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Read All About It

Over the last few years I’ve been blogging less and writing for publication more. Below are some of those articles about our holistic approach for farming and home renovation that are available online:

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon: 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: 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: 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.


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

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

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

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

Farm Development

Kia ora friends, this is an update primarily for our past interns to show some of the infrastructure improvements we’ve made recently.

In order to comply with our resource consent we’ve added car parks at the top of the drive betwee n the market garden and the orchards. After doing that we decided to shift a shed up there to serve as a farm stand and tool storage closer to the market garden.

Coming down the drive at the bottom of the market garden is the homemade caravan that we built during Lock-Down last year.

Next is my favourite – the ‘Redneck BBQ’ – also building during Lock-Down.

The BBQ is located next to the outdoor dining space beside the house.

Topher is modeling the steps down to the pines that we also built during Lock-Down.

Recently we shifted the fence and gate along the upper farm track so that they are along the property boundary.

Just last week we put up deer netting next to the milking shed we built during Lock-Down so we can more easily manage the goats during milking or for other reasons.

We also shifted another fence line to allow easier access down the lower farm track.

Also last week we extended the wind netting for the avocado orchard in the valley.

Here are Topher and Baby and Luigi on the farm track below the manuka, flax, poplars and tree lucerne we planted five years ago.

Probably a few other things I’ve forgotten but that’ll do for an update. I’ll write a blog about the farm stand once it’s completed.

Addendum: I knew I would forget something(s). Below are the strawberry bed we built for Manu’s Lock-Down Birthday 5th April, 2020, as well as a tree fort I started during Lock-Down but finished last month with Manu’s help.

Peace, Estwing

9th Annual Permaculture Weekend: 11th-12th Sept.

Once again we are running the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend alongside The Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga in cooperation with Adult and Community Education Aotearoa. A draft schedule is below.


Workshops & Farm Tours

Saturday, 11th. 3:00 – 5:30

Getting the most from your Renovation

This workshop covers all aspects of healthy home performance including windows, doors, ceiling, subfloor, bathrooms, ventilation, high performance curtains & blinds, heating & cooling, and hot water.

$60 Spaces strictly limited.

Overnight Accommodation Available. Please Inquire.

Sunday, 12th. 10:00 – 12:00

Growing Great Garlic, Terrific Tomatoes and Perfect Pumpkins

This workshop covers innovative ways to grow these staple crops with less effort and better results!


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; compost toilets; 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.

RetroSuburbia: A Whanganui Case Study

What are the best strategies to renovate an old home and an old section? This workshop covers the do’s and don’ts for home renovations as well as edible ‘foodscaping’ on suburban sections.

$40 or couples for $70

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential.

New Year Permaculture Update

The farm is thriving as we enter 2021.

The 3,000+ trees we’ve planted have benefitted from recent summer rains, especially the stone and pip fruit orchard. Shown below are plums in the foreground and apples in the background.

Earlier this week we were gifted about 80 avocado, walnut and macadamia trees. We borrowed a friend’s van and took a day trip to Waikanae to collect them.

They’ve been placed in the back of the nursery for some TLC before being planted out. They join peach, oak, guava, fig, and olive saplings along with grape vines.

Meanwhile our avocado trees have set next season’s fruit while still hanging onto this season’s.

We’ve had an excellent garlic harvest this season and now it’s been hung to dry.

We’ll be selling organic seed garlic starting in April.

The goats are producing plenty of milk…

…and we’re making halloumi multiple times each week.

We’ve had two litters of piglets with another on the way.

Heaps of tomatoes, zucchinis, pumpkins and cucumbers in the ground but rabbits have eaten all of our beans and snap peas.

Lots more going on but to be honest I need to head out the door and get to work.

Peace, Estwing