following:

Solar Oven: $100 plus post ($10 North Island or $15 South Island) + $5 rural
Stainless Steel Broad Fork: $190
Hula Hoe (Stirrup Hoe) – Hand-held: $30
Retrosuburbia Book: $89 plus post: $9.80 + $5 if Rural
Muscovy Ducklings: $10
Permaculture Calendar: $18 or $30 for 2 post paid

Email to order:

Programmes @ Kaitiaki Farm

Celebrating a decade as the region’s leader in sustainability and resilience programming.

Brown Bag – Green Home
27th July, 12-1. FREE
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
BYO lunch and learn about the best options for home retrofit and renovation. 
Funding provided by ACE Aotearoa

Pruning Fruit Trees
27th July, 1-2. FREE
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
Outdoor workshop pruning pip fruit and stone fruit. 
​Funding provided by ACE Aotearoa

Hands-On with Poplar Poles & Tree Lucerne (Tagasaste)

August 14th, 2-4: pm. Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

Poplars and tagasaste are the fastest and cheapest ways to get sizeable trees established on your land. Both are fast-growing, drought resistant and inexpensive to buy. Both respond well to pruning and make great stock fodder. This hands-on workshop includes planting poplar poles and propagating tree lucerne from seed.


The Low-Carbon – High Efficiency – Affordable Home

September 18th, 2-4: pm. Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

This workshop helps demystify the home-building process for climate resilience and affordability. Topics include passive solar design, super-insulation, high performance windows, and where to claw back cost savings.


Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon 2 – 5 pm: Farm Tour of Gardens, Intensive Orchards, & Farm Buildings (Permaculture Zones 1-2). Includes integrating farm foul into fruit & veg production and what are the best tools to use for low-input/high performance systems.

Sunday morning 9:30 – 12:30: Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Sunday afternoon 1:30 – 4:30: Eco Design/Build for Sleep Outs, Tiny Homes, Minor Dwellings. Includes passive solar design, ‘super-wall’, retrofit double-glazing, building code changes, wastewater compliance, compost toilets.

Choose any combination: $50 each or $130 for all. (Couples $240)

Meals and accommodation also available – please enquire.


Climate Camp for Teens
29-30 October TBC
​Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund


Family Climate Fair
12 November TBC
​Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund


Permaculture Design Certificate

January, 2023, Dates TBD

Love Your Land Day
February 16th, 10-4: pm. BYO Lunch.
Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund
Kaitiaki Farm is a thriving regenerative farm on the outskirts of Whanganui. The day will be split between a farm tour and presentations by Horizons officers along with specialists in other aspects of land management. 


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