Friday, 19 April 2013

A Day at the Community

This was my fourth visit to Wilderland Trust, a Community,  which is set in hills in the Coromandel Peninsula, historically an area of forestry and alternative living situated on the east coast of North Island.

Below is a series of pictures of events during a typical day at the Community, which was established in 1964 by Dan and Edith Hansen, who were pacifists and vegetarians. Thousands of people have stayed on the 300 hectare farm over the intervening years.

 I was an early riser and made porridge for the 18 or so staying with the community

The composting toilet

Kindling wood and logs had to be cut in order to make the fire for cooking and heating water, along with the solar panels. I had become proficient at this when in Tasmania

Cooking great food had become a competitive sport, much to my great pleasure

A rescued turkey had been adopted as a pet by the kids. They were able to pick "Squeaker" up and talk with "it".

Transplanting brasicas into mulched beds, which had to be covered against birds

A view of the bush from the organic shop which we took turns in manning each day. Pampas grass in the mid distance is a pernicious weed, but looks good in pics 

Sitting around after lunch

Part of the kitchen in the communal hall

All sorts of organic products were made for the shop. We have over 130 bee hives. Most of the the honey is manuka, a great earner. Creams and potions, native herbal teas, a book exchange, as well as seasonal fruit and veg 

A plate of scrumptious food for lunch

Views towards Whitianga Harbour

On many evenings there was live music and singing. Most of the stuff was only known to the young

The pleasures of a simple camp fire and conversation

The transport to the shop

A wide variety of accomodation has accumulated over the years

The Dome House

A lovely little old caravan

A little wooden house on stilts

The Octogone, where I once stayed

Another non-standard residence, a tepee, which is surprisingly spacious. The large pebbles set in the centre, to keep the fire in check, keep one cosy at night

I lived in an old Bedford camper van,. This was the view from the doorway

My favourite fruit, the feijoa. It does not travel, so it cannot be sampled in England. It was discovered in Southern Brazil by a German explorer. It has few pests in NZ, so grown organically. Each fruit has a slightly different taste

 is like paradise for me: scenery, healthy  and wonderful people who choose to live communally

Another unusual fruit, the tamarillo. There are four varieties of avocado and six of plums that are grown, which gives long seasons

Eating freshly picked figs straight from the tree

Banana passion fruit. There are also other fruits grown: persimmon ,loquat, melons and cherimoys, which Mark Twain said "it is the finest fruit known to mankind". It originates from the Andes

Walnuts. A good crop is grown every year

Part of the gardens

This is the family house of Shia and his family

A juicy, ripe fig

Another family house

There are anumbeer of quince trees from which are made into jams and jellies

Some of the produce on sale when we did a local market

The Wilderland stall at Coraglen market

Pumpkins are great keepers

A fresh tomato that is still warm and the sharp aroma of the calix can be smelt

A bunch of juicy grapes

Evening in the Hall. One can hear the rising sound of cicadas as the sun starts to fade

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Third Time Lucky

It has been very hard to find a host because a lot of people have discovered wwoofing, as well as escaping to New Zealand for the winter! I had a few places that appealed to me, such as, Coromandel Mussel Kitchen. The Coromandel coast is famous for the green lipped mussel, perna canalicula, which is known for its beneficial effects on arthritis. The place was fully booked for weeks. Then there was also Driving Creek Cafe in the hippie Coromandel Town. Full up, again. Mana Retreat Centre was also full. Naomi at the Herbal Dispensary was also booked. Even tried B and B's, no go.

John to the rescue. This was my third time to stay with him. The first time was in 2000! He met me off the bus from Auckland with a fag on the go and I thenremembered just how strong his Liverpool accent was, even after over 30 years. His wife died two years ago, she was an even larger than life figure than he is.

Most of my stay was concerned with helping to prepare and repaint his 100-year old house, which was transported some 100 miles to its present site 15 years ago.

The rear of the rimu wooded house has wonderful views across from the Coromandel mountains towards the Haraki plains,which are full of dairy and beef farms.

View looking south

The local town of Thames which formerly had been the centre of an 1860's gold rush area The yellow leaved areas in the picture are English privet which have become a pernicious weed in the highly mineralised soils of NZ

A view to the south west. There has been a drought since Christmas!

Part of the rear of the house which i had scraped. Lovely working in the fresh air every day. I need to be careful on my return as my coloured skin could draw attention to me

Up the gravel road to the east shows pinus radiata the favoured tree crop for forestry of the region on the left of the picture

Houses here are far larger than in the UK. This is part of the east-west line

View looking east towards the Coromandel Range

My new friend, Poppy, the Staffordshire, who follows me everywhere faithfully 

Moon rise over the pine covered mountains, which have lots of wild pig roaming them

A surreptitious pic taken in the local casino full of spaced out punters

Thames is now a quiet, small town compared to its gold mining past. Full of locally owned and run shops and coffee bars. I used to pop down for a coffee on my bike. Coffee is well-made here, as it is a very competitive market

Old fashioned shop fronts are comforting. So much better than a cloned town

I helped do night time deliveries of bread to supermarkets and cafes in the region. After delivering we had to stack the shelves with fresh bread and remove time dated ones 

Some of the pigs who were fed scraps, windfalls and waste. I had forgotten just how voraciously they eat, just like cyclists

Front view of part of the house, after repainting

Rob at the wheel of  the a/c bread delivery van

Just some of the bright, colourful flowers that are seen. The bright, intense sun makes the colours more vivid 

Some of the colourful blossoms to be seen

Early morning with mist on the plains

A sort of bougainvillea 

Some of John's steers

Beautiful and varied colourful flowers

One of the original buildings in Thames

A smallholding just down the road

One of our neighbours

Looking over to the north

Patches of yellow plantain on the hillside in Thames


 A ripening chestnut, of which there are a number

Red delicious, which is one of a number of varieties which includes, braeburn, bramaley, crab and cider 

One of the steers (castrated male for fattening)

View of Thames from the war memorial

A common trumpet shaped flower that grows along the roadside

Evening view showing the extent of the parched grass. Cattle and beef cattle prices have plumeted in this driest year ever. The opposite to the UK

John Martindale

My favourite colour, pink !