The founders of the Kotare Village were Bob Corker and Kay Baxter, in association with the Koanga Institute, for which they are trustees.
It was through the work of the Koanga Institute that they were inspired to see the development of human-scale
villages as way of supporting the world-wide need to address the foundations of our human ecology.
Bob has degrees in Physics and Soil Science and has spent his working life as an organic sheep and beef farmer, environmental consultant, wetland designer and eco-village developer.
Observing how rural and urban communities have been dismantled by a global political economy, Bob has spent the last forty years exploring alternative models of land use and community development. He is clear that we cannot address the issues of ecological and community decline without addressing the core political/economic issues that frame these.
Over the last four years he has brought this knowledge and experience to choosing and financing the purchase of ideal land for the village and developing a comprehensive legal constitution from which Kotare Village will grow. In particular, he has chosen to work with the Community Land Trusts model, which is at the forefront of social and ecological change in re-imagining and re-establishing the ‘commons’ and subsequently developed the Kotare Community Land Trust and its vision.
He has a keen interest in regenerative design issues, in particular creating integrated human habitats, and all that entails. His current interests include developing a small regenerative polyculture farm within the Community Land Trust, which will include holistic grazing management, cows, poultry, and multi-tiered tree-cropping, plus supporting the development of the Village economy.
“This is a great place to live; I just love it. Every morning I rise with the gladness of the new day and venture out to greet the subtle beauty that surrounds us here. Settlers are drawn to the creativity of new ideas, and the energy and serenity of the land”
To read more about Bobs fascinating journey to becoming a co-founder of Kotare Village and creating the Kotare Community Land Trust and it’s guiding vision check out Bobs Story.
Kay is known worldwide for her work in saving heritage fruit trees and food plants, and increasingly for her work in the fields of nutrient-dense food production, and the links between healthy soil, healthy plants and animals, and healthy people.
Kay grew up amongst and was inspired by many gardeners. She has particularly fond memories of her grandmothers classical ‘quarter acre’ where each visit would bring out new experiences of the rich ecology her grandmother had brought forth, that nurtured her and all those who became part of the garden. When she began to build an orchard of her own, she embarked on a journey around the Kaipara Harbour collecting remnants of the old trees, and their stories, that had once supported immigrant families. This journey changed her life forever. As she became known for her tree collection, many old gardeners stepped forward with old tins and packets of seeds, family heirlooms with more fond stories and a common thread of “no one” left to care for them. Many years later, this collection has grown to 800+ vegetable seeds and 200+ fruit trees.
Growing these plants has reshaped Kay’s world, given her an understanding of the importance of how we co-evolve with them, and how important it is to nurture the environment that nurtures us. Kay’s life changed again the year of Chernobyl, when she discovered that most of New Zealand’s vegetable seeds were grown in the Northern hemisphere, many areas under a nuclear cloud at the time. She couldn’t believe how vulnerable we had allowed ourselves to become, and set out to grow a seed saving organization, which became the Koanga Institute.
This is the gift, and the challenge, that Kay has passed to the Koanga Institute. Can we nurture our human ecology? Can we, will we, step outside of the old industrial paradigm and regenerate our culture?
“My life journey has been about learning to live with the natural world, reconnecting with the laws of nature; the patterns of the seasons and the natural world, and the process of co-evolution. I am so grateful that I have been able to do this, and that journey will always continue.”
“This is a special place, it has taken a while to understand the purpose of our journey here and the responsibility we hold but we now understand that this space here is about reconciliation; with each other, the past, the future and ourselves. It is about healing on every level.”