Our Story

Greenbridge is the creation of partners Daniel and Bena, who thought that with their backgrounds in design, project management and permaculture, that developing their degraded ten acre block on the outskirts of New Plymouth along sustainable principles would be easy. It wasn’t..

Greenbridge is the creation of partners Daniel and Bena, who thought that with their backgrounds in design, project management and permaculture, that developing their degraded ten acre block on the outskirts of New Plymouth along sustainable principles would be easy. It wasn’t..

They discovered first-hand that this challenge wasn’t due to the lack of sustainable solutions, but the lack of anyone pulling together the resources to make developing a property with sustainability in mind accessible and affordable.  So by April 2012, Greenbridge was born. Daniel now leads the homes side of things, while Bena leads the landscape team that has designed and built hundreds of regenerative landscape projects throughout New Zealand.

Family Lessons

Bena’s Mum was a chef who grew their organic veg, including some for market (Eltham wasn’t sure of what to make of the new Italian vegetable ‘broccoli!’), so food and nutrition featured for Bena from a young age.

First memories include eating borage flowers and watching the bees while Mum dug the potatoes. Bena went on to attain a degree in interior architecture, which led to an understanding of how the built environment can affect health and wellbeing, an understanding which is utilised in the healing landscapes she designs today. “Once I became a mother myself, it became even more important to grow food I knew was good for my children’s health and so I began the journey of learning about nutrient dense food, organics and permaculture".

A background in design

Daniel owned and ran a successful design and project management business in Wellington, but by 2009 was feeling disillusioned with his work… “I was earning a good income, supporting my wife and our two young children, I had a small and effective team and I was only working around thirty hours a week, mostly of from our home. However I felt like I was spending my time giving people stuff they didn’t need”.

The lease on their showroom in the Wellington CBD was coming to an end, so they decided to close down the business and move to Bena’s home town of Taranaki, with the hope that this change of location would provide them with an opportunity to follow a path that was in more alignment with their values...

Greenbridge is born

Once in Taranaki, Daniel and Bena set about training in sustainable practices in earnest. They enrolled in a permaculture design certificate being taught by well known local permaculturist Kama Burwell and bought a bare 10 acre block of land in Omata and began applying what they were learning. Kama joked that Bena and Daniel should start a business and she would come and work for them, which ended up being rather prophetic!

With experience designing, project managing and a good grounding in permaculture, Bena and Daniel thought developing their own property would be easy, however they found the biggest challenge was that there was no place to go to get good information about best sustainably practice, products and services. It was through this realisation, that the seed for Greenbridge was born.

Roots in farming

Kama grew up in Taranaki, on her family’s dairy farm. As a child she walked the land, playing in the creeks, bush and at times wept for the land. She studied natural resource engineering, thinking it would enable her to make a difference to the world, but after working for local government, she re-trained in permaculture design, experimented on three acres on a corner of her family’s farm, before becoming a sustainability educator.

In 2009 Kama trained with Prof Haikai Tane traveling to China to study traditional pacific-asia farming and watershed management systems. It had a profound impact on how she saw landscapes, water and the larger world. Then in August 2013 Kama joined the Greenbridge team, bringing together her knowledge to heal landscapes, creating abundance, and connecting people to those landscapes and one another.

Learning from the land

That’s our sweet peas Olive and Toby planting the first tagasaste trees on our land in 2010. What troopers – for three days it blew a westerly, where we could hardly stand but we were determined to get 600 trees planted the day the land was settled!

We lived in a caravan through snow, no hot water and cloth nappies, to get our dream of a sustainable property underway. Its been a pretty interesting journey since...

Pastural desert to
regenerative oasis

In little over a decade since buying what was a eroded, highly contoured pastural landscape, Bena and Daniel have transformed it into a highly productive and edible landscape.

During this time Bena has planted well over five thousand trees, they have protected three acres of bush with a QEII covenant, and through careful planning and infrastructure development they have created a highly resilient property that demonstrates many of the values they apply to their client projects.

Celebrating our clients

When Greenbridge began in 2012, sustainability was fringe. After all, what is a sustainable consultancy? At the time, there was no sustainable business template to follow, so the first three years were about figuring this out (with lots of mistakes and some successes) and figuring out how Greenbridge might help it’s clients on their journey.

"The real hero’s of our story are our clients! Without all the amazing people we have been so blessed to work with, that put their belief in us and dared to dream of a better tomorrow, we wouldn’t be able to be doing the work we do”.

Award winning

Greenbridge is recognised for its environmental leadership, both for small foot print homes and environmental stewardship. The Greenbridge team is privileged to work on incredible projects with amazing clients both nationally and in Taranaki.

While diverse, all projects undertaken at Greenbridge have regeneration at their heart!

Where to from here?

At Greenbridge we’re big dreamers! Here’s our daughter Olive’s vision of Taranaki – cloaked in deep green.

Greenbridge’s focus is create positive change towards healthy people and planet. Through design, implementation and education, we work to heal landscapes, create healthy homes and resilient, connected communities. We are leaders and change makers!

A strong regional food system is envisaged, with diverse land use and regenerative farming. Maori food systems are revitalised, providing unique, high quality nutrient dense kai, to heal our bodies and whenua. Taranaki people are eating Taranaki food. With each garden, community project, healthy home and diversified farm regenerated, we realise our dream of a better, hope-filled and ecologically vibrant tomorrow.

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