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ONE DAY WORKSHOP – Food Cycles & Organic Production – SOLSCAPE, Raglan – 16 Oct 2012

Start: 16/10/2012

SOLSCAPE is a 10 acre property nestled at the foot of Mt Karioi overlooking the Tasman sea, a short bush walk away from Ngaranui beach and world famous surf break Manu bay.

We are an Eco Retreat offering diverse accommodations consciously designed to fit within our primary goals of minimizing our ecological footprint and inspiring visitors with working models of sustainable living. And a Progressive Learning Centre hosting and delivering learning opportunities in Sustainability arts, Permaculture and Holistic Living.

Location / Venue: 611 Wainui Rd, Raglan
Contact Details: *Email: info [at] solscape [dot] co [dot] nz *Phone: 07 8258268 *Web:


Permaculture Design Course – SOLSCAPE, Raglan 8-23 Sept 2012

Fri, 20/07/2012 – 13:54 — SOLSCAPE
Start: 08/09/2012
End: 23/09/2012

*Permaculture Design Certificate Course*
Two Week Intensive: September 8 – 23rd 2012.

Course Topics Include:

  • Permaculture Ethics and Principles
  • Design methods and strategies, The Natural Step, Patterns to detail
  • Organic Food Production, Urban Farming, Biodynamics…
  • Social Permaculture, Building networks, Decision making
  • Soil Nutrients, Composting, Worm Farms, Bokashi, EM, soil food web
  • Natural Building, Building biology and ecology, Passive solar design
  • Appropriate technology, Hemp as solution
  • Renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation
  • Simple water harvesting and grey water reticulation
  • Economic Permaculture, closed loop, community scaled structures
  • Waste as Food, Community Recycling

*Residential Rates from NZ$1545 – rate includes accommodation, 3 meals per day, and tuition.

*Non-Residential Rates from NZ$1045 – includes 1 meal per day and tuition.

Contact us at / 07 8258268 and/or visit our Website

SOLSCAPE is a 10 acre property nestled at the foot of Mt Karioi overlooking the Tasman sea, a short bush walk away from Ngaranui beach and world famous surf break Manu bay.

We are an Eco Retreat offering diverse accommodations consciously designed to fit within our primary goals of minimizing our ecological footprint and inspiring visitors with working models of sustainable living. And a Progressive Learning Centre hosting and delivering learning opportunities in Sustainability arts, Permaculture and Holistic Living.

Tutors: Joanna Pearsall, Brian Innes (Eco Show NZ), and the Raglan Permaculture Community
Location / Venue: Solscape: Eco Retreat & Progressive Learning Centre. 611 Wainui Rd, Raglan
Contact Details: *Email: *Phone: 07 8258268 *Web:


Wilderland Workshops July – August 2012

Greywater reuse and biofiltration workshop
Tue, 17/07/2012 – 10:14 — Wilderland Trust
Start: 22/07/2012 9:00 am

Hands-on, practical learning with experienced practitioners

Sunday 22 July – Greywater reuse and bio-filtration
Sunday 29 July – Passive solar design for energy efficiency
Sunday 5 August – Organic pest and disease management in the garden
Sunday 12 August – Effective composting and worm farming
Sunday 19 August – Introduction to small-scale bee-keeping
Sunday 26 August – Organic soil fertility management

Workshops run from 9am to 1pm. Cost is $60 and concessions are available. More info at

All sessions from 9am to 1pm, followed by shared lunch. Cost of $60 includes all materials, morning tea and lunch. Concession and discounts for multiple bookings available. Email visit(at) or phone (07) 866 3848 for details or to register

Wilderland is an Educational Trust on the Coromandel Peninsula near Whitianga.

Tutors: Various
Cost: $60.00
Location / Venue: Wilderland Trust, Whitianga
Contact Details: visit(at)

Read more here

Country Calendar: A Clean Break

Andreas Kurmann

This episode of Hyundai Country Calendar screened on 14 July, 7pm on TV ONE. If you missed it, (at the time of writing this post) it’s still available at

Interesting, challenging and inspiring – worth seeing.

“A Swiss soil and water scientist who has made his home in New Zealand believes this country is 30 years behind his homeland when it comes to caring for the environment.

Andreas Kurmann moved to Northland 15 years ago after being involved with a successful project to clean up Lake Konstanz in Switzerland. He now analyses soil and water for farmers and local authorities.

Andreas expected New Zealand to be “clean and green” but he’s found many rivers here are dirtier than Lake Konstanz at its worst. He is especially concerned about pollution from farm run-off in Lake Taupo.

Europe and the United States restrict the levels of phosphorus and nitrates in rivers and lakes but Andreas says there are no such regulations in New Zealand.

He follows his own advice for improving soil and waterways on a small block of land he owns at Taipa in Doubtless Bay. He uses only natural fertilisers and his goal is to retain nutrients and fix carbon in the soil by creating a healthy soil structure.

Andreas and his wife Rosy estimate they are 80 per cent sustainable on their four-and-a-half hectare block, where they produce meat, milk, eggs, honey, fruit and vegetables.”

See full episode details here:

Permaculture Design Course TUI COMMUNITY 8-26 Feb 2013


8 – 26 February 2013
Tui Community, Golden Bay, South Island


‘Permaculture’ is an integrated landuse design methodology based on ecological principles, with practical application from sustainable household to eco-nation to global restoration. The tutors of this course have worked in a wide range of countries and conditions. Their teaching styles are interactive, dynamic and fun. This residential course takes place in the Tui Outdoor Events Treefield in Wainui Bay, adjoining the Abel Tasman National Park. It covers the standard international two week Permaculture Design Certificate curriculum, taught in an integrated hands-on way, culminating in several land-use design projects. We are including an additional week to offer the opportunity to for participants to personally deepen in the ecological and social foundation of Permaculture, under the guidance of tutors who lives and work is dedicated to the conscious design and development of ‘all-species communities’. Upon completion, a Permaculture Design Certificate will be issued by The Institute of Earthcare Education Aotearoa.

Course Programme broadly covers:

  • permaculture design principles & installation,
  • organic growing methods (vege gardens, herbs, animals, fruit),
  • rural land management (orchards, pastures, trees, water systems),
  • ecological building, ‘waste’ recycling & renewable energy systems,
  • urban/suburban scale household design,
  • sustainable community/eco-village design,
  • wildlife habitat & degraded land restoration,
  • wild harvest & nature connection.

Permaculture in New Zealand logo

Inna Alex:

Robina McCurdy and others
Cost: $1990.00

Location / Venue:
Tui Community, Golden Bay, South Island

Weedbusting win for Brook Waimarama Sanctuary

Volunteers at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary - photo Colin Smith

Photo – Colin Smith

Thousands of hours of voluntary weeding effort at Nelson’s Brook Waimarama Sanctuary have paid off – not just in a reduction of old man’s beard and banana passionfruit vine, but also in a double win in the Top of the South Weedbusters 2012 awards.

The sanctuary won the Weedbuster Award for Work on Private Land, andalso the Overall Excellence Award in the annual awards, which are a joint initiative from DOC, the Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, Nelson City Council, Landcare Trust and Landcare Research.

Judging was made on the basis of length and degree of commitment, effective planning, and the degree to which the group was sharing its knowledge and achievements with others in the local community.

The sanctuary volunteer forest regeneration/weed control team has been eradicating invasive plants in the Sanctuary for five years. Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust board member and forest regeneration/weed control team volunteer, Rod Witte, said winning the award was a credit to the current team leaders, Mike Murphy and Grace Sutherland, and the entire team.

“As a member of the weeding team I see first-hand the dedication the volunteers have all have for what can be a fairly unglamorous task that is compensated by the team spirit that Mike and Grace engender.”

Weed control and native plant restoration are key elements in the Trust’s plan to establish a pest-proof fenced wildlife sanctuary for rare native wildlife in the Brook Valley. General Manager, Hudson Dodd, said thevolunteers’ efforts were the lifeblood of the Trust.

“Every invasive plant or tree they eradicate brings us one step closer to realising the exciting vision of a fenced wildlife sanctuary on Nelson’s doorstep.”

The Sanctuary wins vouchers for native plants from Mainly Natives Nursery, tree shelters from Advance Landscape Systems, and for winning the Overall Excellence prize, the labour of 20 staff from BNZ in Nelson who will help with a weed control job for a day.

Weedbusters’ judge and Nelson City Council Team Leader Environmental Services, Richard Frizzel will present the award to the volunteers at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary visitor centre at 10am this Saturday (7 July).

The volunteer team meets fortnightly on Saturday mornings. New recruits are welcomed with warm smiles, a thorough induction process and morning tea. To get involved, contact team leader, Mike Murphy:

Leek & Mushroom Risotto [recipe]

A recipe by Nicola Galloway

Fresh2U Organic Food Delivery, Nelson, NZ

Serves 4

  • 25g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 250g mushrooms,chopped
  • grated parmesan
  • Salt & pepper

Heat a large shallow saucepan over a moderate heat.

Add the butter and olive oil.

Once melted add the leek and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until soft.

Meanwhile put the stock in a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

Add the rice to the leeks and stir over the heat until the rice is translucent.

Add the wine stirring quickly until evaporated.

Add a ladle of the hot stock stirring until absorbed.

Continue adding a ladle at a time until the rice is al dente.

If the rice still requires more liquid after the stock is used up add boiling water as needed.

Saute the mushrooms in a little butter and/or olive oil.

Season and fold through the risotto with the parmesan.

Serve with a green salad and grated parmesan.

Find more of Nicola’s recipes and healthy food ideas on
Also courtesy of Organic Food Delivery, Nelson.

New species named after Hollywood blockbuster

The Avatar Moth

The new species of day-flying moth found during Forest & Bird’s Denniston BioBlitz in March will be named after the world’s most successful movie Avatar, scientist Brian Patrick announced today.

Arctesthes avatar, or more commonly the Avatar moth, is a fast and low-flying striped moth that was discovered by Wildlands entomologist Brian and soon after caught by his son Hamish during the species scavenger hunt on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau in March.

New moth_genus Arctesthes_Brian Patrick.JPGBrian, Hamish and Forest & Bird opened naming rights to the public to raise awareness about the plans to coal mine on the Denniston Plateau where the new species was found.

The father and son duo judged the winner from nearly 100 entries and although tempted by “Denniston survivor” and “Arctesthes bioblitzia”, Brian said the Avatar moth was a clear winner. “It was by far the best one. It’s a novel name and the movie is about a mining company that threatens to devastate a human-like species that’s living in harmony with nature. It’s just a really good analogy.”

The movie parallels the real life threat to the environmentally unique plateau as Australian mining company Bathurst Resources plans to open-cast mine on Denniston Plateau. If it goes ahead, it would be the country’s largest open-cast mine on public conservation land. Forest & Bird is appealing the consents and is working to save the plateau and have it made into a reserve.

The Avatar moth is just one of the significant finds during the BioBlitz weekend that saw 150 volunteers, including top scientists, scour the plateau in search of unusual plants and animals.

Other new species discovered are likely to include another moth, beetle, wingless wasp and three spiders. Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says discovering the new species underscores the ecological importance of the area and the urgent need to protect it from mining.

“All the scientists agree that the plateau harbours life, especially little life, that is either not known or is relatively uncommon elsewhere. Denniston Plateau provides a mainland island habitat that we’re only just discovering,” she says.

Protecting our “pure advantage” crucial for our economy and ecology

Forest and Bird logo - giving nature a voice

Forest & Bird press release

Pure Advantage’s report ‘New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race’ released this morning is firmly supported by independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird. Forest & Bird believes New Zealand’s economic future is underpinned by its brand as a clean and green country, and gives it a crucial competitive advantage in the global economy.

“We sell ourselves to the world as a country that values and protects its natural heritage. And it is that environment, those landscapes, that wildlife that draw people here and encourage people to buy our products,” says Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Toki.

“Our natural environment is the cornerstone of our economy. But instead of investing in the driver of our economy, we have traditionally seen the protection of it as a ‘cost’, and whittled away the resources required to protect it.”

Tourism is our largest employer and our second-largest export earner. Most tourists come to New Zealand because of our ‘clean green’ image – which we must live up to in order to maintain this industry. However, a lack of protection of biodiversity has led to an internationally embarrassing profile, says Nicola Toki.

“Last year a scientific study of 189 countries placed us at 18th worst in the world in terms of our environmental performance. The mask is slipping and the consequences will be our reputation and ultimately our financial performance in the tourism industry will be irreversibly damaged.”

The competitive advantage of New Zealand’s environment also impacts our other export industries. Most major exports rely heavily on branding New Zealand as a beautiful country full of wild landscapes and unique wildlife to sell their products.

“When consumers overseas buy a New Zealand made product, they are buying into an understanding that we are a country that loves and protects our natural heritage. We risk losing their trust by not living up to this implicit contract.”

“Instead of producing the same products and commodities and competing from a distance with the rest of the world, we should be focusing on improving the environmental quality of our goods and services and attracting a higher profit margin to ensure an ecologically and economically sustainable future.”

“It’s fantastic to see some leadership around the value that New Zealand’s environment brings to our country, instead of it being seen as a cost,” Nicola Toki says.

And the Worst Packaging Award for 2012 goes to… Foodstuffs

Sophie Ward with Worst Packaging winner's trophie

Foodstuffs have won Unpackit’s 2012 Worst Packaging Award for putting vegetables on polystyrene meat-trays and wrapping them in plastic.

More than 10,000 votes decided the Best and Worst Packaging Awards for 2012. The Best Packaging Award has been won by Bin Inn, with 33 stores who sell unpackaged products from self selection bins.

Unpackit Sophie Ward said the competition for both awards was intense this year, and the high number of votes showed that people really care about packaging and its impact on the environment.

“The plastic-wrapped vegetables on a meat-tray just managed to beat the individually wrapped prunes to take the Worst Packaging title, but there were only a few votes in it,” she said. “There’s a lot of ridiculous packaging out there, so it’s quite an achievement to be voted the worst packaging in New Zealand.”

Ms Ward said that supermarkets who sold plastic wrapped vegetables on polystyrene meat-trays were ignoring the environmental effects of their packaging, and she hoped winning the Worst Packaging Award would be a wake-up call for them.

Melissa Hodd, Executive Manager Foodstuffs New Zealand, said today that Foodstuffs accepts there is an onus on them, as a large retailer, to try harder to reduce the amount of polystyrene packaging used by their stores, in particular with regard to produce packaging.”

“Foodstuffs has recently set up a sustainability programme which is looking at packaging among other environmental projects. We would like to confirm that reducing the amount of polystyrene packaging used and identifying more sustainable alternatives is already a priority for this group, and receiving the Unpackit Award for Worst Packaging further solidifies our need to focus on this area of the business.”

Ms Ward said that while Foodstuffs were not the only ones putting vegetables on meat-trays, they had won the award because the original nomination from the public was for one of their stores: Franz Josef Four Square. This type of packaging is also commonly used in New World supermarkets around the country.

“Meat-trays can’t be recycled in most places in New Zealand, so both the cling film and the meat-trays go straight to the landfill. The most frustrating thing is that fruit and vegetables like carrots, parsnips, courgettes, grapes and avocadoes don’t need to be wrapped, they come with their own skins which protect them just fine. Packaging them is completely unnecessary and a waste of resources.”

Foodstuffs also won third place in the Worst Packaging Award for their meat multi-packs: four separately wrapped pieces of meat on meat-trays placed on a bigger meat-tray and wrapped in more plastic.

Ms Ward said getting rid of polystyrene meat-trays for meat packaging was a lot harder than stopping using polystyrene trays for fresh produce.

“Supermarkets sell their meat pre-packed for display, and there are not many alternatives which can deal with the blood. However I have seen chicken sold in recyclable plastic trays, and there are some new compostable materials which might be viable in the near future.”

For Unpackit’s Best Packaging Award, Ms Ward said she was delighted to announce today that the 2012 winner is Bin Inn, a New Zealand co-operative with 33 stores.
“Bin Inn sells a large range of products from bulk bins, which means people can take their own packaging and reuse it multiple times. Using less packaging means saving resources, and reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.”

Bin Inn Retail Group Co-operative general manager Nicolette Hale said she was thrilled that Bin Inn had taken out this year’s Best Packaging Award.

“At Bin Inn we try and help customers reduce their packaging waste by encouraging customers to bring in their own bottles and containers to refill from the self selection bins and barrels. ‘Pay for product not packaging’ is central to the Bin Inn concept that was launched with our first store nearly 24 years ago.”

Ms Ward said she would like to thank all the community groups, schools, farmers markets and individuals who had got behind the Unpackit Awards and helped make them a success.

“The Awards are really a conversation starter, and a way for people to feed back to businesses what they think of their packaging. Without public support, they wouldn’t have taken off and grown in the way that they have.”

Unpackit Awards Results 2012

Unpackit Awards 2012

Unpackit Worst Packaging Awards Results 2012

1. Plastic wrapped vegetables on a meat tray – Foodstuffs
This year’s winner is Foodstuffs, for selling fruit and vegetables on polystyrene meat-trays, wrapped in plastic. Produce sold this way includes parsnips, carrots, courgettes, grapes, and avocados, none of which need to be wrapped. Polystyrene meat-trays are not recycled in most New Zealand towns, so all this packaging is going straight to landfill.

2. Individually wrapped prunes – Sunsweet Ones
Individually wrapped prunes, contained in a non-recyclable tube, wrapped in plastic. Just ridiculous – more packaging than product! This past winner of the 2011 Unpackit Worst Packaging Award gave Foodstuffs a very close race.

3. Meat-tray Madness – Foodstuffs
Four pieces of meat all pre-packaged in meat-trays, then packaged on a big meat tray and wrapped in more plastic. While it is hard to find an alternative to the meat-tray for meat packaging, this is really over the top. Two placings of polystyrene in the top three shows the depth of public dislike of meat-trays, especially as in most towns they end up in the rubbish.

4. Barbie – Mattel
Barbie was a popular choice for the Worst Packaging Award for families with young children. Her packaging is completely over-the-top compared to the size of the actual Barbie, plastic type is not identified so can’t be recycled. Frustration factor – time-consuming and tricky to unwrap.

5. Disposable Coffee Cup
100 million disposable cups go to landfill in NZ every year – causing a massive amount of unnecessary waste; 100 million crushed cups would build a tower as high as the Sky. Paper can break down in a landfill causing methane release in a landfill where methane is not captured.

6. Shapes Multi-Pack – Arnotts
The same crackers are sold in a larger cardboard box, and can be put into individual containers for lunches, avoiding litter and extra waste.

7. Toothbrush Heads – Oral B
Large amount of packaging for two tiny toothbrush heads, plastic cover has no plastic identification number. Packaging has generic recycling symbol which could confuse customers.

8. Noodles in a Cup – Fantastic
Disposable polystyrene cup going to landfill in most towns, can use own cup.

Unpackit Best Packaging Awards Results 2012

1. Bulk bin stores – Bin Inn
This New Zealand co-operative has 33 stores in New Zealand. Their bulk bin system is set up to encourage shoppers to reuse their own containers for a large range of products. Bin Inn stores sell recyclable containers if customers forget to bring their own. Their philosophy has always been to “pay for the product, not the packaging”, which minimises packaging waste and lessens the impact on the environment.

2. Compostable takeaway tray – Potatopak
New Zealand made take-away container made from waste potato starch, compostable at home or in an industrial compost. Clearly labeled as home compostable, has the potential to replace a large amount of take-away containers going to landfill. Winner of the 2011 Unpackit Best Packaging Award.

3. Recyclable lunch box – Nude Food Movers
This lunch box is sturdy and long-lasting, with child appeal – practical way for parents to avoid prepackaged snacks. All plastic components are stamped with recycling identification number.

4. Ideal Cup – Celsius
This New Zealand designed and manufactured coffee cup is designed to be taken into cafés and refilled over and over again. The cup is designed to fit under a standard coffee machine. Both the cup and lid are labeled with plastic identification numbers for recycling.

5. Automatic Dishwasher Tablets – Ecostore
These tablets are individually wrapped in a PVA biodegradable wrapper that dissolves in the dishwasher. Tablets are pre-measured, preventing excess powder use. The cardboard box is made from 85% recycled material.

6. Biodegradable Superwipes – Chux
Packaging for this product is made entirely from cardboard (100% recyclable) with cut-away section to see the superwipes. Minimum 50% recycled cardboard, printed with soy-based inks.

7. iPhone 4 – Apple
Extremely minimal packaging – only just fits phone and components. Packaging for the iPhone has been reduced by 42 between 2007 and 2010. Packaging is almost entirely recyclable, and the cardboard box is made from 90% recycled content.

8. Compostable coffee bag – Caffe Prima
Innovative packaging using new technology to solve an old problem– how to keep coffee fresh on the shelf without using packaging which is going to end up in the landfill. The New Zealand-made compostable bag meets European compostability standards for industrial composting. The New Zealand manufacturer says it can also be put in home compost, but will take longer to break down.

Apple and Lemon Pie [recipe]

A recipe by Nicola Galloway

Fresh2U Organic Food Delivery, Nelson, NZ

This might look like a complicated recipe but it is very simple to make.


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Handful of crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 150 g cold butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tablespoons iced water

In a food processor combine the sugar and ginger and process to break up the ginger.

Add the flour and pulse briefly.

Cut in the butter and blend until a crumb texture.

Add the egg yolk and enough water to bring the mixture together into pea-sized balls.

Tip into a pie dish and quickly press evenly to cover the base.

Pierce a few times with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes to rest the

Make the filling:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 3 large apples, peeled and grated

In the processor (there is no need to wash it from the pastry) add the sugar, zest and eggs.

Blend until creamy.

Drain the grated apples through a sieve to remove any excess juice (a little is OK but too much and the filling will be soggy).

Add to the egg mixture and pulse briefly to combine.

Pour the filling into the pastry, and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180°C until the filling is set.

Serve with yogurt.

Find more of Nicola’s recipes and healthy food ideas on
Also courtesy of Organic Food Delivery, Nelson.

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