Winter 2018

June, 2018

 Winter Solstice Newsletter 2018

We have now reached the shortest day of the year, Matariki is above us, the Kumara harvested and the garlic ready to be planted. We are in the slow season of resting and reflecting on the past years' experiences and adventures; of dreaming of the future; of building our energy store for the longer days of summer; and of filling our night's with stories and songs.

Its been a great year full of events and projects, our latest was ...                                                                                             NZ National Permaculture Hui 2018  

We a had a great turn out at this years' hui - 120 full event tickets were sold, 24 of which were under 18, plus 99 people came on day tickets, 12 of which were under 18.  A diverse group of ages, experience, locations, and viewpoints attended the 27 presentations and 23 open space session, to talk over a wide range of topics held under the theme of 'Generating Change'.

Wahi Beach was a great venue and our host created a very welcoming space for the 4-day event. There was an abundant feast of local organic produce supplied by Sylvia Lillian from HamiltonEngaging youth activities, plenty of space for conversation and connection with permaculturalist from all around NZ and music, films & presentations to keep our evenings full of fun.



Emma Morris wrote about 'Going Forth post-Permaculture Hui: Continuing Conversations'. Emma has written a summary of this session she held, she has captured the larger conversations that formed and those who put themselves forward to hold space for the conversations to grow collectively.

In her posting, she commented -  "For me, this highlighted how much juicy knowledge our community has to share, and that waiting for a hui once or every two years is not enough. We need to continue these conversations outside the hui. " Read About the topics and actions here.


We would like to give a BIG THANKS to the hui team - Jo Pearsall, Bryan Innes, Niva Kay, Yotam Kay, Louise Shaw, Dave Hursthouse, Leo Murray, and Emma Morris. And Charlotte and her team in the Kitchen who provided a delicious bounty of meals for us all. All your hard work is very appreciated. They created a fantastic hui and put in a major amount of energy into the Permaculture in New Zealand community.

  Check out here for Permaculture Stories about the hui, plus other permaculture topics

James, Lillee, Alandra, Nandor, Robina, Dave, Saun 

News from the PiNZ Council

Guenther  Andraschko, Kharen Hope, and Louise Shaw are all off on to new ventures this year. They have given much time work on a vast number of project that the council has taken on from the 10-year strategic plan. Thanks for your valuable presence and offerings.

We have 6 returning councilors and a new member, Dave Hursthouse, to make a 7-strong team for the next year.  Read more about them here Councilors Profiles.

Read about the past years work in this 2017-18 Overview

Southland is the Next Years Hui Location!

Robyn Guyton traveled to the National Hui held in Bay of Plenty to represent her region, host the next National Hui in her hometown of Riverton in 2019. We are excited at this opportunity to connect with our permaculture family in this area and to help Robert and Robyn create a great Hui for their region. We are planning several ways to make your visit to this hui as smooth, fun and affordable as possible.

We have talked about the following events... 

'Invitation to Wildness' 2019 National Permaculture Hui

3- 7 April 2019

Welcome to the tiny south coast fishing village and beach resort of Riverton. Home to Robert & Robyn Guyton’s forest garden, studded with the jewels of the region’s heritage fruit trees, provides varied spaces for meeting and mooting; in circles amongst the trees, under the cover of canvas or our insulated community-sized Mongolian yurt and inside of our enormous grow-house and teaching space. 
Hui workshops will focus on many on Heritage: seeds, fruit, technologies, and values; how did our forebears “make do” without the trappings of modern society: supermarkets, smartphones, ease of travel and credit?

Road Trips to Riverton

26 - 29 March 2019

We are planning these bus trips from Dunedin & Queenstownto enable cheaper and easier traveling to the Hui that will also create an extend permaculture related holiday by visiting permaculture people, properties, and projects on route to the Hui. 'Obtain Multiple Yields'! - Streamlined travel with like-minded companions whilst talking permaculture and with no work involved!! If you want to join us on these journies or have a property/ project in any of these areas watch for more details to come in the Spring Newsletter. Jason Ross will be taking on the organising for Dunedin and Florence Micoud for Queenstown.

Heritage Harvest Festival 

30 & 31 March 2019

Coming to Riverton early? This annual autumn festival brings together the local community with visitors from far and wide to celebrate the years' abundant harvest.

It showcases the region’s home & orchard grown produce and provides a large range of heritage & harvest-themed workshops: preserving fruit, keeping bees, making willow hurdles and many more.

Displays will showcase projects from around the area and there will be local produce available for purchase from the farmers market. A  harvest café is set up for the weekend, plus music, a pot-luck feast & friendly company! 

This is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich diversity of Southland before attending the Hui the following week.

Long Wood Mountain Loop for Rural Resilience

The newly proposed Western Southland loop around the Longwood mountains will pass by 15 small country towns with several more on the edges that can work in.  A truck will pick up and drop off along that loop to each communities ‘depot.’  Bottled milk, artisan bread, knitted socks, vegetables, fruit, handmade gifts, wooden spoons, weekly Western Southland Newspaper, chemist prescriptions, mail,  cut flowers. There will be many opportunities for social enterprise and self-employment which is unlimited!  

This resilience project is being launched in Spring 2018 and after the Hui 2019 Monday 8th those who would like to do the road trip and see 5 Heritage orchards as well as 15 struggling townships with cheap land and housing that would flourish with this loop enterprise- you may well want to relocate  so we will have the latest real estate catalogue with us for the trip!

Travel Info to Riverton

Although Invercargill is only 30 minutes from Riverton away by car,  flights into Invercargill are more expensive and less frequent than to Queenstown or Dunedin, which is why we have started the tours from there. The drive from Dunedin to Riverton is 3 hours via the lovely Catlins Coastal Scenic route and from Queenstown its 2.5 hours.

Our Community

Our local permaculture 'community'  are diverse in age, culture, skills, and lifestyles  includes many people with a couple of acres of land in various stages of development e.g. a couple self-sufficient for 30 years, 7-year-old food forest wrapped around a BMX track, we have a community forest Garden in the Centre of town. We have hurdle makers, Yoga teachers, a strong Steiner group, clay oven makers, potters, beekeepers, wood turners, homeschooling is common, massage skills of various styles e.g. lomilomi. Tiny home dwellers, cider makers and more.  Diversity is our strength and keeps life interesting for us all.


There is a vast array of options available...Camp accommodation in the woodland features 7-metre teepee, tent, chalet and hobbit hole, caravan, loft and 12-metre yurt with numerous woodland clearings for owner-carried tents. Elsewhere in the village, billets, holiday houses, backpackers, motels, camping ground and B&B’s are bountiful as well as freedom camping on the beach. Riverton is compact and almost everything is within a 30-minute walking distance.


As Riverton's weather is moderated by the coast, it is not extreme, and Autumn's temperatures can vary from year to year, so its good to prepare for the balmy warm nights and the chilly mornings that could happen. We can give you a more reliable weather update before you pack your bags.

Stories from South

Robert Guyton's expressive blogs show a beautiful journey of his life on the land. Capturing poetic moments of art, nature, and family rich with colour and contrast that show form and interesting observations. Check out the diverse collection of blogs by Woodlander.

South Coast Environment Society

Is homed on the main street of Riverton on the Southern Scenic Route. It is a base for many environmental groups, a place that sells ethical products, many of which are local, and has information on a large range of topics. The Centre has an extensive library for society members along with a wood fire and comfortable chairs, plus it has a children's activity area, the centre is open for anyone to come along get involved. Mostly run by volunteers with the main bulk the time spent within the food co-op that always has a fun range of daily task to keep shop. 


Robyn and Robert Guyton live on the edge of town, at the edge of the world. Riverton, on Southland's Southcoast, has been their home for the 30 or so years it's taken them to raise 3 children and a forest garden, create an environment  center,  an organic food cooperative,  an estuary care group,  a community food forest, an annual harvest festival, a string of heritage orchards across the region and a whole lot of other environment and heritage-based happenings. Robyn is the visionary behind much of this activity, being far-sighted and determined, while Robert, somewhat flighty, wields a mean spade and gets on well with trees.

Both are trained as teachers in their early adulthood, and both enjoy communicating their passions through public media and engaging in wider community development. Robert writes for the NZ Gardener, Get Growing and Riverton Coastline Magazine and is a councilor for the Southland Regional Council. Robyn teaches part-time at a local school and for 20+ years has been the project manager for the SouthCoast Environment Centre.

Robyn and Robert will be supported in the hui organisation by the Southland Permaculture Community


Jason Ross - Tour Organisor

I really enjoy small productive spaces & bioregional initiatives. I am involved inseveral organisations promoting home & community food growing: Waitati Open Orchards, Permaculture Dunedin, Coastal Otago Tree Crops Association. I run an edible garden design and build the business, which supports home food growing by providing advice, design facilitation, local publications, fruit tree pruning, planting, landscape construction etc to help people get food growing at home. We grow certified organic heritage fruit trees that are picked up by locals and couriered around NZ. The nursery is on a property that has been an amazing long-term co-operative land use venture with Mark & Rayna Dickson, Rory Harding and many other folks along the way. This incorporates a market garden, home garden & orchard, trial orchards and our nursery in a mutually beneficial six-year rotation.

Plants continue to inspire me and we continue to explore the breadth of wonderful productive plants that suit our coastal temperate climate

Pre & post hui destinations you can visit when in the area…

Posible 3-day tours of Southland/Fiordland will be organised potentially held between the Harvest Festival and Permaculture Hui, by Venture Southland in conjunction with South Coast Environment Society  More info on this in the next newsletter.  

   LONGWOOD FOREST                   CATLINS



National Permaculture Teacher Training TAURANGA, 26 - 30 SEPTEMBER - Keen to train to be a permaculture educator?  Hone your skills in the design and delivery of transformative learning experiences and interactive teaching methods that can be applied to almost any educational context!

Getting Permaculture Into Schools  TAURANGA 4-5 JULY - Transforming School Grounds into Abundant Foodscapes. Learn how to work with children to create a nourishing school environment for outdoor learning using a permaculture design approach and organic garden methods.

Food Forest Design Qualification CANTERBURY/ CENTRAL OTAGO/ COASTAL OTAGO & DUNEDIN/ SOUTHLAND & FIORDLAND 21 JUL to 24 0CT - A 4 block course delivered online through a partnership between Food Forest NZ and Otago Polytechnic’s Centre for Sustainable Practice.

Urban Design & Living - AUCKLAND 14 JULY - This workshop explores what an ecologically and socially regenerative bioregion could look like. Using an interactive, 3-dimensional board game.


Our next newsletter will be focusing on the top of the South Island.