It takes certain qualities to be a part of building a Village. Adventurous, creative, determined, resilient and visionary, are just some of the qualities that best describe the group of pioneer settlers that have already joined together to develop Kotare Village from the ground up.
Who are these people and where do they come from? What is it that motivates them to make this step into the unknown? What inspires them to be a part of Kotare Village?
We are a group of people who hold a common vision of living socially, environmentally and economically, responsible lives.
Bob & Kay
Kay and Bob are the founders of both the Koanga Institute and Kotare Village, to read more about their stories click here.
Their wonderfully productive and abundant garden gives a working illustration of self-reliance to the new arrivals in the village offering just one example of what can be achieved in a relatively small space of time.They know a thing or two about village life and are only too willing to share their knowledge and experience with all of us in the Village.
Shaked, Tes & Gesham
Shaked brings his wealth of experience of being bought up in a Kibbutz in Israel to Kotare. A trustee of the KCLT with a keen mind and a systems thinker he enjoys the mental gymnastics of problem solving and shines a calm light on the smallest and biggest of problems.
“For me, living in Kotare Village is like designing my childhood again, it’s an opportunity to be involved in creating a new culture, a new way of life, that is a mixture of here and there, old and new, wild and structured, individual and communal, our planet and myself”
Tes is at home in the low impact living of Kotare Village, she came as an intern, met Shaked, and together they brought Geshem into the world. Tes’s love of natural living is an inspiration to us all.
“Food is a big part of our culture here at Kotare and a big reason why I have stayed here.
I have some health issues, that seem to be common in many people and stem from eating capitalist industrial food/non food.. this place has been a safe place for me… I still struggle but in no way the same difficulty as i would if i lived in a city with no garden. Now with Gesh in my life I’m determined to provide him with the best start I can and provide him with the best quality food which is possible for me to do here at Kotare Village.”
Jenny came for a Permaculture Design Course at the Koanga Institute and decided Kotare Village was offering something that other communities weren’t and that she would like to come and make this her home. Currently living in a large house truck on her site, developing her garden, working for the Koanga Institute managing the seed sales to retail shops and preparing community meals while being involved in the wider Wairoa community.
“I am passionate about good health naturally and about the connection between the gut and the brain (GAPS). I love nutritious food – with flavour, colour and smell – all the delights of a good diet.”
After a lifetime dreaming of community she finally found it, nurturing the dream of a healing centre whilst studying Psychosynthesis counselling.
“What inspires me is the opportunity to live out my ideals; of caring for the Earth, right relating with my fellow beings and helping to be part of the solution to the worlds problems, rather than blindly following the status quo out of apathy, a sense of hopelessness or mindful ignorance.”
Melva has been involved in health and wellness almost all of her life and for around thirty years was involved in both clinical practice and the training of Naturopaths. She was a key person on many committees set up by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority to set standards for Natural and Traditional Therapies in New Zealand.
Her zest for life and passion for plants and trees is very apparent and soon after her arrival at Kotare Village she was already getting stuck in to creating her garden and planting some of the special trees that she bought with her.
“What inspires me most about living at Kotare Village at this particular point in time is to awake with the sunrise, the birds singing, and the fresh air all around, and then to step with bare feet onto the dewy green grass and give thanks for a bright new day filled with work to do!”
Meeting Bob and Kay on their tour of NZ in 2015 blew her mind as to the potential for nutrient dense food, when she heard there was a village, she had to check it out!
Carolyn was working as a planner with the Whakatane District Council at the time, and after visiting, decided it was time to set out on a new adventure.
“The peaceful and caring culture of Kotare Village inspires me. There is a real diversity of opinion and background among us, but we can get together and find creative solutions for everything. And its fun. There is an inclusiveness and feeling of equality amongst villagers, where everyone participates and is heard.
I am most interested in building a community of inter-connected people, and defining our identity in the wider community. I am passionate about healthy people in body, mind and spirit, and see that one day the village could develop into a wellness center, where people come for healing and time-out. In the meantime I am involved in various projects, including the water reticulation, which is well underway. Next is the building of houses.”
Carolyn’s house plans and a permit application have just gone into the council. Hers might be the first house built (Kay and Bob’s is close behind)
Fresh from the beautiful Franz Josef, Michelle is bringing her passion for living sustainably and love of the great outdoors. Michelle is the bookkeeping and seed-bank manager for the Koanga Institute.
“The most inspiring thing for me is being around like minded folks and surrounded by the support to learn and grow to make the world a better place, starting in your own corner of the world. For me it’s all about healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people with good energy to share and improve. I’m passionate about saving the world as I think every person alive needs to be part of the agenda for improvement.
Coming from Auckland, Renee is bringing a wealth of creativity and musical talents.
“I cherish the idea of being closer to the Koanga Institute and its ‘researcher’ community. Living in a community like the Kotare village is not just about of living ‘off the grid’ but rather living with in very clever and informed ways.
It is about being nurtured by the land and nurturing the land, promoting health and protecting our future.”
Glen is an experienced draughtsman, and has been self-employed in a range of activities. He has been attracted to the ideals and practice of Permaculture, and is particularly attracted to our goals around healthy food and self-reliance. He is currently looking after his elderly father in Auckland and visits occasionally to work on his section
Richard is the CEO for Kotare Commons Ltd and the Koanga Institute, plus assisting the Kotare Community Land Trust. We’ve really enjoyed having him on board and as he has reviewed and builds systems and a team going into the next development stage.While he isn’t a settler, he is totally engaged as a pioneer in taking the village forward. His family has owned land in Wairoa for 12 years, where they are in the process of planting it in to a commercial size food forest and developing their own self-reliance. Richard has 39 years of experience in Forestry/Conservation/Bio-security with both practical management of crews and higher level policy and staff/contractor management. Richard has worked closely with science institutes developing sustainable land management systems.
Michele, is the head gardener for the Koanga Institute, has been here for 3 years now and loves the challenge of raising the seeds and learning how to grow soils.
Taiamai, Franzi, Elanor & Frieda
Taiamai is Kay and Bob’s youngest son and he and his growing family were living here for a few years prior to the launch of Kotare Village. They have a section with many trees planted and garden beds. They are currently living in Wairoa, and he travels to the village everyday where he is developing a home kill butchering service in the village, specializing in traditional small goods (sausages, salami, bacon, ham etc) and has spent some time in Germany learning their traditional techniques.
“I love the Wairoa area, the sense of community, the welcome that people extended to us, and opportunities to hunt and fish.
We are looking forward to more children joining the community and bringing our girls up, in this special place.”
Franzi is originally from Germany and she was 18 when she travelled to NZ and met Taiamai. They have spent around eight years living and working with Kay, Bob and the Koanga Institute before moving to Central Hawkes bay whilst pregnant with her second daughter. Her love of singing and playing music is always a welcome treat when she visits the village as she is always game for a jam session.
“Our two girls keep me pretty busy these days, but when I get a bit of space I try to get back into my main passions of art and music.I am still studying towards a Diploma of Art & Creativity with the Learning Connexion, and am exploring making a living with art and illustration.
“We are currently renting in town, and will move back to Kotare Village once we have our house built”
Brian and Rose
Brian and Rose were originally from Zimbabwe where they had a fruit farm. They moved to NZ in 2001 with their family of five children. Brian has training in Mechanical Engineering, and much experience in innovative projects in a wide range of engineering applications. This is very useful for us all. He is also an EFT practitioner and shares this with others.
Brian is currently living in the village, having built a small simple temporary ‘house’ and is busy with all sorts of construction jobs around the village. Rose is still living in Gisborne, and visits most weekends, they are both actively working to make their lives simpler and enjoying the moment.
Murray is renting a section in the village where he lives in his mobile home. Murray is currently the nursery manager for the Koanga Institute, and has brought his considerable experience in nursery and landscaping to the fore.
Amy, Cameron, Ben, Mya and Oliver
Amy and Cameron bought section 9, and have recently placed several cabins on it. They are still in Auckland at present, but visit frequently. Amy has a background in Marketing and is very interested in giving her children the best start she can, and is particularly attracted to our ability to produce good food and a supportive community for her family. Cameron has a background in accounting and banking, and is currently a senior manager with a major bank. Ben, Mya and Oliver are all enjoying their visits to the ‘farm’.
Wendy and Joe
Wendy and Joe are both from South Africa, they’ve been looking for an opportunity like this for a while and enthusiastically joined up after attending a hui. They are currently selling their house in Auckland and moving here in November. Joe has a strong background in mechanical engineering, management and farming.
Wendy has a background in IT and business consulting (solution architecture) and a strong interest in wool crafts.
Matteo and Gabriela
Matteo and Gabriela came to NZ three years ago. They are both working as architects in Auckland and looking to follow their dreams of a more natural Lifestyle. They visit when they can, and have started the design for their cabin. They are hoping to settle in the village next year. In the meantime they are working with our new design team and they have the job of managing the generic design for our housing.