We are a newly married couple and have moved to the family farm in Clarence, which we will start managing/stocking in Jan 2021. I am both English and NZer, my wife is from the UK, and we recently spent a year living in Madrid, Spain, where Jane taught at a primary school and I taught English. We tried to get from the UK to NZ with little flying as possible and managed to get to Japan via the Trans-Siberian Railway, before taking the final leg of the journey by air to Auckland.
We are looking to start a sustainable lifestyle where we can produce everything from our farm. We currently have orchards full of different fruit and nut trees as well as land to expand and try new ventures. One of our first volunteers experimented with the walnuts and created walnut milk, which is something we hope to sell to local cafes next year to make use of our 60 walnut trees. Previous volunteers have built a beautiful vegetable garden in which we are trialing our horticulture skills, as neither of us are naturally green fingered, however we are blessed to live in a micro-climate which lends itself to growing almost anything (especially when compared to Cornwall, where we are from).
In winter 2021 we will be planting 60,000 native trees which is part of a wider planting plan to plant/revert 1/4 of the 1300Ha farm. We are passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and using our opportunities to have a positive affect on the environment. Our aim is to farm as sustainably as possible. We will be welcoming lots of workawayers next winter to assist with this project.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
New Zealand is a beautiful country and we are lucky to live in a very beautiful part of it, travellers will find the peace and serenity on the farm beneficial for the mind and soul.
We enjoy teaching our volunteers hunting and fishing skills and are lucky to live in an area that enables us to use them a lot.
We have both been farming for our entire lives and will be able to share how we farm and the practises which we think will be important for the future.
We have both a wood lathe and a potting wheel and I am a little practised in both, so will be able to share these skills with any volunteers that would like to learn.
Previous volunteers have enjoyed learning how to ride a motorbike around the farm and the availability of tools to practise DIY skills.
Jane can teach the art of sourdough bread, even on the campfire! She also enjoys yoga everyday and is happy to share with anybody willing to get up early!
We require help with a range of different tasks such as building, carpentry, weeding/gardening, picking and processing/preserving fruit and nuts, tree felling/arborist tasks, planting and taking care of trees and hunting/butchering. Please inform us of which tasks you are particularly interested in when messaging. Please do not contact us if you are on a tourist visa, a WHV is a requirement to partake in this kind of arrangement.
Building - At this point we have a lot of building on due to the November 2016 earthquake in Kaikoura. All homesteads sustained significant damage and are in the process of being repaired, a lot we are trying to do ourselves. Our woolshed also sustained damage and needs to be removed and a new (sadly metal) one to replace. We are in the process of building a workshop plus two separate accommodation blocks for volunteers. A big dream of ours is to build a lodge/hut at the back of our farm where it meets the river. It takes an hour to get there from the homestead and will be a real project for somebody who likes to be completely remote and cut off. All of these building projects will be taking place over the next two years and therefore we always welcome volunteers who have sufficient building/carpentry skills and are willing to lend them to assist.
Carpentry – We have a lot of old timber lying around from earthquake damage and I am particularly interested in building furniture from it and learning new skills from people. We always have odd carpentry jobs that need doing around the homestead and farm so will always welcome a carpenter.
Weeding and Gardening – To enable us to live a more sustainable life we are trying to grow as much as we can, although we both have little experience. We have a beautiful vegetable garden with 12 raised beds in which we are experimenting. We would love to host anyone with a real passion for gardening that could teach us a few things. We are currently collecting old sheep poo from our woolshed and seaweed to use as natural fertilisers. We have a large lawn area with lots of scope for anybody passionate about landscaping/ creating a beautiful flower garden. The garden has not had much love prior to us moving here but has real potential to be a beautiful place, this will involve lots of weeding, including a huge amount of stink lilies that need digging out the ground and prolific vines that are killing our native trees. Weeding is incredibly tiring but rewarding, and all volunteers should expect to do some weeding each week.
Fruit and Nuts – As mentioned we are lucky to have many old fruit and nut trees planted by Toby’s late father. During our first summer here we picked the fruit and nuts and experimented. Next year, we will process the fruit and nuts to make preserves and jams. We have apples, peaches, apricots, pears, quince, ice-cream fruit, feijoa, figs, plums, nectarines, peacharines, walnuts, macadamia, chestnuts, almonds and a few I’m sure I’ve forgotten. We are always interested in learning new recipes and getting ideas from people as to what to do with all the produce.
Tree felling/ Arborist – If you are already highly skilled in this area then we have lots of tree felling to do. This is mostly to replace exotic tree species with natives. Would require some kind of reference.
Tree planting – We plan to plant 300,000 over the next 10 years, starting with 60,000 in May 2021. Due to the climate of the area, watering establishing trees is going to be an enormous job on our property, especially if we experience drought, which we are very prone to. This is going to be a very hard, tedious but necessary job!
Hunting/Butchering – We spend a lot of time hunting/fishing and then processing the animals. This means that nearly all of our meat consumption is from the farm or neighbouring sea. We will be opening a home-kill butchery in 2021 and enjoy sharing the process with volunteers who are interested in learning where their meat comes from. I have managed a butchery in Cornwall and have been processing animals from the farm all my life.
We prefer to match volunteers to tasks that best suit them, although this then requires a certain amount of pragmaticism. There are certain jobs which the majority of volunteers don’t find too much fun (weeding, nutcracking, cleaning accommodation), which will be expected of everybody, regardless of their skill in other areas to ensure a fair working environment for all.
We are currently in the process of building our volunteer accommodation however we will have a 2-3-person tiny house which will have a composting toilet and solar shower and kitchen facilities. We will also have a small apartment above our workshop. This will sleep up to 4 volunteers and will have its own kitchen and living area however will use the shower and toilet in the butchery below.
During the week volunteers will usually have breakfast in their own accommodation and lunch at the house. Evening meals will usually be in own accommodation but will usually be at the house twice a week. Weekends will always be your own. Money and a car will be provided to buy food for own accommodation, and produce and meat from the farm will be available as well. Unfortunately, we find it more cost effective not to host vegetarians due to the large availability of meat from the farm, so prefer not to, however this is not firm.
Wi-Fi – We have extremely poor internet connection. Our house internet is sometimes able to sustain a delayed skype conversation, but they are not much fun! There will not be Wi-Fi in either accommodation type. If you need good Wi-Fi, then this is definitely not the place for you. To have video chats with our family in England and to stream anything we have to hotspot our mobile phones, which are on skinny/ spark. If you want to stay here and be able to stream/skype, you will need to obtain your own skinny/spark sim with enough data for what you need.
The area is very beautiful and there are lots of lovely hikes to do both on the farm and in the surrounding area, however, if you are a social bunny, there are not a lot of people! There are lots of beautiful places to camp on the farm and this can be a magical experience. We have plenty of board games, puzzles and books for quiet time and there is a swimming pool at the main homestead (about 500m away) which can be used at any time. We enjoy lawn games such as croquet and cubs and are very keen frisbee golfers who have set up a small course around the farm. There are tennis courts locally which can be used by anyone and we have a few rackets that can be borrowed. We enjoy fishing a lot and try and go as often as we can so if you like fishing and hunting you will love being here. I am a keen diver for seafood and we also have a boat for fishing off. We also have two horses for any competent riders.
Our friend has recently opened a down hill mountain bike park close-by and we are 20 minutes from one of the best surfing spots in NZ. We are 40 mins from Kaikoura and 1 hour from Blenheim. Kaikoura has wonderful wildlife, most notably seals and whales. Blenheim is best known for its sunshine and wine.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week