I'm 43 and a permaculture enthusiast. Large, peaceful and dynamic property is a tree-lovers paradise and features a river, waterfall and plenty to explore. I'm establishing food, shelter and energy systems here using holistic permaculture principles, the goal is self-sufficiency and working with nature to provide our needs. Food foresting, gardening, composting, designing, conservation tasks, and i'm keen to learn from you. Energy efficient, unique log house. Good food. Buses to the gate. WiFi available.
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Learn how it is to live on the edge of modern capitalist society, taking what you need from the system while providing much for yourself; how to value and take care of soil, plants and animals; whether you can leave your ego and expectations at the door and provide 5 hours help and rest in good humour, engagement, acceptance and self-reliance per day whilst avoiding your phone.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️It's critical that you read my profile ABSOLUTELY THOROUGHLY... It contains important things you need to know. I can't take any helpers who have not read it in full, carefully considering all elements. I know it's long, but i hope also entertaining. I expect any questions, concerns, worries or deal-breakers to be addressed BEFORE commiting to a date. I am happy to answer everything.
You're going to be a brave person to get through this intimidating profile, consider yourself suitable and finally show up to volunteer - and i respect that! Congratulate yourself.
If you want to see more pics, videos and explanations of the project just ask, i am active on social media.
AVAILABILITY: limited to supremely suitable candidates.
WHO SHOULD APPLY: People who read through my whole profile and are still happy and intrigued.
HOW SHOULD YOU APPLY: Well in advance, after careful consideration.
HOURS: the standard 5 hour workaway day.
Agenda and updates:
Summer 2018/2019: (coming) Food harvest and preservation; herb, flower and autumn vege propagation and planting; nursery work; food forest maintenance; firewood; building projects, native bush conservation (lots).
Spring 2018: Garden bed prep; making compost; sowing seeds, potting up and planting out; building garden infrastructure; food forest planting and maintenance; making and using biochar; preparing for market (small scale).
Winter 2018: Food forest maintenance - planting and pruning; tree protection; propagating perennials, sowing tree seeds and early spring starts; building water capture and storage systems; working with chicken tractors to prepare new planting areas; firewood sawing, gathering, moving, splitting and specialised stacking; processing and storing winter crops like yacon, water chestnuts, jerusalem artichokes; gathering carbon materials; cooking on the wood burner every night/making biochar; building pest control traps and implementing; small building projects; organising and tidying.
Autumn 2018 (Mar-May): some preserving; taking many cuttings for perennial propagation; transforming summer garden into winter garden (planting brassicas, peas, broad beans and garlic); dissecting massive felled pines to produce firewood, kindling, biochar, bark, mulch (whole-tree ethic); splitting and creatively stacking firewood; work with chicken tractors/preparing new beds for spring; making compost; planting and mulching in the food forest; building workshop/shelters; greenhouse propagation; maintaining a productive market stall fortnightly; collecting leaves.
The property has many and diverse features, from regenerating native bush to rare and exotic tree species; a hidden waterfall (tall, majestic and serene with glow-worms at night) and beautiful wandering creek with deep emerald-green banks on either side; a wild river (with zipline to cross it!), to a disused railway track and bridge. Plenty to explore, lots of space to retreat to and lose yourself in. Quiet and peaceful. Birdlife is fantastic, fantails are everywhere and keep us company while working.
The log house is naturally warm in winter and cool in summer, is full of character and it's natural integrity reflects it's surroundings and my philosophy. There is one room for workawayers with queen bed for a single, couple or two friends to share. Many more details about the domestic situation below.
Have established 19 chickens into the system but there are currently no other domesticated animals here.
We sometimes watch good movies/series, there is a big selection of graphic novels (ex-cartoonist) and permaculture and gardening books.
"Being honest may not get you a lot of friends, but it'll always get you the right ones." - John Lennon
So, welcome to the first permaculture-inspired *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️profile*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ on workaway. In line with permaculture principles, i've put a lot of energy into it now, to minimise energy expenditure and maximise return later. It's the first interface between the project and you, the people who make it happen. It's the "people care" part of the "earth care, people care, fair share" permaculture ethic. You deserve to know what you're getting into before you spend the energy required to come and participate - it's only fair. Even if you don't , you'll learn a bit about permaculture, homesteading, NZ culture, and how to be a good volunteer.
We all know we're at a crisis point. Over-developed societies especially are pretending there is no tomorrow. Almost everything we do is out of step with and quickly destroying natural systems. Once you've accepted this and have answered the question "what am i morally obligated to do about it?" with "everything i can", then the next question is what to do about it.
Permaculture is widely recognised as being a design system that can provide many of the solutions. It recognises all beings have needs, and designs to fulfill those needs so all elements within the system are working in harmony with each other.
Whilst it can be applied to any scenario or structure, from economic to agricultural to social to the built environment to urban planning, my own permaculture project is the more traditional "back to the land" approach because it best suits my character, ambition and interests. It is my response to the question "what do i do?". Whilst it is designed in the short term to provide for the needs of those living here, it has inter-generational import. It is bigger than you, me and today; i hope what we do here will still be functioning for others a hundred years from now - resilient and self-sustaining - a good design.
My project is a work in progress and many elements are still being explored and refined, including domestic, social, financial and so on. It is an increasingly uncompromising permaculture project where many common expectations and assumptions to do with modern living are challenged, whilst others are embraced. It can sometimes be hard for some people to adjust and problems can arise. So i have a "no surprises" policy and my profile is honest and very detailed to achieve this. No sugar-coating here. What i want is for those willing to come and take part to be fully informed, and at the same time to avoid situations where people are unhappy as it affects me too. If you're suitable you could have a good time, learn lots, gain inspiration and make great friends. If not, you might be miserable and leaving early. It's worth it to be honest with yourself and me. You can scroll down to "CONDITIONS" first as you may be able to rule yourself out early.
I am a single male, without children. I have a relatively rare personality type (INFJ if you want to look it up). I am *️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️mostly*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ polite, friendly, respectful, tolerant and non-confrontational. I do best one-on-one, in groups not so good. Although i obviously like words, i don't talk a huge amount (except about the project), i don't tell stories or jokes and I can't be bothered with small talk so initiate conversation on interesting topics and talk about your interests and family life. I like the occassional debate, am often taking the devil's advocate role. I'm always trying to find humour in places it usually isn't; if you think i'm being sarcastic you may or may not be right.
I have some background in urban gardening. I specialised in growing as much food in as small a space as possible and innovated several techniques to assist that. I gained my permaculture design certificate in 2011 and was awarded for my little urban composting system... which gave me confidence that i had something to offer others. Feeling i'd outgrown small spaces and tiring of city life, i've purchased a large property inland from Gisborne. Whilst engaging and dynamic it has many challenges (and therefore opportunities!). I am excited at the prospect of establishing a resilient and beautiful living space here....
I don't work off-site or have much of an income, as i decided to put as much time and energy into the project as possible. I've been hosting helpers for 5+years over the different platforms and combined with my relentless drive a fairly impressive amount has been achieved in this time. This project isn't about money, unless it's about not having to spend much. I believe to be truly self-sufficient you need to divorce yourself from the economic models that prevail. So in some areas - certain foods, energy expenditure, fuel use, resource use and re-use - there are extremes of caution and care. In other areas we luxuriate in full - a bountiful harvest, good company, time off, ideas, discussions, natural beauty.
I'm usually very busy, juggling this big project (70%), volunteers (20%), small business (20%), domestic duties (10%), and everything else (75%). Yes that's more than 100% of my time. I'll often be working when you're not. You'll find i'm caught up in something most of the time. You'll need to occupy yourself for most of the non-working day.
I am proudly non-conformist and act on what i believe, not just talk about it then do the easier thing. The van i pick you up in from the bus stop will have a dashboard covered in cobwebs - an invitation to consider how nature interacts with the built environment and can work with us to achieve a common goal (the spiders weave webs to catch insects to eat, insects which distract and bother drivers trying to stay alive on the roads). This will be the first of many examples that might challenge your world view (like permaculture challenged and widened my perceptions some years ago). The pressure to conform will insist the dashboard be cleaned - but that would be compromising and losing a valuable insight and lesson, as well as allowing the stifling oppression of the established social norms to reign in my piece of paradise - uh uh. It will pay you huge dividends to come with a wide open mind. You might initially be shocked, but you'll get used to things and at least you'll eat well!
After reading this profile you might be forgiven wondering if i'm an intimidating ogre - don't forget there are many aspects to human personalities so if you like pigeonholing people you might be surprised. You might also be surprised if you try pigeonholing me to my face - i resent parts of me being put in boxes (i won't be doing that to you) so you'll be judging your way to an irritated host which usually leads to early departure. As long as you aren't obnoxious and confrontational and maintain basic respect you'll find a smiling friendly but busy host who will stay that way. Unfortunately my tolerance of "bad behaviour" is at an all-time low after too many bad experiences and it will only take one mean-spirited incident to switch my light off so be a good person ok? Because if i'm expecting the nasty you to rear up again i'll keep my distance in every way. This usually leads to early departure. The other exception is work time - i can't help being all-business, so keep everything in perspective and take the learning opportunity.
Additionally, if there is ANY risk of you feeling "unsafe" or "uncomfortable" alone with a middle-aged single male, due to your naivete, inexperience, superficiality, or judgmental nature, based solely on how someone looks, sounds or communicates in person (ie. things that you might not like but that they cannot control) or your gut response to the way a person lives (ie. things that you might not like but that they will not change for you), then you MUST not apply. This is for my PERSONAL SAFETY. The psychological damage from a judgmental, discriminatory encounter like this IN MY OWN HOME is huge, especially when physically and socially isolated with a keenly sensitive disposition. No-one would invite an internet troll into their house - i seem to have done so too often.
If this profile - perhaps the most in-depth in profile history - still does not contain enough information for you to make a confident, informed decision and you are even 2% "wait and see" - then DO NOT APPLY! Why did i bother with this if you are still risking a destructive encounter for me after meeting?
I'm looking for dedicated volunteers. Not random backpackers. You will CARE about the planet and be FIRMLY resolved in doing everything you can to help. This is your life's mission now, and you're looking for examples, skills and ideas to go further in your own situation. You are taking responsibility as a human stuck in a wasteful western paradigm. What is your plan to account for the tonnes of carbon you emitted on your flight to NZ? Do you know how much that was? Do you realise the planet has a carbon budget, and you just spent some of it? How about the money you earned to pay for the flight? Who was exploited, what resources were extracted non-sustainably? Have you followed the supply chains back to their origin, noting all the damage along the way? If you're already thinking about these things, you'll get a lot out of staying here.
I do not take short-notice applicants. I do not trust your decision-making. You are thinking "what do i do now, where do i go now?". You're flailing around like a landed fish. You won't care at all about the disruption and last-minute prep you force upon your chosen host. Last-minute helpers are a high percentage of snowflakes, melting at the first sign of heat. Many pull out or move on quickly. Most are just avoiding paying for a hostel and pretending to be interested until something better comes along. Most experienced hosts will have judged you thusly and will show a corresponding lack of interest and commitment in you. So plan well ahead, take time to consider and discuss your stay with your host, book transport and interim accomodation - all of this shows you are serious and to be respected.
This is primarily a place of learning and doing, not a social hub or internet cafe. It is a busy permaculture homestead, not a place to sit around for hours chatting or relaxing. You're not on holiday. While your work is a serious, planned, focused five hours, this is the lifestyle the rest of the time. Not bored suburban do-nothing. There isn't time to sit and talk concepts and vague theories - here stuff gets DONE. Your free time is your time, but i'd appreciate having people around who use it productively in some way, to better themselves and their skills, who engage with their environment. It's a much cooler vibe than couch-slobbing. It's very boring and frustrating when i'm doing stuff all the time and the only other person on the property sits around asking to watch movies or with the nose in the phone. Instead, be a flexible open book you can fill up with ideas and examples and keep your hands busy. There are plenty of crafting opportunities in your downtime, plenty of nuts to crack, seeds to pod or eggshells to crush while reading or watching TV (ASK for something to flex the fingers!). Permaculture and gardening books galore. There are chickens to cuddle and the huge variety and interest in 50 acres of diverse landscape. Surprise me and be the person who disappears into the bush and comes back with stories of what you find. You know who does that? Hardly anybody. You know what they do instead???
That's right. A grumble about phone addicts: if you prefer virtual life to real life; if you can't resist your friends, family and strangers wanting your attention; if you have taken the place of someone who actually could have appreciated everything in the paragraph above - then we'll be having an uncomfortable conversation about it. If you disappear into your room at 9pm and emerge at 9am late for work then it is assumed you are abusing internet privileges. No, nobody needs 12 hours sleep! I have heard all the excuses and it's not nice confronting disrespectful, dishonest addictive behaviour (BTW i have an excellent BS detectorand can spot a lie at 50 paces so you may as well be honest with me in all matters, as honest as i am in this profile please). Did you come here to sleep-walk through the day, being irritable, disengaged and taking huge naps because you got 5 hours sleep after whatsapping all night? It is ALL noticed and noted. It shows you're not reeeeally here and don't reeeeally want to be here - so why be here? Thanks for wasting my time and energy. What happened to travelling broadening your horizons? Does your horizon always look like home, that you keep one eye on through a glaring rectangle? Trust me when i say i speak on behalf of all hosts about this topic, so apply this to all your workaways.
Please don't be offended if i am not able to accommodate unsolicited requests, and don't be too intimidated by this profile. It's being cruel to be kind.
Each day i make a plan to tackle the most urgent jobs at that time for the functioning of the house, gardens, food forest or general maintenance. They might not be what you or i would LIKE to do that day but they are what we NEED to do that day. It could mean a varied day or one big job.
After 6 years the system is starting to get well-established, but there is still heaps to do. In general, we are establishing integrated, low-input organic systems in home-scale production of fruit, nuts, veges, herbs and flowers, which will be on multiple levels; planning, developing and planting a food forest; gathering resources and making best use of things such as firewood, hay, leaves, stone; hot compost-making; minimising weeding; propagating: growing veges from seed, self-seeding, taking cuttings and more; conservation work to protect the native environment which has been classed as significant in the area; tree-planting; strategies for living more closely to natural systems, minimising energy and water use, storing energy in the form of fuel and preserves; developing and analysing efficient systems of working small-scale without fossil-fuels. Permaculture principles underlie all decision making and activity.
As i get to know you i hope to tailor at least some tasks to suit your skills or interests. Regardless, your work will be fair, varied and designed to your capabilities. However if you have a cultural background of strong gender-role prejudices, these will be challenged: girls will be doing "boys" work, boys will be doing "girls" work, and complainers are not wanted - there are plenty of other hosts who will slot you into traditional gender-based jobs - please go to them. Fingernails and clothes will get dirty, muscles will be exercised, cakes will be baked, dishes will be washed - by whoever. There is a strong feminist attitude here - we will probably watch Mad Max: Fury Road at least once!
I have a hard time keeping things organised, probably due to endless prioritising in my mind, which sees mess starting to dominate. You'll be asked occassionally to step in and sort this out for me. This is called "helping". If you're likely to say something like "I'm not your slave, man!" (direct quote), then absolutely avoid applying. This type of person leaves by nightfall.
One ongoing task is pest-control. I have had plenty of well-meaning but rationally-challenged animal -lovers take issue with the need to manage the population of wild furry creatures with teeth. If you are new to New Zealand, understand that we have unique flora and fauna (majoring in birds) that is under immense threat from introduced mammalian predators (there are no native mammals in NZ except for a couple of bats) and human activity. But it is only human activity - the act of eradicating mammalian predators - that will give our ecosystem any chance of long-term survival (ignoring climate change which will wipe us all out unless unless...). This means actively trapping possums. rats, mice, stoats, weasels, ferrets, hedgehogs, feral and stray cats, wild pigs, deer, goats, rabbits and more... all introduced by humans in the last 150 years. Quite frankly it's a losing battle. But, successive governments have a goal of a predator-free country by 2050. Grass-roots community groups are trapping all over the country. This is our culture. Keeping in mind i am practically vegan myself, vegan animal-rights activists will struggle in this country, and here. Your arguments are passe and not relevant to NZ. No, nature will not "sort itself out". No, this is not natural evolution, so just leave everything alone. No, trapping a feral cat or rat, driving 2 kilometres down the road and releasing it is not the solution - that's giving someone else a problem. Please, please, please - research "NZ conservation" before getting on the plane and educate yourself. You might even be inspired to help us. If not that, then finding a torn-apart weka on a track might do it,
Safety is paramount at all times. Human ingenuity and creativity and hard work is preferred over fossil-fueled machinery - so no quad-bikes, tractors or weed-eaters.... (exception: chainsaws!). My style is to fully explain why you're doing what you're doing, to emphasise and direct you to the most efficient way of working - your time is my time. It can be a sort of boot-camp in efficiency sometimes - i'm not as rough as a drill sergeant but i may drill into you specific ways to accomplish a task. Be open to taking and acting on this detailed advice and a little bit of constructive criticism. I am VERY open to new and/or improved techniques or having my mistakes pointed out and will be very grateful if you can improve how i and others can work better in the future - don't be afraid to make suggestions! I am very hard to anger but i also don't tolerate disrespect, carelessness or low energy input. If you're like this we would be in conflict. Where possible i'd be working with you, or otherwise, on hand until i'm confident you understand the job and are working well. If you're talking, it's either about the work or you're continuing to work - idle stop-work chit-chat drives me nuts and extends the work day for everyone so please stay focused for the 5 hours, there is a lot to do in that time. There are 19 hours left in the day for your socialising, play and sleep. I'm also not going to say please and thank you 20 times a day, so take it for granted that i very much appreciate every minute you are working here
Personal interractions are vital here. Therefore personality traits are vitally important. Since this is my home and project, i get to choose the types of people i live with. You may be wonderful in many ways but if our personalities don't mesh it won't work out. There are various tools we can use to determine if we might be a good fit. First i will reveal more about myself to help you:
Using this list of characteristics you can assess your own personality traits and use this to judge your suitability:
1. Stable extraverts (outgoing, talkative, responsive, easygoing, lively, carefree, leadership)
2. Unstable extraverts (touchy, restless, excitable, changeable, impulsive, irresponsible)
3. Stable introverts (calm, even-tempered, reliable, controlled, peaceful, thoughtful, careful, passive)
4. Unstable introverts (quiet, reserved, pessimistic, sober, rigid, anxious, moody)
I identify strongly as a stable introvert the majority of the time, with stable extravert tendencies when extremely relaxed (rarely), and unstable introvert tendencies when stressed. How will you respond to these scenarios?
If you identify strongly with numbers 2 and 4 you should stop reading now and close the page. Seriously.
If you are the only helper here, you may not get the social interaction you prefer. Still make an effort - avoidance and discontent is as plain as day and very rude. I've had people stop talking to me yet stay, do the work, eat the food, use the internet - this is close to sociopathy. No longer tolerated.
If you are a secure, self-content person who can handle your own company, sees the bright side and can be friendly with anyone, while relishing all the new sights, experiences and ideas - welcome.
Sorry, i don't drink and there are no drugs welcome here. I don't know if your impression of an "alternative" lifestyle includes copious amounts of free dope for you to sponge off while here, this could lead to disappointment and "boredom" if you're assuming that. Only boring people get bored. Go get high or wasted somewhere else, i don't enjoy that fake atmosphere.
In relation to your host: take an interest in the lifestyle, town activities and my knowledge of the property and area. I'm never too busy to introduce you at the right time. Company on town trips is appreciated, helpful and usually eventful and fun, despite the early start. I know the best features of the property and can show you in due course. Look around and explore the house, how things are set up, all the interesting features and materials and areas of work and play and mess outside. Meet and get to know the wildlife and chickens. Be curious. Questions are essential. It shows you're interested. To prove you've read this profile deeply add the following comment to the end of your email: "Who was Aldo Leopold?". Did you come here to learn and explore or sit around waiting for something to happen? Is it time to check your phone again? and again and again? This is not the place for you.
Since the social life is key to all else here, i take all of this very seriously these days. It is not worth it to prolong a social situation that is damaging and disrespectful. Personally, if it comes down to it i prefer to be alone than in company with uninterested and disrespectful people, so if you think this is you - keep your bag half-packed. :) If you don't take this seriously you might find yourself being asked to leave at extreme short notice. I AM SERIOUS ABOUT THAT! I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE WORK TO DO OR YOUR OWN PLANS IF YOU DELIBERATELY, IGNORANTLY OR ARROGANTLY IGNORE ANYTHING IN THIS PROFILE - YOU WILL BE GOING! Since i have made this clear here, it will therefore be your own responsibility, cost and burden. Like hitch-hiking? It is a waste of everyone's time to go through that process, so think and act carefully before writing to me and after arriving. This profile is a technical manual - don't think you're done with it and slip into your old patterns of behaviour when you get off the bus. Shortest route to early departure.
Remember - you don't get to choose who and what surrounds you in life until you've earned it. 23 and think you own the world and it owes you respect, attention and lovely Instagram moments? Sorry mate. Wrong wrong wrong. Your time here is to adapt and engage, not superficially judge others for their choices, lifestyle or opinions. You've been invited into someone's life - be respectful if you want respect. Do your job. Make the most of it. Leave when you've agreed to. Can't handle this idea? DON'T COME!
Sadly, i read more and more hosts complaining about all the stuff i'm talking about. The general consensus is the volunteers are changing and the host/volunteer paradigm is not working like it used to. Blame millenials, internet addictions, global anxiety, Trump, helicopter parenting - whatever. Also blame hosts that use volunteers as cheap labour (illegal in NZ but everywhere) that disappoint and alienate idealistic young willing workers with reception/child-care/cleaning work they should be paying someone for. As a host, the immature "if you don't like it just leave" attitude of many volunteers is corrosive, damaging and counter-productive. When long-time and old-school hosts are saying "it's just not worth it" en-masse, this means they have been worn down and burned out by this new attitude. I used to take over 100 people a year over various platforms, now it is much much less. Good hosts take fewer and fewer people, leaving the exploiters to soak them up, feeding the "just leave" cycle. So, identify the good hosts that are left, read their damn profiles, ask questions, and avoid the exploiters, even if it means not doing any volunteering because there aren't enough good hosts to meet demand anymore. What you do affects your host which affects the next helper - and vice-versa. It's a continuum, you are not isolated and your decisions and behaviour matters to others - just like in the physical world with over-consumption, pollution and climate change. You may "only" be 18, or 23, or 27 - but surely you can moderate the most self-interested parts of your psyche for a short time and contribute something outside your own ego and insecurities. Surely? This was possible 20 years ago (so i hear). You're helping your host to make their small part of the world a better place - if your host then WANTS to take more helpers after a positive exchange, MORE good work can be done. This is your chance to pay it forward.
The western relationship to food is obviously completely broken.
When i stay somewhere i eat everything offered to me, and everything on my plate, without a problem. That's called respect. This is even more important where your host has laboured to grow most of the food.
In parts of the world if you don't eat every last grain of rice on your plate you are socially excluded.
I'm sick to death of fussy western eaters. Recent (extreme) example: person arrived in the height of summer production on my vegetarian permaculture farm and only then revealed they were solid meat eaters "trying" vegetarian, then revealed they don't eat fruit or vegetables. Could only eat potates, rice and onions. Misery followed.
Vegetarians welcome. Vegans welcome. Hey, even meat-eaters welcome if you bring your own animal flesh or go out and shoot a rabbit. But don't make your food issues my issues. You'll understand when i demand that complaining, fussy eaters are BANNED. Here, you'll be expected to eat a variety of meals, sourced from what i have available at that time.
To help you, this is a guide: low sugar, low oil. In summer and autumn, fresh veges and fruit and lots of eggs. In winter and spring, preserved, frozen, dried, stored and some fresh veges and fruit and a few eggs.
Typical meal items: Fruit crumble. Rice vege/fruit cake. Vege omelet. Salad. Sushi (no fish). Dahl. Curry. Ratatouille. Soup. Daily hummus. Vegan banana fruit nice cream.
Typical ingredients (most home grown): Potatoes, pumpkin/squash, rice, quinoa, amaranth, peanut butter, yacon, carrots, jerusalam artichokes, sweet potato, sweetcorn, chestnuts, walnuts, chickpeas, lentils, beans, all fruits (too many to list), eggs, most spices, popcorn, corn chips, garden greens, herbs, tea, covfefe, VERY limited cheese and butter.
ALWAYS prioritising what's ripe and ready in the garden, on the trees.
I'm gluten-free for medical reasons. I might have a few loaves of bread in the freezer, if not i do have standby flour and yeast, so YOU can make a stove-top flat bread thing (no oven).
You will need to include with your email any food allergies or food refusals you have, especially regarding the above list. Can be discussed. Otherwise, refusal to eat/try/experiment with what's on offer means you've missed the whole point of this stay and will be asked to leave for the sake of your own nutrition. Turn your nose up with that classic "mmm, nah" disrespecting face and i open the goodbye door for you. Harsh? Try growing much of your own food with a limited budget and see how YOU feel about it, supermarket bunny. Still too harsh? I liked the phrase "open the goodbye door" too much to edit this.
It's up to all members of the household to organise and motivate ourselves. Nothing will be done without your involvement.
Indoors, cooking and cleaning is outside working hours, and shared equally. Emphasis on EQUALLY.
The house gets messy FAST. There aren't many maids in NZ and definitely none here. I'm still asked why i don't have a maid come and keep things clean! You may be dripping with maids in Paris but a) i'm 50kms from the nearest town; b) i would never spend money on this; c) NZ chooses to exploit it's immigrant workforce for picking fruit and d) the type of person who asks "why not a maid" would never work as a maid therefore their opinion is class-based, privileged-western worthless.
The kitchen is often "messy", with dirty dishes stacked waiting to be washed throughout the day, soaking in waste water; multiple food and solid waste streams stored and awaiting processing by chickens, worms or microbes; a bucket of smelly kitchen waste water in plain sight waiting to be emptied; various food harvests laid out on the lounge floor awaiting storage, all sorts of goods and boxes and stuff waiting to be put away as it comes in. Fruit flies can be a challenge and spider webs are left everywhere to deal with flying insects. CAN YOU HANDLE THIS? Do NOT expect or demand continuous spotless, uncluttered accomodation - unless YOU personally choose to spend your free time and energy making it that way. At the same time, make a basic effort. This is not a license to be your inner pig. At MINIMUM, wipe down and clear the counter and chopping boards for the next person (and i still always have to ask!). However CLEAN FREAKS BE WARNED - you won't be suitable. Your tolerance level MUST be high. If you are even slightly concerned by this description, don't kid yourselves - DO NOT APPLY. I don't care how much you like the rest of my profile, you won't be happy. If you're likely to be JUDGEMENTAL on this, stay away, unless you'd also like to invite me into your spotless and righteous home so i can dissect your underlying insecurities and conformism for my own amusement.
We will practise water and energy conservation as a moral and practical necessity. Water is 100% unfiltered rainwater, and is precious here, use is VERY carefully managed. Repeat: VERY carefully. There is a hands-on greywater system, recycling bathroom (washing machine, shower, handwashing) water to flush the toilet manually by pouring the water directly into the bowl. Consider CAREFULLY what this means and if you can handle it - some people definitely can not. You WILL be touching containers or buckets with smelly wastewater, you WILL think it is unhygenic - so make sure you wash your hands with soap please, every time! Showers are on a needs-as basis - you don't "need" to shower every day. You would "need" to shower if your work has been hot, sweaty, dusty or kind of gross, or if you've somehow been drenched. Or if you've gone a few days without one. In summer there is an optional outdoor solar hot water shower available amongst the trees, which means showering during the day in-between work sessions. (There is also a simple soaking tank to cool off in, the river to swim in and a little rapid with sunken seat acting as a forceful hot/cold tub.)
Basically, either we follow this system or i run out of water in a drought - so like it or lump it, as my mother says.
Electricity is a privilege not a right. Gas is a fossil fuel so used efficiently. Things get interesting from April to November as all cooking is done on the wood burner - we find ways to cook all meals for the night and next day, including baking and treats. Water is always boiling for tea and washing dishes. Patience is required, we sometimes have to eat late (i prefer early), dishes need to be washed in batches. On the other hand, the burner is going all night regardless so we can cook endless amounts of food if YOU want to take the time.
Outside ranges from orderly (workshop, garden beds, greenhouse, material storage) to chaotic, overgrown and untidy (everywhere else) - nowhere looks tidy just for the sake of it. That is an unbelievable luxury at this time. Weeds are cultivated as chicken food and mulch. There is an interesting tension between liveable and wild, neglected space. The energy flows on a daily basis are absolutely directed at the most pressing need, and this rarely means making things look "tidy" just because - be warned people! This place will NOT conform to common expectations. If you prefer, there are hosts available who can provide manicured green lawns and "perfect" looking lifestyles that you'll be asked to maintain for them!
Be prepared to adapt to these regimes without complaints. It sounds simple but can you hold your tongue and accept you agreed to this challenge? I don't want to hear about it.
Simply, with cooking and cleaning, i refuse to do more than my share, or tolerate anyone doing less than theirs. If we all as a group take that position then we can collectively decide to either starve in a mess, or eat well in a clean house. I prefer the latter. In my experience 99% of people prefer not to make ANY effort and then hypocritically complain (not even mentioning the 28 year old males who leave dishes dirtier than when they started washing them!). Forget about respecting my house - where's your self-respect?? I want the 1%, PLEASE.
Buses conveniently stops near the gate, and is the cheapest mode of transport around the country - please ask for details. It is possible to catch the bus from Auckland in the morning and be at the gate by 6pm.
Hitchhiking is safe in NZ.
Gisborne offers beaches, cinemas and ample shopping - there is an opportunity to go into town on the supply run. My property borders a DOC reserve with a walking track.
Firstly, you must have read, understood and agreed to everything in this profile and these conditions before i consider you for volunteering here.
In case you're wondering, EVERYTHING mentioned here as an example has actually occured here. These are not some wild fantasies in my head. This is what i have had to deal with over 5 years and why this profile is the way it is.
These are the top 5 issues that keep recurring. If any of these are yours, don't come here:
1. The house gets messy fast and stays that way until it's cleaned up by motivated people. Tolerate it.
2. Toilet is flushed with recycled bathroom water that you will handle. You won't like it. I don't like flushing with clean drinking water. That's obscene. Disagree? Stay away. Think it's unhygenic? Stay away. Compost toilet coming.
3. The social dynamic: I'm a single 43 year old male. That could be boring for some. You will have your own room, but could be here alone with me or with another helper or both, either for extended periods. You are totally welcome to ask what the situation will be, then confirm if you're happy with it.
4. My work style. I always explain everything i need from a job and probably demonstrate the best way i've found to do it. If it helps, repeat back to me the instructions. If you're not listening, or doing something other than requested without consulting with me, i'll become frustrated. I'll praise good work. I'll critique not so good work until it comes right. Are you sensitive to criticism?
5. Immaturity: If you've grown up fast and know you can handle all of this, no worries. If you've been under someone's wing and never lived anywhere different, you won't like it here.
A booking is a serious commitment - if you book to a certain date, you intend to complete the time once you've arrived. If plans change before you are due to arrive, please give at LEAST TWO WEEKS NOTICE. Workawayer hosts count on their helpers and i commit to take you for the full term , the same is expected in return.
This is a young, serious, ambitious project you will probably not have the chance to encounter again - respect and appreciate this, value and be valued by coming here.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ have read this entire profile carefully and thoughtfully and be respectful of my requests and demands,
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ have relatively good English skills (enough that we can have a rewarding basic conversation, i don't expect you to have a huge vocabulary or know technical terms. If you understand most of this profile you are doing very very well)
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ have a sense of humour,
YOU SHOULD NOT APPLY IF YOU:
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ are also looking for paid work/selling your vehicle online/waiting for a better workaway that you will choose instead of keeping to your booking
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ have friends you want to meet or attractions you want to see in the country if it's possibly going to be during your stay here - have that FINALISED before booking.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ suffer from severe homesickness or co-dependence with those back home. Tears are bad for morale.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ as your primary reason for workawaying are hoping to work through loads of psychological baggage in a peaceful setting - this is not a retreat, i or other workawayer are not unpaid counselors.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ think your personality will clash with mine (see above).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ are using your stay to indulge in a personal challenge - eg. giving up smoking, drugs or meat. This is NOT ABOUT YOU!
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ can't cook anything
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ can't stand your own company for long.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ are a compulsive talker (can't enjoy silence); aggressive in any way; dominant or domineering; evangelically religious; psychotically neurotic; sexist; racist; contain larger than normal amounts of testosterone (women or men).
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️"Aldo Leopold was an American author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist." Add this to your message also. And now you know. And i know you read all this so i can take you seriously.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ are on some crazy diet - you will feel very uncomfortable in a place designed to produce, prepare and consume good food and eat it communally, and you will make others feel uncomfortable. By crazy i mean fad/detox diets - not gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, allergy-free - all of that is ok.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ cannot envision living for long with a respectful single 43 year old male and another helper none/some/all of the time.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ get upset or angry easily; hate being told how to do something in a different way to how you are doing it; don't like other people's music; hate being challenged at all about anything; can't handle sarcasm or gentle mocking.
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ don't have basic politeness, respect and consideration for your host and their home, and other helpers. If you have a problem with ANYTHING you are expected to communicate it with the person involved calmly and clearly in order to resolve it before taking other steps, acting out, complaining to others behind backs or organising a revolt. Harder than it sounds. You need maturity for this, and most people can't do it, whatever their age. Can you do it? No? Grow up, see you later, not now.
BE ABLE TO: (KNOW you are able to):
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ handle relative isolation from city life for the duration of your stay,
*️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️️ handle probable culture shock from living a different lifestyle than you are used to, outside your comfort zone, with strangers in close proximity. This is NOT a test case for you - you either KNOW you can or you shouldn't come here. The project and i are not the agents of your self-realisation.
My other workawayers (if any) are not available as travelling companions until their own booking concludes, you need to be able to arrive and leave as a happy single traveller or couple and respect others' commitment to me.
You alone are responsible for the possessions and trash you bring with you or create, please ensure you take it all away with you.
I ask you to be HONEST with yourself and me and respect all of these points, both when considering staying here and while staying here, no matter the circumstances. If you think any of the details here will negatively affect you i respectfully ask that you decline applying. I will have had to turn down other workawayers to take you, others that would have been happy to complete and enjoy their time and provide the help i need so by changing plans at short notice or by being completely unsuitable you've also stolen that time from them, as well as compromising my energy and enthusiasm for hosting others. Please note: you have the power to significantly negatively affect both myself and this project in the short term by deliberately ignoring all these points due to your own agenda. Don't. Be. Selfish.
Thank you for understanding and reading this in full! I'm not as mean as i sound. I'm actually worse.
Now after all this i'm sure you're DYING to come here so look forward to hearing from you!
But seriously, it's not so bad, and at least you know exactly what's expected of you and what to expect. Be wary of hosts with a one paragraph description! Maybe they either don't care enough about their project or about you. Or maybe there's nothing to worry about.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week