Home Page Editorial Winter 2001
This quarter attention is again turned toward some of the fore runners of the ecovillage movement in NZ. Of the myriad of "intentional communities", ohu, and other multiple occupancy arrangements that sprouted in the 60s and 70s, a few remain. As such they have evolved and achieved various sustainability successes. I want to note Karuna Falls, Wilderland and Mamaki here.

Karuna Falls is one of the outposts of Permaculture in NZ. Resident Stephanie McKee explains, "Karuna Falls Co-operative Society is a solar powered organic village at Waikawau Bay, NE Coromandel. We have been pioneers in the "ecovillage" movement and are still going strong for 25years. We are entering a new phase of implementing an updated Management Plan and reviewing our social, ecological and economic objectives". Karuna has a non-freehold society type of resident tenure, and physically comprises a complete north facing bushclad water catchment. They can be contacted at mkeefmly@ihug.co.nz

Also on the Coromandel, is Wilderland Trust, which was established in the mid 1960s, through the remarkable energies of Dan and Edith Hanson, early pacifists and organics pioneers in this country. The property is held in Trust form, and focuses on offering organics internships and wwoofing. The significant achievement of Wilderland is demonstrating and teaching organic agriculture. The hugely extensive gardens and orchards provide food for the resident community as well as a thriving gatesales business. Wilderland is a repository of local organics knowledge, and as such nicely illustrates the abundance of natural systems. Wilderland can be contacted at RD1, Whitianga.

Mamaki was probably NZ's first Permaculture village. Malcom Rands now of the Ecostore said, "Mamaki permaculture eco-village was set up in 1985, using the principles of permaculture and village life as its guiding principles. It has never sort publicity as it just wanted to get on with it. It was where the ecostore was started in 1993". They have a website at www.mamaki.freehomepage.com .

In mentioning these rural communities, we must also acknowledge the learnings surrounding legal and constitutional structures and clarity of purpose. Most people are probably familiar with one or more communities of this vintage that have got into significant legal strife usually associated with communitarian tenure systems. While NZ doesn't currently have an ideal ecovillage tenure mechanism, it is now generally understood that such a tenure system should embody a hybrid of private and public land use rights.

In this regard some time ago I stated that the Law commission was working on a NZ equivalent of the NSW Community Titles Act, this being rather more than the current round of reform of Unit Titles Act. I have since had correspondence with D. Dougdale of the commission who informs me that they have lost their in-house expertise on the subject and will be resuming work at a much later date. It wouldn't hurt to email them at BSutton@lawcom.govt.nz and ask how its going.

The Sustainable Land development handbook is progressing on target, having been through its local government and public consultation stages. The latest draft is on line at Standards NZ website. (nb: that's a 8MB pdf file). We expect final publication in September although may be as late as years end. Good feedback is emerging from different sectors. EVCNZ owes many thanks to Doug Craig for his tripping back and forth to Wellington to work on the Handbook.

Amidst the Permaculture Community there is the beginnings of planning for IPC7 to be held in NZ. Joanna Pearsall updates: "We have mooted the idea of an International Conference for Permaculture, but it is not yet definite. It is proposed for Feb. 2003. The plan at present is for a National Conference in early November 2001- out of which we hope to have a real mandate and a working party for the conference in NZ. I will keep you posted- or you can check www.permaculture.org.nz which is waiting for content. Any enquiries about permaculture- conferences or anything else could be addressed to pinz@eartheal.org.nz". Joanna and Bryan are really keen to find one or two more people with energy to help anchor these events. Permaculture NZ also have a mailing list at permacultureNZ-subscribe@listbot.com .

More good news...Margrit and Declan Kennedy from Lebensgarten Ecovillage Germany will be in NZ from Nov 2001- Jan 2002. The Kennedys are multitalented people, professors in planning and architecture, highly knowledgeable about alternative currencies, win-win conflict resolution strategies and instrumental in founding the Global Ecovillage Network. They are working with local groups to run events. Here in Auckland we are thinking along the lines of an evening lecture followed by a day or weekend workshop. If you live in the Auckland region can you let me know if such an event would interest you and/or if you have any energy to help organise it. Other regions should contact Declan and Margrit directly. Topics would include: a new monetary system and complementary currencies; eco-village design ...more.

A few local URLS this time:
Koanga Gardens , NZ banking reform , A New NZ , EcoTeAroha
Ecoversity , Ecoliving Mag , NZ Organic Register , Prometheus , Alternative Lifestyle Directory , EcoStore , Scoop

Till Spring,

Peter Scott


Lebensgarten Ecovillage--going strong since 1985, but built in 1939 as housing quarters for an ammunition factory. The complex has 65 row houses, various community buildings and over 130 people...more

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