The First Ever "Taranaki Eco Hotspot Tour"

The start of the eco tour at Dee Turner's organic & biodynamic property on Korito Rd.



The 'Taranaki Eco Hotspot Tour' was organized as a follow up to the APC11 conference in Turangi.  Originally instigated by Kama Burwell, Green Bridge was excited to take up the organizing, promotion and running of the tour at Kama's request - due to her commitments at Hive Taranaki.


The tour was a great success, covering a wide cross section of individual focuses and visited six of the most exciting sustainably minded properties in our beautiful region.  We ended up having nineteen attendees over the three days, made up of five locals, one east coaster and the rest from abroad - ranging from Australia & Malaysia through to California.



Running over the three days from Wed 18 to Fri 20th April, the tour was fully catered with local organic food and included transport.


The first day of the tour started at Derena Turner’s Korito Organics.  Dee is a well-known teacher of organics and biodynamics and she and her partner Dave, have developed self-sufficient, certified organic & biodynamic 10-acre property, which is off the grid, they have built a macrocarpa eco-home, created a lake and planted hundreds of trees.


The afternoon of the first day was spent at Michael Lawley’s Eco-innovation.  Michael and Linda run a renewable electricity generation business from their remarkable 10-acresite, exporting micro-hydro turbines around the world. They are off the grid themselves, with their eco-home, workshop and EcoInn accommodation business powered by a combination of solar, wind and hydro.


We started Thursday morning with a guided walk along the Huatoki WalkwaySteve Wharehoka provided a local Maori perspective and history of the walkway’s food and fibre resources and we also dropped into the burdgeoning eco-community that’s developing along the walkway. We finished the walk at the impressive 10-acre Shepherd’s Bush community orchard.


Thursday afternoon was spent at John and Ruth Ernie’s farm Avonstour.  An inland farm, John & Ruth farm heritage organic farm, provides rarebreed meat and eggs to the local Farmer’s Market, restaurants and buyer co-ops. They are innovative and creative farmers, utilizing tree crops extensively, with dams jumping with a range of fish and rotating several animal species.


On the final morning of the tour, Dan & Bena of Green Bridge gave a “bare all” exploration of the challenges and successes they have found in the early stages of a sustainable development of their 10-acre block on Hurford Rd, Omata.  We showed what we are doing to restore a healthy watershed and managing large overland flows, as well as what we have done so far in an eco retrofit of our relocated home.


The final visit of the tour was to Pat & Sandy’s ‘garden of eden’ amongst the windswept pastures of Warea.  Once described as Taranaki‘s best gardeners, Pat and Sandy shared how they transformed a barren site into a lush garden of food and beauty.



Feedback from the attendees about their experience on the tour included: "this is the best tour I have ever been on", "I would have been happy to pay more to come on this tour" & "your selection of properties was perfect".  Some of the locals have already gone on to get further advice and products from the tour hosts and a few of the Australian participants are planning a return visit to learn more.




We have already had a few requests to run more tours, so let us know if you are keen to attend and please give us some feedback on what you are looking for: a two day weekend or tour over several evenings, transport included or not, particular sites or topics to cover and of course what you would be happy to pay?...


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