Hi there! My name's Mark, I'm a kiwi who has recently bought a property situated in native bush in the hills just north of Coromandel town, on the west coast of the Coromandel peninsula.
I am developing the area in line with permaculture principles to create a sustainable site to grow things, make things and generally be self-sufficient! The project is in its very early stages so I am in the process of designing the site to maximise the use of its natural features. This is a very exciting time where I have the opportunity to be creative with my vision for what I want to achieve! This would be a particularly good time for anyone with permaculture experience to join me in planning how to organise the land.
The land has been fully organic now for 25 years. It is on the side of a hill (so all our water comes from the nearby creek), gets lots of sun during the day, and there's no light pollution at all so the stars at night are incredible! I have just established a small garden to grow vegetables and am planning to develop two other garden areas. There is space to have a small orchard (there are currently pear trees, fig trees and banana trees scattered around!) where I plan to grow apple trees for making cider (and eating!). I have a large chicken run - so very happy chooks, and fresh eggs! There is also the remnants of two ponds which I would like to re-establish. A large part of the property will be left untouched as bush, however I would like to reintroduce some native plant species into this area.
I have worked as a chef for 25 years so love to make my own bread, cereals, chutneys etc. I am also a keen cyclist and surfer and try and try and be as active as possible! My other interests are meditation and yoga so feel free to join me in the morning for some sun salutations! And in the evenings I'm keen to eat together, talk and have a few drinks!
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Volunteer work will be partly dependent on the time of year and weather. For example, I have just begun making cider with all local organic apples that have ripened (I don't have my own apple trees.. yet!). During the winter months there will be less work to do in the garden but there will still be some work outside and various renovation jobs for the house (inside and outside).
Outside jobs would include general gardening jobs - clearing and mulching land, planting herbs/veg/trees, pruning plants etc. There is also some digging work to do and maintenance/building extensions for the existing house. I want to construct a workshop area so some basic carpentry work will be required at some point. Eventually I will be building a wood-fired pizza oven outside.
Inside jobs would be painting, general maintenance of the house - it's an old colonial house (built around 1820) so needs some TLC! You can also get involved with some cooking too as there will be evenings when I am not around.
Some side projects I have include.. fixing old bicycles, cider-making.
If you have any relevant skills you think could be put to good use, get in touch!
I have two double rooms in a 'sleep-out' separated from the main house, so volunteers will have there own private space. Both have power but candles and head torches will be provided! Neither have running water.
There is an eco no-flush toilet outside, and a flushing toilet inside the main house. Washing facilities are in the form of an awesome outdoor shower and an outdoor bath (very private, pretty much right in the bush!).
There's a laundry room if you have any washing, and internet access.
Coromandel area is such a beautiful place. It's mainly native bush so lots of great walking tracks, great beaches all along the coast, surf beaches on the other side of the peninsula (the east coast), good spots for fishing, swimming and generally being outside. The peninsula also has its own micro climate so even during the winter stays warmer than elsewhere in the north island.
Coromandel town has a few cafes and a couple of pubs, it's a wee town but does occasionally have live music and is very popular with kiwis in the summer months and backpackers all year round.
Nearby towns are similarly small and also quieten down outside summer months.
Around an hours drive is Port Jackson, the top of the peninsula, which has a great campsite right on the beach and a beautiful coastal walkway.
I am situated about a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland. You can also get a bus which takes around 4 hours in total, or a ferry (more expensive and does not run every day but wicked when the weather is nice and gives you the chance to see little blue penguins and dolphins if you're lucky).
This is the ideal spot for experiencing some back to basics rural NZ living, so come and give us a hand!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week