February 2023

February, 2023



Kia ora Member,

Kia ora koutou Permaculture Whanau.
As this newsletter hits your screen we know that many of you have been facing a range of challenges both during and following cyclone Gabrielle.  As a council we are thinking of you all, your families, animals, gardens, farms, businesses and communities.

In November 2021 I was elected to the council for Permaculture in New Zealand, then last year I became heamana (chairperson).  Alongside me I have an awesome PiNZ Council team of Rory Fogerty, Merve Yeşilkır, and Nick Ratcliffe.  Sadly, we lost Amanda Warren who was unable to continue on council due to conflicting time commitments.

You will get to know each of the council members better in the coming newsletters.  But for now, I wanted to share an update on what has been happening behind the scenes over the summer period as well as let you know what you can expect in the short term.

To start the year the council met for a two day hui in Raglan.  During our hui we not only got to know each other personally, but our strengths, skills and the things we were motivated to achieve on behalf of our membership and the wider permaculture community.

With a new council comes lots of new energy and passion, and we are dedicated to the ‘Whakaoho’ (Reawakening) of our organisation and building on the work of councils that have gone before us.

Our initial aims are to raise the profile of Permaculture in New Zealand, make a range of digital improvements, to review the education models and opportunities available, to promote opportunities for connection and knowledge sharing, and to deliver a range of membership options and benefits that are valued by our diverse membership.

We are committed to a monthly newsletter that keeps you connected and informed, and we look forward to reconnecting with you all through this period of Whakaoho.

Nga Mihi Nui
Fiona Moorhouse
Permaculture in New Zealand

Food for thought

It has been a worry what will happen to gardens, flowers and trees since the cyclone was announced. Many of us around the country were already struggling to keep plants/crops healthy and happy due to lack of sunlight and constant rain. On top of that, the wind smashed many plants and flooding wiped off gardens. While this all seems doom and gloom, it also tests our resilience. As a food for thought, a question appears. What can we grow that will recover fast after an extreme weather event like a cyclone or flood? What can we grow that will supply us food in case of no access to towns?

Survivor Plants

There are many plants, particularly what's called weeds, that are very resilient and have been adapting to extreme conditions whether it is drought or flooding. Take this opportunity to learn which weeds you can eat from weedy patches and road sides.

Foraging has always been a factor that increases self sufficiency. Eating from Ngahere (Forest) and Moana (ocean) does not only give us a better diet but it connects us to our environment like we used to. Learn about foraging things like Pikopiko ferns or hakeke (wood ear) mushroom which grows on dead native trees.

On top of using weeds and foraging, some plants can be grown particularly for extreme weather conditions in mind. Banana and Taro are two plants that can deal with a lot of water, even so particularly do well in extremely flooded conditions. Since they have corms, they also shoot back rather fast even if the plant itself is damaged. If you would like to visit a banana park or purchase bananas visit Land of Lotus in Whangarei here:  https://landofthelotus.nz/

Taro is a significant plant for Polynesian countries and considering Aotearoa New Zealand is a polynesian country, Taro is not widespread across the country as much as it should. The corms, leaves, and petioles are edible. Taro is believed to be one of the earliest cultivated plants as well as being very kai Maori survived traveling to Aotearoa New Zealand. The taro root nutrition profile is high in carbs and fiber, along with important nutrients like manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin E and potassium.

Berries like Blackberry, Raspberry, Boysenberry root easily and also have runner roots which makes them quite resistant in terms of weather events. This list could also include mulberries which can root easily from a cutting.

The fig tree has been around for a very long time. They are pioneers in Forest, taking over sites that are damaged and bringing back the forest.  They can survive drought and also very cold conditions. Figs are so easy to propagate, either layering or cuttings should make you a small tree in no time. They also start fruiting pretty fast.

Maramataka: The Story of the Māori Lunar Calendar – Brewminate: A Bold  Blend of News and Ideas


Maramataka is Maori almanac, passed down by tupuna (ancestors) based on observation and changes in nature to determine which activity is best at a certain moon, season and time. Marama means the moon, and in this sense Maramataka uses both stars and lunar phases to guide decision making and management processes. Cosmic forces are indeed part of our world so why not use this knowledge in our daily lives as well as for gathering kai (food). Learn more about Maramataka and download resources here: https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/discover-collections/read-watch-play/maori/matariki-maori-new-year/nights-maramataka-maori-lunar

Third Quarter- 14th Feb

This is an unproductive time in the māra (garden) since the energy is very low.  Although there are some favorable days for Toitoi (Eeling), Hī ika (Fishing), Pouraka (Crayfishing) and Mahi māra (Gardening), it is best to use this time for whanau, resting and planning.  All sowing and planting can be delayed until after Whiro- New Moon. However, this makes a good time to harvest and weed the garden as plants lack the energy to grow back.

Whiro New Moon- 20th Feb

Whiro is the night of the new moon. Although it is not a good time for planting, fresh energy can be used for setting new goals and intentions. Make the most of this time by taking a break to recharge and nurture the wairua. Stay close to whānau or friends, self reflect, plan ahead. There is a strong gravitational pull and the light from marama (moon) starts increasing, making it an amazing time to sow seeds and plant all fruiting vegetables and their seedlings to the māra.

First Quarter - 27th Feb

There is a big growth above ground given that plants have nutrients and water available in soil. This is the period to feed and fertilize the garden. Keep sowing seeds and planting in your maara (garden). The light gets stronger while the pull becomes less during this period. This makes a good time especially for leafy crops. Creativity is flowing so use your energy in ways to invest your future self. Stay active and alert.

Rakaunui Full Moon 8th March

There is high energy from  Rakaunui, the Full Moon, a good time to reflect on what's happening for you. The 3 days before and after Rakaunui are good times for fertilizing. On the other hand, seed sowing and transplanting should be avoided since it will cause a flush of growth that actually results in weak plants. Once the moon starts darkening, the energy goes towards roots. Take this time to sow root crops like carrots, turnips and beetroot. Since energy is slowing, make time for whānau or friends.

If you would like apply Maramataka to your daily life, you can download free calendar here: https://www.allright.org.nz/tools/maramataka


Looking to connect with like minded people, get inspiration or learn new skills and knowledge? There are many events happening here in Aotearoa New Zealand that will help your Permaculture journey. Check out these events across the country…

You receive this because you have expressed an interest in PiNZ in the past. If you have let you membership lapse then you can renew at your profile page. If you want to join PiNZ then go to  https://permaculture.org.nz/join-membership



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