Landscaping towards Permaculture, Nelson City, New Zealand


New Zealand

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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Central City Intentional Micro-house-Sharing project offering restaurant-style Health with Garden-fresh fruits and veg, built to Permaculture Principles on 4 sections, total 1.1 Hectares.

    Helpers here have the benefit of rustic lodging in a central Nelson - with significant free time. Holiday tourists swarm to this region, and it is brimming with activity, until winter hibernation. We are on a complex site with expansive views of downtown, and within an hours walk of Tahunanui Beach. Nelson is invaded by Argentine Ants, so beware.

    In the sixth year of ten year plan building to Permaculture Principles. Permaculture is a complex design science that leads to many unique solutions, so please arrive with an open mind and time to listen, look and learn the techniques and systems. Since Permaculture depends upon specific designs, your stay here will require understanding and completion of certain tasks to make the designs function. 
    Maintenance and preparation are both needed, so building soil fertility and controlling the weeds are the priorities now. More technical work planned for Summer and Autumn 2018 are carpentry and irrigation systems to complete retaining wall projects.  Vegetable and fruit trees' harvests will be generous starting in December until June.

    Work Rules:
    Work 23 hours per week, five hours each of four workdays, plus an hour of tasks each of the other days you are here. The essential exchange is for shared meals each workday, and the full week's accommodation.
    We try to schedule workdays Tuesday through Friday usually from 08:00 until 14:00, depending on temperatures, cloud and rains, and/or other changing situations. Not planning to work more than one hour on Saturday, Sundays, nor Mondays; wet weather might force changes to our workdays. Each weekend, you will be responsible for an hour's task each day, such as feeding or shifting the chickens or guinea pigs, irrigation, or other essential tasks.
    The site is very steep and quite dangerous; not safe to go barefoot. Alcohol is prohibited and smoking is limited on this site. Nelson is a party beach town; please don't drink alcohol the evening before workdays. As all authorities suggest, you should have health insurance, a requirement of your working holiday visa. Please remember our motto is “keep us informed!”

    Food & Meals:
    7:15 Tea & Morning Fruit, 10:15 Coffee & Muesli, and Lunch & Supper on workdays, with my ingredients prepared by you on a roster for group cooking and cleaning.
    Days that are not workdays, plan your lunch elsewhere: the kitchen roster promotes shared breakfast and supper, with garden produce plus my ingredients. The mealtimes are set so that we share; we do not cater for snacks & all the ingredients will be used for communal meals.
    A sociable barbeque pit is useful for brochette and similar grilling. You and the other helpers will also arrange meals those days we do not work, but note we do not bake wheat breads. Please pick fruits only by direction and agreement – ripe fruit is hard to identify, and too often does not get used when fresh.
    We will often explore the implications of the huge number of new chemicals, such as glyphosate, released into the world . . . we are all living in an experimental laboratory, even 'Clean Green NZ.' It would be helpful if you know your bloodtype, since that diet works - and I am happy to host Vegans who are competent cooks! Also, please do not bring alcohol or candies, because they are overly packaged and usually poisonous!

    I am not Kiwi, but born in USA 1951, lived outside the USA for almost 30 years, and since 2008 here in Nelson. As your host, running to keep pace with you is a personal challenge! I am a retired architect and permaculture practitioner, politically active in local issues. My place, and turangawaewae, is under repair and remodeling sequence, due to recent divorce!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Language practice

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    I am a native English speaker, from USA, also fluent in Spanish, with a strong Chilean accent. I have learned a few tricks about teaching language.
    My life has been during the era of incredible concentration of wealth all across the world, and I like to share my environmental and political concerns. All people should be very aware of these changes, and prepare for a difficult future.
    Permaculture is a good technique to become independent of society. This project is unique because the site is central, and destined to use the steep slopes and shaded winters, which paradoxically are ideal for fruit trees.
    Please plan to stay at least two weeks - to see some real progress.
    Projects completed so far are some unconventional drives and terraces. Terraces are prepared for gum trees to be grown to espalier fruits strung between these living posts. Overall, the ultimate project is to develop off-grid micro-space living around a new orchard.
    Tasks here can be cold and wet, or steamy and scorched. You may have already invested in Kiwi Gumboots - or find a pair to fit you here – but please wear shoes and socks!
    Please remember our motto is “keep us informed!” Signed, ZD (ZedDee )

  • Help


    Maintenance and preparation are the priorities, and usually require repetitive tasks in the hot sun or cold rain !!!
    More technical tasks are planned and generally require learning a new technique, so expect to ask probing questions and receive positive criticism.
    This is a large property, so there are many tasks, and we can select the work to take advantage of your abilities, although much of our work is weeding!

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Spanish

  • Accommodation


    Several rustic choices with double beds: A classic caravan on an isolated promontory; a rustic sleepout; an original 1917 sleepout with electricity. You will want a good sleeping bag, since the temperature always drops to below ten at night. (... and ear plugs when it rains or blows heavily.)
    Unlimited bandwidth available. Laundry is available once a week by prearrangement.
    The main house contains the bathroom and kitchen, and opens at 7 each morning.

    You will be spoiled for choice recreation around the city of Nelson. You can cycle to mountain bike trails, swim in warm calm sea at Tahunanui Beach, and visit some fine Museums, Markets & Galleries. Nelson has the highest sunshine hours in the NZ winter, and fine beach weather for five months each year. Anytime of year, the temperature drops below ten C at night!
    Nelson waters are warm because Tasman Bay is only 25m deep out to a distance of 25Km, and the prevailing winds bring the warm water towards us. Since the adjacent waters of Cooks Strait are hundreds of meters deep, and very cold, we have little trouble with with jellyfish or any other surprise. You might want to bring swimming shoes, and perhaps a light wetsuit top?

    After initial contact by email, please arrange a date and time to chat by phone before you arrive. I can call you on WhatsApp, when you are connected to Wi-Fi. If convenient, I will call your mobile phone. No-Fault Drop-Out Policy: We will each have an option to terminate the host/helper arrangement within the first three days; this helper system is based on reputation, which is complex, so this is a way to reduce pressure. If we work together three weeks, or eleven 5-hour days, I donate to the 'Soil & Health Association' fund towards Organic NZ2020; to make New Zealand's organic reputation viable -to date, they have received $1270!

    Special Conditions:
    Since this is heavy work in landscaping, any style boots are invaluable. The sun is dangerous, you will need skin and eye protection, and a hat. I'll provide work gloves, and tools. Some rules are new and some difficult to comprehend, but your job is to "Support TeamZD" and work to maintain the unique design, delicate systems and autrocratic culture.

    All Helpers should be at least 23 years old; write only if you were born before 1996! Also: Please do not visit if you have been exposed to bed bugs in 2019!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The entire region has a recent ant invasion in the garden; difficult, but tolerable. Please keep us informed of any other issues you find surprising - and to make it easier to communicate during work, please plan to carry your phone, but do not use earphones !!!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    4 days per week, 5 hours each + weekends, an hour each day = 23 hours/week

Central Nelson beyond part of property
Future Orchard on Terraces in City.

Host ref number: 921671999933