WWOOFing it Up in Kiwiland: organic farming in New Zealand 2012

3 years later and life brings me back to New Zealand. This time for a longer period, for a different purpose, with a different outlook on life than last time. I hope what transpires from a few years of travelling as far and as wide as possible across this beautiful country is a basic but decent knowledge and experience in organic farming, self sustainable living, and food production. Come and join me, there's loads of room in the car.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Waitakere City: New Zealand's First eco-city (where people rely on cars and the trains run on DIESEL!)

Don't get me wrong, this place deserves the title for so many different reasons but it hard to get over the fact I feel I'm losing muscle on around my thighs, bum and probably putting on fat in those areas.... it's like the US: you can't get around this country without a car. The landscape means houses are spaced out, therefore transport infrastructure is practically non-existent. It makes me appreciate Edinburgh Lothian buses extensive bus network all the more (despite the tramworks, but I'm getting off track...).

I visited Vision Waitakere last week on Thursday, the highlight of my week for a number of reasons. Max, a local resident and community leader who lives there with his wife took us on tour of this retirement village which besides having everything you's ever need in it so that you never have to leave, is an amazing example of eco-sustainability.

On the eco-front, they have community gardens which the residents had to fight for. Max told me that it was their involvement with Project Twin Streams at Community Waitakere that inspired them to develop the area outside the village. Project Twin Streams (PTS) supports regeneration of the riparian (stream side) areas by planting native species. This in turn prevents the storm waters polluting the stream. Wendy, the Community Co-ordinator at PTS told me that fish were dying because people were cutting down plants. Another lady told me that food processors were banned too. Rightly so; of course the fish were dying, wouldn't we if we dranks water with shredded food and all sorts of rubbish in it?

Anyways, Max said that after this successful partnership work between Wendy at PTS and the residents of Vision Waitakere, the idea of a community garden in the area above the riparian came out. Then Wendy suggested applying to the council for a water-tank harvester and a grant to make a huge worm farm. Not only this, the village were drastically cutting their waste down so that they no longer needed rubbish bins anymore and put the new worm farm in the old bins location. And they saved money on waste management too.

He told me lots of stoies of empowerment and resistence from authority, in this case the Vision Waitakere Management but the underdogs here seem to win through and stories of the triumpant always make me smile......

I asked Max 'What's your inspiration?' and his face was a picture. 'I don't know what my inspiration is...?'
The Civic Centre and Council Building here is brand shiny new and also 4 star awarded as a green building. I'm going to have a tour next week of there:
Environmental features

• Solar shading

• Rainwater harvesting (for toilets)

• Stormwater filtering

• Use of sustainable and/or recycled construction materials

• Provision of bike racks and showers

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