My Account

Economy/ Costs/ Purchase

What are the working opportunities within the village on a longer perspective?

These are the “working opportunities”.  we’ll call them livelihoods (infinite ‘working opportunities’)

  • employment with the Institute.
  • employment with Kotare Commons (KC), a social enterprise developed to implement the infrastructure development, and economic development for the Kotare Community Land Trust (KCLT), plus develop livelihoods within the village.

The latter may stay within KC or be licensed out as self employment opportunities.  Most of the economic development will be aimed at self-reliance in our needs and/or livelihoods.

  • self-employment developed independently.

Some of these livelihoods are fixed in view (Institute jobs, self-reliance development) other will arise out of the passion of the settlers.


Can I sell my land for the price I paid for it? What about a price for any dwelling?

The price you paid + The improvements you made inc buildings (set by a licensed valuer).

Can we eventually buy the land of the leased section?

The community land trust will own the land indefinitely.  This is an American model for holding special land in perpetuity.  Community ownership of land ensures permanent access, control and affordability for housing, farms and businesses.  You will get a lease agreement and the leases are set for 34 years.  (34 years is the maximum we can set in this region without a certificate of title)   Every 10 years the land trust will renew the lease at no cost.  We can’t automatically re-new the leases because that would circumvent the law with regard to leasing of land without resource consent.

How much are the annual fees/ levies looking like being?

All lease holders are required to pay costs involved with holding that lease. These include:

    1. individual household rates to the Wairoa District Council
    2. property expenses of the Village, and
    3. a levy set by the Kotare Village Association.

The Uniform Annual Household General Charges
This is set by the Wairoa District Council, on each dwelling on a property.  This charge covers items seen as benefiting all householders, and includes the following :
– The library
– All the Community Centres
– The Maori Liaison Committee
–  The Economic Development Fund

At present this is $570/year/household.  Incl. GST

Property Expenses
This is set by the Kotare Community Land Trust for the whole property and is proportioned amongst all the leaseholders. Property expenses will include:
–  Rates to the Wairoa District Council (excluding the uniform charge above)
–  Maintenance of water supplies
–  Maintenance of roading
–  Public liability insurance
–  Pest control expenses (part of this is required by law by the Hawkes Bay Regional Council)
–  Other

The Association Levy

This fee is set by the AGM of the Kotare Village Inc. and is used to fund the activities of the Association.  The levy for 2016 has been set at $100 year.

(there is also a one off membership fee of $100 when becoming a member this is at the time of signing the lease agreement)

The Total: Rates, Property Expenses and Levy

The approx total per household lease site =  $910 incl GST

I am interested in buying a plot of land but I am not a New Zealand Resident.  What are the restrictions for a foreigner to buy land?

New Zealand’s overseas investment legislation only affects transactions that include sensitive New Zealand assets, including land that is considered sensitive. Kotare Village land plots are NOT considered sensitive.  Thus, there are no restrictions in purchasing a home site at Kotare Village if you are a foreign investor.  If you would like more information click here to read about making oversea investments in New Zealand.


It seems to me that one of the limitations of other community groups living off the land has been the absence of a viable economic or business activity that can support their members. In your case, you are in a much stronger position with the Koanga Institute. Already you sell seed and provide education programs and I notice that you recently have diversified into retailing appropriate books, tools, fertilizers etc. My question is what other ways do you see the Institute expanding to create work opportunities for members?

We definitely see ways the Institute can support community members to earn a living, and we are very happy to see it do this.

We are a great marketing operation and we are known as a leading edge place to come to for ‘sustainable’ solutions and we see that in the near future ‘appropriate technology’ ‘autonomous housing’ and ‘education’ will be areas where, out of our research/apprenticeship/diploma programs, we can provide the knowledge to support community members to get their own small businesses up and running. There are obviously many other areas as well.

Business opportunities we can see waiting to happen, that the Institute could help market or provide direction and information to support their development…

a heritage fruit tree nursery,

heritage animal breeding for biological sustainable systems, including working horses, sheep, cows, pigs poultry

processed food eg lactic pickles, high quality broths, salami and sausages, hams, dried fruit, cheese. vinegar etc etc

appropriate technology eg grey water systems, rocket stoves, fibre earth housing, passive solar greenhouses, nonelectric fridges,

seedling production of vegetables flowers and herbs,

dried herb production …herbal creams and tinctures,

permaculture Design

crafts such as Scottish peg loom weaving felting

cloths making

harakeke weaving


healing centre to show people how to grow and cook Weston Price Food

wellness centre

teachers for all of the above and much more…

Keep in mind we are going for having around 50 families on the land within several years so just the community alone will provide a strong market for these goods and services without needing to go far!

We imagine the Institute will very soon open a shop of some sort on the land and maybe work with others to have a regular stall at the closest farmers markets.

We not only bring in potential customers but our mail order is a strong part of our business.


Your vision is much more comprehensive and prescriptive than eco-villages I’ve looked at – ultimately it is a self-sustaining village/farm supporting possibly 50 families, preferably NOT working off the site in eg a nearby town. This could be too ambitious for some people to commit to – and also cut off opportunities to earn much needed capital for those without much…young school teachers…nurses…builders etc who could find work nearby.

We agree, it will be too ambitious for some people to commit to, however we believe we need to get a lot clearer about the development supporting a local economy for residents. Within this there are several issues that need addressing;

1. There seem to be natural levels of numbers of people that best support a ‘community organisation’ The Hutterites claim that it is 150, and once they have reached this number they commit to splitting and a new community forming. We’ve heard this is also the number of an army company (another form of community organisation) We’re sure there is not a fixed number and that different situations will effect the ‘best’ numbers. However the principle remains, and the issue what is a good number to aim for. We certainly believe that both Kohatu Toa and Otamatea would benefit from more people.

2. There is another issue around numbers, in any subdivision development it takes many titles just to pay for the infrastructure development. Then extra numbers generate a profit. In the case of the KCLT the profit generates an economic development investment fund, which in turn supports income generation for the residents. Unless the investment fund is sufficient community development will be slow. In the case of the Kohatu Toa Ecovillage there was no investment fund, in the case of the Otamatea Ecovillage there was a considerable investment fund, however they couldn’t agree what to do with it so it was all given back to the developers (all the residents) – in both cases community development is at ‘snail pace’.

3. If you were to sail away to form a ‘new colony’, you would want to gather some skills and roles that were needed for the job ahead. That is not to say you would plan all the people you would take, but you would definitely choose or attract some that you knew you would need. The principle applies the same, there needs to be some conscious attraction of certain skills and roles around the shape of our new ‘colony’ it wont necessarily work to let the ‘invisible hand of the market’ choose all your people.

I see what you are trying to do by controlling resale price so as to allow (young) new entrants with low capital – but what if an owner feels disenfranchised by the above structure – doesn’t feel represented as an owner and wants to sell – then finds the village is confining him/her to a resale price well below market value. There is danger here of ‘capture’ by a small dominant group – possibly those with a great deal of experience in various (good) elements of the over-riding vision and principles.

This is definitely a tricky issue, because we are so used to having the idea of the market value, (and the assumed capital gain) as being a given. You have presented two issues which we are best to separate. Firstly lets address the one of capture. Within the Community Land Trust model the sale price of the land is controlled by a contract, a lease agreement, and isn’t really open to capture by the directors without changing the constitution which would need to have 75% agreement of all the members (lease holders). In all our reading of CLT’s this issue doesn’t surface. There have been hundreds of such trusts in America for many years involving thousands of people.

With regard to the presumed loss of ability to partake in capital gain, this is a decision that people make when they buy into the scheme, when someone leaves the community and makes capital gain on their section – it is extracting value out of the community – those who join end up having less, those who leave take the capital gain with them – capital gain destroys community, and we are consciously avoiding it!

How will we earn a living in such an isolated area?  Can we travel and be involved in activities which often take us away from the village?

We often get a sense that people perceive this place as isolated and restricting. Firstly let us emphasise, that what you do with your life is totally up to you, just as if you lived in any other village in NZ.

So, as long as you pay your rates, and conform to the rules around common land use, you can get on with living as a hermit or in the fast lane – your choice. There is no need to commit to anything. If you want to spend time travelling, doing business overseas, being a student, or paying off your debts in an Australian mine – that’s fine. Of course, we do prefer it if people live here and engage in development here, but it’s not compulsory.

Because we have made such an issue of developing self-reliance, many people interpret this as being that we will restrict our activities and development to our home. Maybe it will be that way for some, but voluntarily so. Others will be engaging in the world, through internet, phone, travel, business, education. The Kotare Community Land Trust will encourage any activities which strengthen our self-reliance. as well, a key aspect of the KCLT is to develop a model that can be replicated in NZ and around the world, we are keen to be involved in the outside world around us. we are fully aware that it will take generations to fully develop a resilient community, and this will only be fully done within the context of changes in our wider community.

We see that the best thing that the Kotare Community Land Trust can invest in is the “change” or “transformation” industry. This frequently involves selling ideas. We don’t have to drive to work, or export commodities – we can host students, provide them with information, feed them, and sell them our products and services. Or we can provide high quality products and services to the rest of the world, or be involved in the production required to support those who are doing so. We are only limited by our imagination.

So, we can walk out barefoot in the morning and soak in the beauty of the cloud patterns, the mist and the resident wildlife, and after a great breakfast of home grown bacon and eggs and kimchi be sitting down to conversations with international visitors, exploring design on Google, or skyping with a business associate in New South Wales.

None of us need to feel shut off from the world, though some of us might choose to. We are confident that livelihood will follow initiative and enterprise.

The fear of isolation and restriction shouldn’t be a barrier to coming here.