2019 National Permaculture Hui

 Welcome to the 2019 Riverton Hui

South Coast Environment Centre is hosting our annual Hui,  Robert & Robyn Guyton’s Forest Garden, studded with the jewels of the region’s heritage fruit trees, will provide us with the varied spaces for meeting and mooting amongst the circles of trees. These will include their insulated community-sized Mongolian yurt, tepee, and an enormous grow-house and teaching space. The venue site is located 2 km west from Riverton town centre, overlooking the estuary of the tiny south coast fishing village and beach resort. Riverton is well known for kia moana (including mussels, paua, flounder and blue cod) surfing, safe swimming beaches, diving, kite surfing. Several times a year, dolphins swim up under the bridge to fish in the estuary. The Main street has a supermarket, 3 cafes, a dairy, fish & chips shop, a chemist, a museum, art centre and craft shops. There are also bikes, surfboards, and electric bike to hire. Riverton is the home of the Environment Centre, where you can purchase food and beauty & household products and find out about all the local groups connected with it.


The hui is organised by volunteers and offers significant space for co-creation, so we invite you to contact us if you have anything to offer your community – be it your skills, insight, wisdom, music, activities or presentations.

Workshops will cover deeper issues of meaningful relationships with land, especially plants, approaches to creating desirable communities and networks between disparate groups, the value of looking to our predecessors and their approach to living within their means, global “messages” and trends to take note of, ways to communicate worthwhile ideas effectively, learning to recognise ossified thinking and ways to create new ones and much more.

We look forward to meeting all the wonderful participants and exploring what emerges when we all get together again in one.

Keynote Speakers

Deep Forest Gardening – Robert Guyton

Is it safe out there where there is no lawn? If you live, work and play in a forest garden, do you become an ent? When you invite wildness in, does the world become more chaotic, or less?

Once you’ve arrived at a forest garden, do you ever leave?

Permaculture in New Zealand Today & Tomorrow – Nandor Tanczos

 Nāndor is finishing his time as Chair of Permaculture in New Zealand and stepping down from the Council after 7 years. In this talk, he gives his thoughts about where permaculture in New Zealand has come over that time and what he sees as fruitful possibilities for the future. In particular, he aims to explore what PiNZ would look like through a permaculture design lens and whether as an organisation and a movement we do embody permaculture principles.

 The story of Southland’s ‘Permaculture Pioneers’ –  past, present and future –

 Robyn Guyton

In the heart of conservative Southland in the late 1980s, we started the Riverton Organic Growers group, out of which grew over a dozen diverse initiatives across our bioregion.

Robyn and her team have created a hub where thoughtful, people-based innovation thrives and the environment benefits. With the ideas based on the activities of her early-settler forebears, Robyn has re-set the expectations of many locals and new-comers to the town. “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”.

What is manu whenua – Stewart Bull (Ngai Tahu) 

 Kaiwhakahaere, Kaitiaki is chairman of the Titi (Beneficial) Islands Committee, and member of the Rakiura Titi Islands Committee, the Board of Pomona Island Trust and was chairman of the Oraka parima Runaka. Stewart is also a member of the Fiordland Guardians and the Southland Conservation Board. Stewart’s keynote speech is woven around kotahitanga and the need to work together.

The Needs & Wants of a Thriving Local Food System – Ella Lawton

 Strengthening a local food economy is a practical way to lower a community’s ecological footprint whilst increasing social and economic well-being. The Otago Food Economy Project provided insights into the needs and wants of producers, consumers and everyone in between, to highlight opportunities for ramping up production.

Waters of Te  Wai Pounamu – Karl Russell (Ngai Tahu)

 My korero will centre around the creation of wai maori and the importance it holds for our old people, from a tapu and noa perspective and the impact that has taken place since (colonisation). Followed by addressing the challenges that we face in this present day as a consequence.

 Changing the Face of Farming – David Diprose (Southland Farming Community)

David is a Southland Farmer with a vision that will resonate with permaculturalists who see a place for livestock in their systems. Coming from a conservative farming background, David has thought his way through to the cutting-edge of land management that has at its heart, environmental health. His talk will explore the pathway he found himself taking through farmed lands and the destination he and his fellow-farmers hope to someday to reach.

We have two ways for contribution to the program

Presentation / Workshops Spaces & Open Space

Expression of Interest for Presentation & Workshops will be selected and confirmed by email. Please indicate if your workshop or presentation is for adults, youths or teenagers. 

Open Space is for topic conversations, either you wishing to share or hope to talk and learn more about…See the bottom of the page for a more detailed overview of open space. Offers for these space forms organically in a session at the hui.

Inquiry for these spaces can be sent to permahuinz19@gmail.com Please tell us your name, area you live in, title & description of workshop/ presentation (max 80 words) and a bio of yourself (max of 60 words), plus if you need any assistance for materials or equipment you might need.

If you have something you particularly want to share with the kids, or if you are a kid and you would like to say what you would enjoy at the hui please contact us.

Open Space

‘Open Space’ is a framework for co-creating events that allows for the rich diversity of knowledge and experience within our community to be shared. Rather than the entire Hui being rigidly organised from the get-go, this Hui will be anchored around some feature events shown above, while the rest of our time together will be filled with the diverse offerings of people like YOU!

Passionate about something? Offer it!

Experienced in a certain field? Offer it!

Feeling a need within the community? Offer it!

Early in the hui, the Open Space Marketplace will be opened. This is an opportunity to put forward a talk, activity or experience that you are interested in facilitating.  This is also an opportunity to request a session around a topic, in the hope that someone within the community will step up to hold space for. Or it could be making a space to visit the beach with others or go for a coffee- you could always share a topic of conversation while doing either of these activities!


You are invited to begin thinking about experiences you may wish to offer during Open Space. This is both a wonderful opportunity to share your wisdom, and a safe space to develop yourself as a speaker, practitioner, educator, and facilitator – so don’t hold back!


To cater to the diversity in PiNZ, there are many accommodation and pricing options…

Marae style sleeping if you wish to sleep in the Guyton’s forest: Mongolian Yurt – 25 spaces, the Tepee – 10 spaces, or within the 4 large shared tent – 16 spaces, they come with pillows and home-made eco mattresses for $20 per night. The Yurt and Tepee are public spaces during the day, so sleeping gear will need to be packed away by 8:30 am, storage space will be provided for you. The yurt will also have evening activities within that will end around 10:30 pm & the Tepee at 8 pm. The booking for these spaces is first-come basis, so get in quick if you wish to

Camping There are 3 camp spaces near the Forest Garden, These are the Orchard, the Field, and the Garden, will have showers and composting toilets facilitates. $10 per night for small vans or camper-vans, and tents… with an option to hire a pillow for $2 per night and homemade eco mattresses for $5 per night, to hire email pinzhuinz19@gmail.com.

Shared Bach’s – 50 spaces at $35 per night and Guest Houses’ 11 spaces for $65 per night are available to book through the registration form. These properties are within 10-15 mins walk from the venue. Please let us know if you wish to share with certain friends. The deadline to book for this accommodation is 28th February.

Wildness Logistics:

This is a very short residential street. The parking site is a short walk away. For those needing special parking, e.g. limited mobility or babies etc. please request on the registration form.

Leave car at camping space or guest house short walk to venue

Parking for day visitors carpool from the Environment Centre in Riverton, park behind centre on the estuary side grassed and gravel area.  Or 15 min walk from the ‘centre’.

Retreat weekend – This is a low reception site, hot-spots for verbal communication is allocated on the edge of the venue that will work for most phones, silent text, and camera use is fine on-site, a charging station will be set up in the rego tent for a koha. Plus, Rivertown township as lots of free Wi-Fi options and good phone reception.

No dogs or other animals

No smoking or drugs on the land


Civilised drinking on-site in evenings with your meal and fire circle only. No glass through the forest

Please bring;

Thermos and/or Closed Cups no open cups allowed in Yurt or Tepee

Bring all your own camping gear & bedding – however, pillows & homemade eco mattresses can be hired through the booking form

Clothing for all seasons and sensible shoes

Togs & towel (the beach is 5 mins drive away)

Torch and spare batteries

Pen, Notebook, Camera

Posters- for our ‘show-off wall’, a picture of you and what you are up to in your life and of Permaculture happenings you know about. Be creative it can be a photo, picture story, diagram, design, or a wanted poster.

Presentation/workshop material and your own stationery

Items for the for sale, trade or giveaway. We will have a pop-up market space time in the dining marque.

Seeds for our seed swap.

Musical Instruments for general fun plus the blackboard evening entertainment.


Open mind and heart!

 Otherwise, there are many other options with the Riverton area..

Riverton Holiday Park for camping, motor homes, and cabins – 2.4 km away

Monkey’s Backpackers – tents, dorms, single & double rooms – 1.9 km away Phone020 4120 5732

Riverton Lodge backpackers hotel 2km away

Colac Bay has 2 camping grounds with campsites and cabins – 9.7 km 7 mins away by car.


Local Freedom Camping

Taramea Bay – 3.3km away

Monkey’s Island beach by gemstone beach – 25km away, less than 20 mins drive

If you are flying into Invercargill the ICC has set aside several units at The Balmoral Motel in case some hui attendees want to stay in the city overnight before traveling to Riverton. There are a few ways we have to make travel easy from this venue, check our local info section below...


To support families to attend, we are creating an appealing child-friendly event, and subsidising the attendance of children. Overall childcare is being provided by two lovely teachers and Steiner craft tutors. To give children an amazing experience and quality focus, we plan on running an exciting children’s program on-site concurrent with the Hui. A range of activities for three different age ranges will be offered by local people and Hui attendees, so if you are keen to be part of giving our tamariki an awesome experience, please fill in the workshop sheet provided. Thanks for your generosity in offering something special for the children.

“It takes a village to raise a child” – quote Margaret Mead.


Invercargill is only 30 minutes from Riverton away by car, 5 flights arrive and leave Invercargill each day, though they are more expensive and less frequent than to Queenstown or Dunedin.  Check now for good deals for March and April!

There are a few options to travel from Invercargill, Ride- Share (see link below), Riverton Freight & Passenger Service (03 274 339 678). They run from Invercargill to Riverton twice a day to Riverton 7.45 am and 2 pm from Riverton Medical Centre in and return from Riverton to Invercargill 11 am and 4 pm from Tuatara Backpackers, only during weekdays.

There is also a 12-seater service for $70 a trip shared between whoever is on the ride, so would need to book ahead to make this efficient. Contact through permahuinz19@gmail.com This is a great service and would be good if you get flights close to these times if you do not wish to travel straight to the Hui.

If needing accommodation in Invercargill when you arrive, some space at The Balmoral Motel in Invercargill has been for anyone who wish to stay pre/ during/ post hui. A group run can be arranged to pick up a collective needing a ride.

Ride- Share – if you need a ride or can offer space in your vehicle please use our carpooling sheet to connect and organise with others.

The drive from Dunedin to Riverton is 3 hours via the lovely Catlin’s Coastal Scenic route and from Queenstown its 2.5 hours.

Local Area

South Coast Environment Society in Riverton




Great places around for self-guided tours,

either before or after the Hui

Southland – Murihiku, is known for Fiordland National Park, home to snow-capped mountains and fjords like the famed Milford Sound, which has high vertical rock walls and is traversed by sightseeing boats. The Milford Track hiking route runs between the sound and Lake Te Anau. Nearby, a subterranean cave network shelters glow-worms and waterfalls. 

“It’s said that in Southland, the scenery gets under your skin and into your soul. The vast skies, wild coastal forests and extraordinarily green rural landscapes will stay with you forever. What’s more, winter often produces more sunny days than summer, so there’s no better time to visit.” 

·         Awarua Wetlands – Visit the magical Awarua Wetlands located 20km south east of Invercargill and enjoy exploring the pea gravel beach and viewing the alpine terrain.

·         Curio and Porpoise Bays – Lying on the Catlins coast 7 km south of Waikawa, these bays are excellent sites to view Hector’s dolphins and other marine wildlife including seals and penguins, plus the fossilised remains of an ancient forest.

·         Clifden Caves – A rare limestone cave system in Southland that offers visitors the opportunity to view stalactites and glow worms.

·         Other Attractions and Activities – In the Murihiku region, you’ll also find a range of activities to enjoy including: hiking, hunting, mountain biking, fishing and kayaking. Tour operators also offer back country tours and sightseeing trips.

Longwood Range & The Catlins                   

The Longwood Range is a range of hills to the west of the Southland Plains. Ranges became a major centre for gold mining from the mid-1860s to the 1950s. Historic Port’s and Martin’s water races in the area are reminders of the importance of water supply during the gold rush. Now it is used as a hunting & tramping destination and there are 2 huts available. For your safety during March and April, the ‘roar’ (deer hunting season), you should wear Hi-Viz clothing and pack covers when tramping in the area.

The Catlins comprises an area in the south-eastern corner of the South Island. The area lies between Balclutha and Invercargill, straddling the boundary between the Otago and Southland regions. It includes the South Island’s southernmost point, Slope Point. Located at the northern end of the Catlins coast down the road from Kaka Point, this steep headland has a lighthouse at its tip and is surrounded by The Nuggets (a scattering of rocky islets). 

·         Catlins Highway – Travel along the Southern Scenic Route and in the Catlins Highway section (State Highway 92), you can discover the beaches, waterfalls and caves, wildlife viewing and fossil forest of Curio Bay.

·         Bird watching – View yellow-eyed penguins, shags, gannets and spoonbills.

·         Photography – Stay and enjoy the views and capture the beautiful seascapes of Nugget Point. At sunset the islets are said to resemble gold nuggets.

·         Roaring Bay Walk to View Yellow Eye Penguins – From Nugget Point it’s an easy walk to Roaring Bay where you can hide and view the penguins as they come ashore in the late afternoon. Get there before 3pm to avoid disturbing them.

·         Nugget Point Seascapes – Follow the pathway (suitable for all ages) to the viewing platform beside the lighthouse for some great seascapes. The area is rich in wildlife; several seabird species nest on the rock stacks. New Zealand fur seals also breed here, and other marine mammal species can sometimes be seen. In summer the ocean can be covered in large flocks of sooty shearwater. This is a treasured site for Kāi Tahu.

·         Awakiki Track Short Walk – Visit the Awakiki Bush Scenic Reserve, an outstanding example of lowland tōtara forest. There is foot access from the road through neighbouring farmland to the loop track through the reserve.

·         Kaka Point Bush Walk – Almost within the township of Kaka Point, this lovely easy (and short) walk makes you feel far away from it all.

Stewart Island & Milford Sound

Stewart Island – Rakiura Unspoiled, relaxing and incredibly beautiful, Stewart Island is a showcase for untouched New Zealand. Just a 1-hour ride by Stewart Island Ferry from Bluff, Stewart Island is one of New Zealand’s largely undiscovered eco-tourism destinations. With its network of stunning bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and densely forested hills, Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of breath-taking landscapes. 

·         Wild Kiwi Encounters At dusk depart Halfmoon Bay in our catamaran for a cruise across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove.

·         Rakiura National Park encompasses a network of former nature reserves, scenic reserves, and state forest areas. Although the island lies only 30 km south west of Bluff, between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south, it exudes all the charm of a world on its own.   

·         Take your pick from walks with panoramic views, beaches and native forest – there are some great options for kids. . . Observation Rock – superb place to watch sunrise, sunset and if you are lucky to time it right- an aurora australis display; Bathing Beach – popular and sheltered swimming area with a white-sand beach, great for kids; Moturau Moana – This walk through a botanic garden; Fuchsia and Raroa walks – The track takes you past 500-year-old rimu, lush ferns, vibrant mosses and New Zealand tree-fuchsia. During summer months this area of forest is alive with the chorus of bellbird/korimako, tūī, wood pigeon/kererū and kākā.

Milford Sound is known for towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls, which plummet down its sheer sides. The fiord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins. Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory offers views of rare black coral and other marine life. Boat tours are a popular way to explore.

·         Kayaking is an extraordinary experience where the majesty of the landscape is all that more dramatic from sea level. Cruise & Kayak Milford Sound experience includes a Milford Sound cruise, entry to the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory and one hour of kayaking

·         The Chasm walk has dramatic views of powerful waterfalls and water-sculpted shapes in the rocks on this easy access walk. Thousands of years of swirling water have sculpted shapes and basins in the rock. The sheer velocity of water gives an appreciation of how much rainfall the Milford Sound area receives per annum.

 ·         Mitre Peak Cruises offer small, scenic cruises of spectacular Milford Sound – considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Offering regular two-hour trips through the fiord and out into the Tasman Sea, our guests can truly appreciate the grandeur of the towering peaks and tumbling waterfalls found in this natural wonderland.


After the hui a group continued their permaculture experience by travel home through Otago visiting inspiring permaculture projects and properties. . . Check out the story Here