We are a group of permaculture graduates and teachers, working together with others to develop a Centre of Sustainable Practise.
We are in Turangi. At the south end of lake Taupo, New Zealand.
Sheltered under the foothills of Pihanga and the other big North Island mountains, we have a 10 acre (4 Ha) site that we lease, just on the edge of the Turangi town boundary.
The land was taken under the public works act in the 60s when the Tongariro Power Station project began. It was sold back to the owners about 5 years ago. It has been unused for about 25 years, so was covered in 3 m high wonderful soil building weeds: blackberry, gorse, broom, cotoneaster and more. The soil in the central North Island (where we are) is mostly just pumice. It is fantastically free draining, so trees grow well, but it is not very nutritional.
We have cut "outdoor rooms" and created gardens in them. We have planted about 100 fruit trees and lots of berry plants. We also have held a number of appropriate building workshops. Now we have temporary roundhouses (with reciprocating roofs), and earthbag house in progress, a cordwood building nearly finished and a timbrel dome sample structure.
We built an earth oven and a compost toilet (both in daily use since March 2010), now we have a compost heated shower, an outdoor kitchen and an earthoven on a trailer for use at weekends and events for cooking pizzas etc.
We took our first Awhi Farm PDC in Nov/Dec 2010.
Awhi, a Maori word, means to embrace or care for. Awhi Farm is the main project of Awhi Turangi Charitable Trust, which was set up as a bi-cultural trust to work in Turangi, but to be open for interested people from everywhere to come and learn about permaculture/ sustainable/ regenerative and to help us realise these aims. It is a registered charity, so donors can receive tax incentives for donations.
We are as yet quite a small team, but we have had lots of help from young people of this town that we have been able to employ though a governement youth employment scheme (community max). Thanks to them we have made the porgress we have so far.
Since APC11 we have had more time to spend on the farm, so now we have more people around most of the time. Minimally we are now about 10 people and sometimes up to about 25. We now have accommodation for volunteers.
We are the North Island hub of Otago Polytechnic, and are running permaculture courses along with the NZQA accredited Certificates and Diplomas in Sustainable Practice.
Lots of interesting things going on- check the website!
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