Liz Gunn and Lisa Er took time this week to Korero about the state of the nation and the ways in which New Zealanders can educate ourselves about our country and our world.
(A korero is a conversation or a discussion.)
Sadly, the wider research on our country’s current poverty and homelessness, on our record suicide numbers, on the widening gap between the haves and the have nots, can have the sense of a litany of failures . There are many reasons to feel discouraged.
BYPASS MAINSTREAM MEDIA
Yet the freedoms offered by the internet, and online (and radio) discussion, can offer a way through this sense of overwhelm.
Lisa and Liz discuss the ways in which to become more informed and to find the courage to question the norms and the prevailing viewpoints often sold to us through media acolytes of the government viewpoint. From there, it’s rewarding to become actively involved - by each of us making our own contributions, in our own corners of this country we love. Liz talks of her work with the homeless on our streets and Lisa refers to the nurturing of a system of values as a bedrock for political and societal decision-making.
Perhaps the biggest issue coming in to the election is the need to find the passion to stand up and to speak out. Certainly that is the spirit in the studio when Lisa and Liz meet for their discussions.
One can see on social media much distress about the poverty in New Zealand, lack of housing, homelessness, and frustration about the state of our rivers and lakes. There are those who passionately want change, to cannabis laws, 1080 drops, fluoride in our water, and the banking system. Others want to ensure that our food is safe and labelled, and that genetic engineering is not let out into the environment. Education and health figure strongly in the list of concerns that people have. Some people concentrate on single issues and become experts, and others view the issues from a bigger picture.
However all of the above, and more, need to be included in the discussions we have, especially before the elections. Unfortunately the mainstream media tends to focus on leaders and not on policy so some people feel disinclined to vote.
Corruption is another issue that people find hard to accept but as Nicky Hager show us in his two latest books, “Dirty Politics”, and “Hit and Run”, we need to be very awake and aware.
Both Liz and Lisa hope that joining in with this korero - through your own listenership - will nurture passion in each valued listener, and bring the simmering fire in your belly to life in a burning blaze of thoughtful discussion on the main aspects of New Zealand life that need to be improved . Such outspokenness will lend an urgency to pre-election build-up, and may even inspire our families -and especially our young - to sign up as voters, and speak up as Kiwis.
UNICEF report: New Zealand 34th out of 41 developed countries for child well being”
“No lunches for poor children”
This programme is sponsored by The Awareness Party
I first met Caroline at Dave Breuer’s - Anew NZ ‘group mind gathering’ - at AUT - Auckland University of Technology. There she had a huge blank art board at this visionary function that let her visually translate the stories that speakers covered, to that very engaged audience. This enabled people to see how intellectual concepts and mental information can be elegantly transcribed into a visual form that was holistic in intent and that lead us to explore as participants, how we the people can become involved and renew our whole country.
Based on Measures of Genuine Progress (and “genuine economic success”), as a challenge to the misuse of GDP, via the measurements of social, cultural, economic, environmental and governance wellbeing - with the public shared visions determining the goals of wellbeing. (See at the bottom of this posting.)
Measuring Human Joy and Contentment
Dr Ron Coleman from Canada was at this function to explain and Dr Marilyn Waring http://www.marilynwaring.com/ as an Ex National Party Member of Parliament (who went/rebelled against the National Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, many years previously) introduced Ron as she had been doing work on the ’true’ cost of living index and how do we measure success - particularly our decision making process at a governmental level. Known as the ‘genuine progress indicators' - meaning not just managing the gross national product and financial benefits from across the country - but also understanding what makes us flourish - what brings joy and happiness and peace as well as bringing balance in a holistic way.
Today, Caroline as an extraordinary creative artist - is still very much aligned with the notion of ‘genuine progress indicators’ she remains very interested and curious about what are the conditions that we need for life to flourish within our homes, within our communities, our nation and our planet.
Community & Connection
Asking the question? - How do we create a flourishing for all of life - including ourselves?
Food being a conductor of getting together to eat and share … gatherings around eating and sharing - being a universal common ground - and in the world of today that needs to be more unified - Caroline's focus is - how do we bring this all together?
So what is it we need to improve? Like how do we re relate to each other - connect the fragmentation and those who have been isolated from each other? How do we best do this? So that we are working all together as a more dynamic whole?
Because the processes of regeneration of rebirthing of healing is becoming paramount as there's a lot that is out of balance and in crises - there is much that needs to be addressed.
So what is the journey we need to take to come back into wholeness and that everybody has a role to play in this.
And with the experience and the practices that she brings to the conversation -
The Land and Sacred Place
Caroline is very aware of place and the historical implications of how did that particular area come into being - the terrain, the living matter, the water sources and courses - the Maori tribes or iwi that were present prior to the coming of the white man - the sacredness of life over a very broad context .
That there are many areas of land in Auckland that housing and buildings sit on - yet underneath these houses are a hidden creeks where a spring once was. That in today’s urbanised sprawl a little rivulet - or tiny creek, can be a wonderful play area for young children - where the water is clear, healthy and cool. Kids can see their reflection, see the stones or marine flora around it, maybe cockabullies or kura - freshwater crayfish - yet today’s developers will most probably put pipes in this area and pipe all the water away underground and thus the stereotyped boring industrial housing complex - hypnotises us into a thousand high priced houses looking basically the same, on a treeless landscape - scraped of nature - is the NZ culture of homogenous sameness?
Auckland Connection -Tamaki Makaurau
Coming from a Taranaki farm near Stratford in the rural landscape, that had many different animals - gave her a deeper sense of nature and its richness. That when she arrived in high density housing Auckland gave her cause for reflection.
Tamaki Makaurau - Auckland, gave her another understanding of place - of the Maori, the mauri (essence) and going deeper and feeling the grief of the landscape and ecology of what has been lost - in the vast forest of what was once Auckland and the covering up of water courses or arterial waterways by burying them and piping that water to the sea as per the Horotiu stream for example that used to run down the centre of Queen Street in Auckland.
That there are springs or puna that are even very close to the PlanetFM radio station that emanates pristine water that bubbles up out of the volcanic rocks and lava - very pure water - and there are around 51 volcanoes that comprise the whole city of Auckland. With numerous cones that we can climb, dotted around the city.
Public Domain and Community Involvement
Caroline has a feeling for public domain and community projects
She has been involved in the Panmure and Glen Innes suburbs of Auckland for the master plan for the town centre - bringing story of people and place, including geological and ecological activity so as to define and development projects.
In this process - getting to know each other as humans is so very critical. if we are to develop trust - mana - wairua and mauri - all are integral to deeper connection.
Living Earth Papatuanuku.
The mentions Te Urewera in Tuhoe country - as a park with human rights - that for the Tuhoe people and the NZ Government acknowledge at some level that ‘the land is a living being.’ Papatuanuku - Mother Earth.
Caroline is focused on find a space for people to work out the complexities of the challenges that are facing us - and allow them a way to work themselves out.
In this regenerative practice it covers working out complexity - that there is a harmonising energy within nature that has the ability to work things out. Caroline says it is in many ways ‘beyond consensus’ - and in ‘trusting the wisdom of life.'
It knows how to work complexity out - all we need is the space to take the time to connect - and communicate - share the breath and weave family - and though this sounds philosophical there is a very pragmatic quality to it - see her sculptures along the motorway in Grafton gully in Auckland - where the artwork has an intention to speak to the resonance of that place and its history and respond to that.
She says that the art does not need to be a sculpture - that it can be a building as in the Living Whare in Taneatua - In Tuhoe country - it could be a roading project - even a skyscraper - (Listen)
That everything we do - needs to become an art form.
That the universe is a work of art - that our planet and all its biota and landscapes are an art form - thus the importance for us as humans is to create our homes on our home planet into art forms that embed beauty and geometry as a reflection of the magnificence of creation and of what we can evolve.
Something that Caroline says meets all of our needs at once … be it every building built - every community developed can be part of a regeneration into a greater whole. Economic - social, cultural - spiritual and our human developmental journey they can all coalesce together - it is possible.
That the universe is a work of art - and our planet and nature is one too
The Living Future Institute - https://living-future.org/
The Living Building Challenge - has a ‘check out test’ where if you are an architect and/or builder you have to use only materials that are ecologically sustainable and non polluting?
They have a red list of 25 chemicals, that cannot be in any building materials.
Firth Concrete in NZ now have a product that is biologically safe and comes up with a big tick.
You can now check your home building products - https://living-future.org/declare/declare-about/
The Regenerative Economy is becoming a renewed mantra for today and tomorrow.
Regenerative Building - One being finalised in the Wynyard Quarter here on Auckland Waterfront Educational Centre for Sustainable Coastlines. http://sustainablecoastlines.org/the-flagship/
Biophilia - living in accord with your home that is embedded in nature and all of life.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biophilia_hypothesis
This interview covers Homelessness too.
The amount of homeless in this country is a crisis here in NZ. That there are ways forward on this important issue for people to have a home and be safe and secure Not only warm and dry homes but homes that become temples of belonging - places where we can really belong and be and developed ourselves … We can do many things, we can build good homes, we know how to live on and with the land - grow gardens and quality food - let’s have a conversation about the larger NZ - where we all live. So that we are really regenerating life. (Listen)
Omaru stream Glen Innes Auckland - One of the few remaining streams that have not been piped and buried.
“Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au."
The whakatauki above, translated into English, says
‘I am the river and the river is me'
Call to Action
Caroline says: “climate change is a deadline for humanity …”
As per in the introduction of Dr Ron Coleman - Genuine Progress Indicators.
Mark says it is our engagement with nature that has to be addressed as we pakeha and white races have put distance between us and the natural world - whereas indigenous peoples are affiliated far more closely as they have lived more embedded in the natural process. Pacific Islander and Maori have a natural affinity to the cycles of nature. Especially harvesting food, and survival etc and of their understanding of the seasons and the food planting and gathering. He further reiterates, that for indigenous peoples - that connection goes beyond the basics of knowledge and integrates through into cultural connection as well as spiritual wisdom .
Having been around as the human species for about 200,000 years and a great majority of this time - all of us has been deeply connected with nature - we all have been indigenous peoples.
That for we in the developed world, especially Australia and NZ it has been a relatively short time - that we have actually lived apart from nature - quite possibly only about 3 or 4 human generations - or from the industrial revolution onwards. What this means is that in our DNA - in our ’substance’ for the greater course of our history we have had that deep connection with nature as part of who we are.
Mark then goes on to talk about our immersion into nature and the psychological shift of our perspective as we embed ourselves into the greater awareness of the immensity of its power. Covering also our spiritual well being - and that through recreation, getting away from city and urban life and going bush, to the mountains, on a river or a lake - to sea, that recreation is actually ‘re-creation’ - and the time to restore our energies and well being.
Covering working with nature as against it - reading the signs, wind direction, water currents, moon phase and aware of the weather and being able to astutely adapt to harness the natural forces of nature - by bringing about a greater attunement and wellbeing. Where we can not control wind, waves or rain, but we learn how to adapt.
Some days - all goes well and the elements are warm and soft whereas some days or nights nature throws the full force of its fury and we have to be very focused and alert - thinking ‘gee - am I going to make it through this?’
He says that the contrasting situations are healthy as they are awe inspiring and re-connecting and they give us a different perspective that we cannot control Mother nature or control everything that happens to us or everything that surrounds us. What this does it forces us to slow down to the pace of nature and he says that this is a very healthy thing. Because most of us today are rushing to everything - to work, home from work, events and other commitments and our days are very, very full - and we control largely what we do - where we go, when we choose to do it - or others control it for us.
However, when we are out in the middle of the ocean in a very small boat we cannot determine what happens - and in these situations be it calm or stormy - it can be very primordial - a very basic thing and Mark sees it as a very good thing as it lets us get a true feel of nature - inside.
New Zealand Environmental Challenges compared with Overseas.
Speaking on the waters surround NZ - they are largely pretty clean especially the further out we go, however closer into the shore we have numerous challenges because 3 or 4 generations ago (40-60 years) the conditions were far better, but NZ’s population has increased with much development around the Auckland coastline. As well as globally the population has now jumped up by an extra 5 billion people/consumers since 1950.
This huge spike in population has had a large affect on this country, on the shoreline and coastal waters. However he says we can still engage with the sea today where our health is not put at risk - whereas with so many countries overseas the coastal waters are so polluted that you would never swim - let alone, put your head under the water - worse swallowing a mouthful or having it enter your body by a cut or an abrasion - especially where there are large populations living on the water’s edge, or that their catchment drains into that coastal ecosystem. So there are compromised ecosystems as a result of human activity and our disposal of waste products either deliberately or accidentally that he says is very sobering … so much so that it is always a joy for him to come back to NZ waters and a cleaner marine environment, which he says we cannot take for granted and that we need to be very vigilant about it and that we have to work very hard to maintain.
Everything is Connected
Everything is connected - what ever we do on the land has an affect on the inshore coastal environment - the same pattern has occurred - for example - car tires and the chemicalised particulates wearing off on to the road - off the tires, as well as the dripping of fluid out of car exhaust pipes onto the road - then it rains and runoff and stormwater enters into the coastal waters - curtailing and degrading the area and forcing away fish and shellfish from rocks and surrounding bays - etc - for example Auckland’s East Coast Bays are virtually devoid of the super abundance of fish life of 80 years ago.
Talk to any person of 60-70 years plus of age and they will say that things are know where as good as they once were. There is a lot of wisdom in the Elders and they can tell us how it’s used to be like - so that we have this information that is telling us about this long term slow, chronic degradation - and this is very difficult situation to solve!
What We Can Do
For answers, there are some worthy innovative NZ’s schemes at present - marine protected areas which are stark contrasts to the degradation that is happening. These are Goat Island at Leigh http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/cape-rodney-okakari-point-marine-reserve-goat-island/
on the East coast - North of Auckland and Tiri Tiri Matangi Island http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/tiritiri-matangi-scientific-reserve-open-sanctuary/ that have been locked away for a sufficient amount of time and are now thriving - especially as Goat Island was left to its own renewal other than to stop fishing and extractive industries and now it is alive with fish and a huge drawcard for people wanting to see how NZ once was. As for Tiri Tiri Matangi - tree planting has occurred plus the introduction of native bird species and now it is a paradise of greenery and bird song - where once it was barren grassland denuded of trees.
So with ‘commitment, will and effort’ - we can bring back nature with some conscious decisions being made to turn things around. NZ has many ‘off shore Arks’ where islands have been set aside to become sanctuaries for endangered native flora and fauna and these are very successful that they are Islands of Hope - John Craig and Neil Mitchell on bringing Tiri Tiri Matangi into being - that bold decision making is needed - like Prof John Moreton and Bill Ballentine did with Goat Island as advocates getting people to think about protecting the marine environment and bringing people with them.
These examples Marc says are really important - because when we act together many superb results can come about. These are empowering stories and that our future can be far better as a result. He says grassroots are the answer - he is a massive fan of the people who work in the ‘not for profit sector’ - people whom have made huge sacrifices of time, energy and money and made enormous sacrifices for causes that they believe in.
From large organisations like the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/ to the small ones like the Motutapu Restoration Society http://www.motutapu.org.nz/ or the education group ‘Experiencing Marine Reserves’ http://www.emr.org.nz/ - a small not for profit charitable trust that takes children into marine reserves to show them deeper qualities of nature and what marine protection can do.
Volunteers by the Thousands
Right across NZ here are hundreds of thousands of NZers who volunteer to make a difference because they believe in it. He says that these dedicated people are just not acknowledged enough which is a great pity - they are the real NZers - the real kiwis doing great things out there - we need to be proud of what they do - they are unsung heroes - never getting national awards or headlines in the media. To Mark they are the real heroes of NZ. He encourages us to take leadership and see what we can do around your particular area and take some people with you and do weeding and clean up beaches, streams etc.
Local Communities Working Together
Local communities - in nature, with and for nature - establishing win wins - as meeting good people and achieving a satisfactory result, because he says there is a primeval connection that after a full day or a week of working together - we will go home and have the best nights sleep in a long time because we have met and worked alongside people from vasty different walks of life, all with good intentions and especially being team spirited.
Good People Committing To Co-operate
Mark states that the portrayal of human behaviour and existence that comes through the MSM media is not an accurate portrayal of the great majority of people - the great majority of the humanity whom live in this world and in NZ are good people - they are well intentioned - they care about their families, they care about their neighbours and they care about nature and they care about their country - These people don’t get the headlines! Listen ...
There are people everywhere who have decent values and morals and will help you out - who will be friendly, who will greet you - who are people you can trust - this is the essence of being a decent person - it’s important to remember this. Plus, that we hold these values for ourselves as well and take the high road.
Values and Principles.
He mentions that some of the above principles may have been more prevalent 30 to 60 years ago - but the principles of honesty and integrity and decency and looking after one another are what he feels are at the heart of what is is to be a human - and certainly what it means to be a New Zealander.
We talked about Sir Peter Blake and team spirit and what this means. Though a cliche, a champion team - will always beat a team of champions - what is needed is a tight synergistic team. He said Peter intuitively understood a number of things.
He could take on a competitive team that could have more resources, perhaps be more talented, be more experienced and beat them because of the power of the team.
Where as a member of his team you always felt that you were important - that you mattered - that your opinion could add value.
So even if you were sweeping the floors or cleaning the toilet or the person with a brain the size of the planet making computations of fluid dynamics and design of the boat - you were important.
That we are all part of a greater whole and that we all depend on this planet that we share.
When we pool and pull together collectively - we make a massive difference.
Decision that we take - the products that we buy - the packaging that we use - the cars that we drive - the decisions we make of the companies that we support - or the candidates we vote for. We need to be Aware.
In the end Mark says that we have to do the best we can with what God gave us and that this is the mantra that Mark lives by.
Covering the ‘Overwhelmers’ - Fukushima - radiation in the Pacific ocean - etc - how do we address situations like this? Plus Climate Change.
What can I do as one individual to be able to make a difference?
Mark says - collectively this is where we make major changes.
Saying that we need to take heart with Sweden’s Volvo’s decision to make all electric or hybrid cars in 10 years time. That they don’t make these decisions lightly - that they are ‘reading the tea leaves' - they see that there is a greening of the market place and they are positioning themselves to take advantage as well as lead …
Voting with your dollars - not buying from certain corporations who are at variance with your philosophy - thus more people supporting this notion will impel the company to change its outlook - its products range - its way it connects with consumers.
But first - before you lead others - lead yourself - walk your talk
Mark talked about mental health and that we in NZ have some major challenges around disempowered people - especially male youth in this country of getting to a point of a dark space - that when we do good things for others or nature and give of ourselves - we also reap the rewards of that good act as well - that by giving we have a better sense of our purpose - we have more satisfaction as to who we are as a person that if we like, we really can achieve a greater level of contentment and happiness.
He says that ironically that one of the answers to mental health is to dedicate at least some of your time to helping those who are less fortunate and are in such a difficult situation than you are.
Without being disrespectful Mark says that a lot of the mental health challenges - are actually quite inward looking and are quite self serving - it’s about me - it’s about awww - I’m in such a difficult situation and my life is terrible and I can’t find a way out - and he is not disrespecting that - but one of the ways forward is to actually start thinking about how we can help others, because there are always people who are in a more difficult life circumstance than us!
If we are able to do something that can help them or if we can find a way to reconnect with nature and that we can plant a tree or a series of trees or do something that can allow us - that at the end of the day - we realise that our existence has mattered - that it has made a positive difference. That through us being here - the place is better than it was - these things have an enormous personal benefit for us - listen to the interview for more on this serious subject.
Separation from nature - from our society and the community - it leads to material things outside of ourselves that can cause many problems … listen … these are distractions
Giving is Important - from Ourselves to the Collective Greater Good.
This interview covers communities coming together.
Technology as a separator and not necessarily a bringer of people face to face and eyeball to eyeball and closer into hugging distance.
Mark talks about Natural Empathy
That we have wicked problems - climate change - plastic pollution - declining fisheries - coastal sedimentation and near shore pollutants
All these are our collective fault - we are all part of the problem.
How can we come together and to do something different - as opposed to making them worse?
That we start this philosophical conversation and have the ability to make compromises
“I will give you this - if you will give up that.”
Mark asks us to find ways to end polarising viewpoints.
That as we all share the same planet - let's come together to resolve these issues for the sake of future generations.
Dr Mark Orams - most definitely worth listening and taking in.
The Family Farm
Greg Hart, his wife Rachel and family live beside a 30 hectare lake - (80 acres) on 1500 acres or 650 - hectares - which Greg says is an average size farm in the Hawkes Bay region for 1 and a bit person to run …
Their lake was where tuna or eeling took place by early Maori - plus waka or canoes have been found sunken in the lake too. These link back to Maori families, that Greg has connections to.
His farm is a mixture of beautiful rolling hills and some flat land and some steeper hill country with about 30 acres of remnants of native bush which he has been recently adding to.
Unfolding Journey of Discovery
It’s all about an unfolding journey of working with the land experimenting with new and unconventional methods to bring balance to the ecology and yet be able to have the soil sustain them with high quality nutrient dense organic food. A life that he wife Rachel and his children absolutely love.
He has a web page called ‘Restoring Paradise’ - where 1,000 years ago his area would have been in perfect balance …
It’s about working with the land, not extracting maximum yield - experiencing family, joy, people visiting and sharing.
Greg has been involved in a significant tree planting program that coincided with the Air New Zealand Environment Trust wanting to plant trees to offset some of its aircraft emissions and bring its environmental footprint back down to earth - by planting 85,000 trees, the vast majority being natives.
The plan was to restore ecosystems and regenerating native forests
To also become a working model of a sustainable regenerating agricultural system and have an open farm where visitors are encouraged to come and reconnect to nature and see where and how their food grows and comes from.
Because at present, NZ’s ecological systems, particularly due to dairy farming are becoming more out of balance.
A big driver for Greg is about sustainable food systems and food milage based on oil, and all the fossil fuels consumed in growing food. Grain imports coming from overseas to feed the pigs and chickens has a large ecological footprint.
In Greg’s estimation even his hens are not really sustainable either due to lack of granular food - with less organic wheat being grown in NZ.
Perennial as against Annual crop planting
Greg’s looking at more perennial crops so as to stop the continued cycle of growing each and every year, with more labour and fuel consumption disturbing the soil, the soil microbes, greater erosion etc.
He has noticed that his pigs are doing quite a lot of damage to the soil on his farm and he has concerns about lack of soil cover and that with recent rains - can wash away this precious soil into drains and away. etc.
The present focus is on regenerative agriculture - it is somewhat like organics and an ecological approach to sustainable land management - like building up soil carbon and humus in the soil. This is by reducing our carbon emissions due to the way this particular system sequesters Co2 out of the atmosphere and locking it down in the soil, as the soil is the biggest sink of carbon - it’s naturally built into the ‘earth system’.
So regenerative agriculture takes and locks down carbon and makes the soil more fertile resilient and also capable of producing more nutrient dense food.
Darren Doherty - http://www.regrarians.org/about/ -
a Permaculture practitioner teacher from Australia - states: if the 5 billion hectares of agricultural soils around our planet were to increase their soil carbon content by 1.6% it would take out 100 parts per million of co2 out of the atmosphere - which is quite doable - this locking it back down in the soil. We could drop c02 content from 400 parts per million to 300 parts per million and it would really benefit our global food production.
Regenerative Agriculture increase biodiversity - whereas the present Neo-Liberal system is still cutting down forests to expand industrial agriculture - Greg is heading in the opposite direction and setting aside the less productive food growing areas and planting trees and restoring ecosystems and he is noticing the incredible increase in insects and bird life and nature is growing back into restoring itself with natural cycles starting to kick back in.
This brings up water quality and with quality humus this acts as a natural water filter and the need to keep the soil after heavy rains from washing into water courses, rivers and out to sea - affecting fishing beds etc.
Greg uses a holistic grazing system and again ‘ holistic thinking’ is embedded throughout the methods that he is using right across his farm as he endeavours to intuitively read what nature requires to rebalance itself and build up the soil carbon with its trillions of microbes - the microflora - especially bacteria and fungi - the 'workhorses' of our planetary ecology.
The use of industrial fertilisers and chemicals are harming the soil biology - especially over the long term - when he wants the soil and planet to be thriving from day one.
Greg's Philosophy is ‘do no harm.'
One of his farming heroes is American Joel Salitin - PolyFace farm -http://www.polyfacefarms.com/our-story/ - Time magazine called him the most innovative farmer in the world and he is also a brilliant communicator - He is stacking enterprises on his land - by looking and mimicking how nature generates food.
Embedding Micro Enterprises across the Farm
Being innovative, Greg has created some small micro units - where someone can milk the cows and rear some calves and make an income from that. He is also direct marketing meat from the farm with home kills - and he has people with beehives - doing honey etc - and he sees there are incredible opportunities on the land that he is stewarding and care taking.
Having his own Lodging for Guests.
Having a portable saw mill is advantageous - he uses after cutting down his own trees into timber - which he used to clad his lodge that sleeps 17 people down on his lake side.- The Lodge can be used for reunions, events, workshops, presentation etc and many families and groups come to hang out in nature and reconnect with themselves at a deeper level. Even Corporate groups to breathe deeply again and chill out. It’s especially handy around education about earth systems etc, and of the necessity for people to understand the transition to regenerative agriculture.
Deepening Our Connection
That there is so much more that can be done to work with the land but Greg emphasises that it is about people working together and deriving more meaning at the same time.
The interview covers Pure Hawkes Bay - http://purehawkesbay.org/ - that is wanting GE free status for the region and has a lot of local Council support whilst the Federated Farmers from the opposite perspective are arguing against it and the conscious people of the region!!!
Greg's farm is an all grass system - no crops like turnips, swedes, maize and potatoes - as he wants to keep the tractor in the shed and see if he can live without disturbing the soil as much as possible.
Which leads again back to Holistic Grazing
Alan Savoury originally out of Zimbabwe http://www.savory.global/ - who observed the grazing animals of Africa from buffalo and zebra and to the bison of the American plains and with near on millions of animals in these herds - these animals live on a very long seasonal rotation and continually move along eating the tops of grass a lot of it tall and defecating and urinating at the same time. Whilst following hoofed animals break down most of the stalks which are composed of mainly carbon and are pushed down into the dung, into the soil that over time this has built up a deep rich organic soil rich in soils microbes. -
These African areas and great plains in America have some of the deepest richest soils that we have on our planet. That the richness of the soil allows great numbers of animals to be fed over millennia and the animals just kept moving - hence these areas are incredibly rich in grass, soil and deeply rooted plants and grass life. It’s turning sunlight into food for grazing animals. It’s also like composting on the soil surface.
Grass is basically a carbon pump, the leaves are solar panels - plants are one of the most effective ways of sequestering co2 out of the atmosphere and pulsing it down into the ground.
Greg is doing the same with his cattle using electric fences and moving the cattle everyday - and the rotational moving around the farm has the grass regenerating very fast and healthily. Because they are not eating every blade of grass percentage of leaves and stalks are still being ground into the soil along with dung and urine - the grass springs back into life quickly after …
Back to Joe Salitin and a carbonaceous diaper - dung + leaves and stalks + urine builds up and covers your soil. Caring for it. Listen to the interview
Note that pastoral agriculture is still the backbone of the NZ economy - but is is based on importing mega amounts of fertiliser for agriculture a lot of it phosphate from North Africa and Greg says that all the energy in mining it and trucking or railing it to ports - shipping to NZ then trucking to where it is processed then trucking it out to the rural regions and putting it in an aerial top dressing lane has huge costs as well as an ecological footprint skyrocketing.
Will we have a crimp in fossil fuels in the future? If so Greg is prepared to work as if there could be one.
Greg has learnt from courses in Biological Agriculture - (Listen to 4 interviews by Graeme Sait, as well as Arden Anderson, Christine Jones on GreenplanetFM.com) as well as organics and biodynamics and he finds that this holistic grazing management using these natural cycles has so many benefits.
Utilising Grazing and Tree Cropping Together
Greg then talks about environmental web sites that are saying if we want to save the planet we have to give up meat. Saying that he does not see any vegetarian eco systems in the world - yet animals are part of this nutrient cycling - and he is focusing on growing food producing trees on his farm - to get away from cultivating annual crops for our food. Where instead an integrated perennial polycultural system where you have food producing trees nutrient cycling trees and animals also working through the system - grazing under the trees etc.
Greg talks about vegetarianism and a meat diet - (listen) re rice and pasta wheat not grown in NZ same for pulses are all imported. These use up food miles. Meat is local.
Mark Shepard - ‘Restoration Agriculture’ - https://permacultureapprentice.com/permaculture-profiles/new-forest-farm-mark-shepard-100-acre-15-years-of-establishment/ - that all our energy and cultivation is going into annual crops - rice, wheat, soy and corn - it’s so energy intensive every year - that the soils get ploughed up and the sun bakes and bleaches soil organisms in the heat and then rains can come and wash the soil away - it is disastrous at many levels - there is no sustainability in this, especially when you add chemical sprays and fuel use.
Nut trees in NZ, Greg says is a grand idea reducing our need for a lot of annual soil cultivation. Walnuts, almonds, and hazel nuts have potential in this country
Universities - the need for natural soil science.
Universities are not doing deep soil science - studying nature - but instead are looking at chemical band aids and trying to force feed the plant whilst in many cases destroying the microorganisms that are pivotal to feeding the plant. Many scientists are also spending so much of their time writing submissions for funding that they are spending a great deal of their time endeavouring to dream up ways so as to be financially viable. The commercial expediency of the Neo Liberal winner takes all approach to business - is devastating true scientific research in NZ.
Today’s industrial farming has only one big winner, and they are the large agro combines and corporations. Whilst the farmer in so many instances is chemicalising his farm, depleting nature and selling unhealthy produce onto the market.
Sam Lang - https://www.nuffield.org.nz/projects/ - Nuffield 2016 scholar travelling the world staying with Greg looking at sustainable systems and to get financial support to do these studies finds that finance is quite difficult to obtain in the current commercial environment - especially researching a green option.
Covering his crowd funding program with ‘million metre streams’ -https://millionmetres.org.nz/ - planting around his lake on his property.
Diversity of nature and a diversity of people who end up visiting - it’s the friendships and relationships and the warmth of connection - he loves sharing with people a farming experience.
People can also become ‘a friend of the farm’ with an annual membership and people can - using that money plant trees with Greg's vision of ‘Fields of Food. https://www.mangarara.co.nz/product/friend-the-farm/friend-of-the-farm-subscription/ -
He has just had a visit from the Grand Chancellor James Cook hotel in Wellington and this keen group have turned up 5 years in a row and each year they grow another row of food trees on his farm - and this is what happens when you are receptive to work with the NZ public. In the future Greg says that there will be so much food that visitors will take it away and surpluses given to charities …
We also have to get away from this scarcity mindset - to one of abundance
This is only a portion of this very interesting interview. - Tim
Project Lyttelton in the South Island could be deemed one of the more unique communities in NZ - as enterprising people are doing effectual things as they build warm community relationships that support each other in their daily life. Situated on the other side of the Port Hills only a few kilometres from Christchurch http://www.lyttelton.net.nz -
Why does a community come together?
Because these people enjoy warm hearted company that belongs to a creative and caring organisation. One that has the component of Time Banking being integral and is within the umbrella of Project Lyttelton - it is in many ways the glue that along with mindfulness and love - hold this little community together. When the Christchurch Earthquakes struck 6 years ago - Project Lyttelton was already in operation and they were in many ways pivotal in assisting in many areas of this disaster.
That as a community it is very open to ideas - if someone comes to them with a concept they will first - run it past their ‘vision’ - and if it fits and if there is a champion of this vision - they will take it on and support that idea. The important component, is having a champion to run it - as often ideas do come up, but if they have no champion it fails because no one is ‘eating breathing and being it.’
When they take on an activity or enterprise, Project Lyttelton also puts an advisory group around it, as it can be quite lonely, and this advisory group can then offer ‘group wisdom’ to support and assist it in steering this idea or concept into fruition.
Mind Maps & Time Banks Are Important
So they draw up a Mind Map to get a spatial plan of what ideas come up - many of them innovative and what Margaret has found that time and again, that a Time Bank is integral in nearly every mind map that they draw up - because a Time Back has the names of people who have the skills and the know-how and connections to make projects happen.
Time Banks, Margaret says, are the blood supply or the nervous system of the whole area - that as a singular person championing their own project where you have to be your own lawyer, accountant, marketeer, artist, salesperson, go-for - when you are part of a team - you draw from the collective skills of your Time Bank. This is the gift and magic of organising a time bank in your localised area. You are resource rich!
In NZ Time Banking is based around people’s secondary skills - that are not their main form of income - as they are taxed if they are following their primary financial means of earning a living. For example - if you are a builder who can do hedge cutting by swapping an hour with a florist who is prepared to paint your garage - one hour of each doing what they are ‘2nd best at’ - is how time banks are structured here in NZ. In the USA and the UK - time banks are exempt from tax - so NZ is very behind with the times on this issue. Where in future there may be an opportunity in NZ when more Time Banks become ubiquitous across the country - there may then be legislation passed that allows an accountant to swap an hour of their accountancy time to have one hour of lawn mowing done, by a full time lawn mower - in return.
A Large Membership for Their Area.
The localised Lyttelton Township has a population of 2,500 and around the broader basin it’s naturally a lot larger - yet their Time Bank has around 780 members - which offers up a very broad area of skills that can be drawn on.
They also have Savings Pools where people save collectively and yet lending to each other interest free - and the trust that is around this unique way of pooling money is very abiding.
Huge Amounts of Trust.
Margaret says that one of our biggest blocks is around how we think and that we need to have a totally new look at how we bank, because we have in some ways a large collective block on how we see banks these days - from the large ubiquitous commercial banks and our unknowing-ness around Savings Pools, Cooperative Banks - Trust Banks Time Banks and Green dollars.
Strong Values Base
Project Lyttelton is strongly values based - which they don’t actually name - but have a postcard with pictures of these values on - which ‘hint’ as to what these values might be. Margaret talks a lot about love and also generosity and kindness and the practice of generosity does amazing things and to offer things to people - not expecting anything in return - allow marvellous things to happen.
Rebecca Solnit’s book: A Paradise Built in Hell - Extraordinary Communities that Arise from Disaster - http://www.onthecommons.org/paradise-built-hell#sthash.R8lu4JYo.dpbs
Where in disasters people do come together - Whereas Hollywood may show mayhem and everyone running amuck but in reality - people all pull together - they sense a deeper connection - Margaret says that when a disaster happens, everyone ‘drops their stuff’ and only think about helping their neighbour - that before the authorities finally show up - that little window before - is like paradise (group mind connects) - because everyone is working together - and now today, with that disaster behind them - many people go back to how they were prior to the Earthquake and forget what once was - and Margaret understands that - because our world is run on a financial model - that earning money and getting money to buy things is the central thing - and this brings about disconnection again.
Listen to Margaret talk about how the Time Bank came to be of huge assistance in the Earthquake that also affected Lyttelton - big time.
Associate Professor Lucy Ozanne has written a document on Time Banking -
http://timebanks.nz/resources - That during the time of a disaster, was actually documenting the Lyttelton Time Bank before that disaster struck and was able to follow through giving major insights to its efficacy - as there is very little research on a group being monitored prior to and during a disaster. This document has gone world wide showing that a Time Bank can be pivotal when disaster strikes.
The NZ Authorities acknowledged and appreciated what Project Lyttelton accomplished during and after the Earthquake with no financial support. However Margaret says that Time Banks need to be acknowledged in such a way as to pay the administrators, because they cannot live on just credits alone etc - as there is rent to pay and all the other costs in living are many. She says this needs to be changed (because at another level they can act as an auxiliary Civil Defence) and it’s too hard for Time Banks to just exist without greater support from the established order. As Time Banks can run far more efficiently if there is someone working in a paid role. This way the community would become far more cohesive, mindful and caring.
Funding for local initiatives like Project Lyttelton is becoming more difficult to obtain too - for reasons unknown - community initiatives of closer knit neighbourhoods is very difficult to enable Government officials to comprehend - so she and the Project Lyttelton team are looking at social enterprises to enable them to support themselves.
Their farmers market falls into this category - on good Saturdays they have 50 plus stalls at their market - which all pay a fee that pays the Farmers Market manager as well as supporting the community garden. That Garage Sales* are another social enterprise - and this is continuing from strength to strength. (Listen to this interview) People will give stuff and earn ’time credits’. Plus Project Lyttelton have rented an earthquake deserted (but safe) building where people also bring all their items* that they want to sell.
Community Group Involvement
If you are a community group you can come and run that Garage Sale with that group officiating and at the end of the day they can receive the ‘profits of the take' etc and that is the way community groups can piggyback on outreach of Project Lyttelton's goodwill. For example $500 profit was taken on one particular Saturday.
And they can have 4 Garage Sales a week. They have two part time employees - so they are providing work. People who are in real need - they don’t have to pay … Margaret, says she loves this model and it feeds people at multiple levels - and the people who run it get to know who needs what in the community. (listening is best)
Time Banks Again - there is not a model that suits everyone - as all situations are different - however the general principles apply - transplanting one model to another area though good in theory - always needs to be revised and changed for that other area or region.
Living and Thriving in the Community
Margaret gets her weekly shopping from the Farmers’ Market - due to it being organic and fresh - not from the supermarket where a lot of produce is packaged cartoned and tinned.
A Local Co-Operative
Project Lyttelton has a ‘friendship’ partnership in a Co-op in Lyttelton which has whole foods and it is owned by 200 people in Lyttelton - this is where Margaret obtains her whole foods, etc - so she shops at the Farmers’ Market and the Co-op. That the Co-op also acts as a conduit for all the localised farmers and producers that can sell their products into it and whatever organic produce that they only grow in a very short season - they can bring it to the Co-op.
They do a lot around food - and shared events - Farmers Market on Saturdays are the best social bumping space to meet people.
Project Lyttelton has a board meeting once a months and they eat and discuss things - paid staff and volunteers meet every week and there is always food there - the savings pools meet every month over a shared meal too.
Another fun event is called grow your own - and a dinner of your own growing - (Listen)
The important Essence or Ingredient of Community is:
Openness - being open with all your accounts - let everyone know where you are getting your money from.
Being Values based
And Appreciative Enquiry - looking at what is going well and seeing why it is going well - and transferring why it’s going well, to other things and projects - and while it is going well including values, like looking at clear communication and acting kindly towards each other.
Including understanding conflict resolution - not that they have had real conflict but to embrace the skill of negotiating through goodwill. Gaining skills to work between and with each other.
The Significance of Appreciative Enquiry
Put up an idea and the very next question is, where’s the money? - Project Lyttelton very seldom gets that question now - listen to how they manifest their money - note it is very inventive and novel …. Margaret says if they have a dream - put it out there - drop all attachment to it - and then it starts happening … and all sorts of possibilities come into being … keep talking to people - because they may have skills and they may be the answer.
What NZ needs to involve themselves with, is that each NZer is encouraged to find what finds them joy and what they feel drawn to and follow this notion.
As this is an Election Year we need to be more involved at a national level and raising questions as to what we would like NZ to become … and raising questions.
Be involved in letter writing, submissions - attending meetings even marches and rallies Margaret said she is not drawn to such things, but when times require it she has done it from time to time.
Thinking Global and Acting Local - is where her passion resides.
Project Lyttelton are in the process of running a repair cafe … and remoulding plastics … looking at their waste stream - educating people into the finite nature of our resources - using things wisely and effectively - plus recycling, reusing and reducing items.
She mentions Doughnut Economics - Kate Raworth https://www.kateraworth.com/
As we are taking and extracting far more from our planet’s resources - some say we are taking far more than our planet actually can replace.
Becoming aware of our ecological well being - our mental well being and our spiritual well being. Deepening our connection with life.
The Global Commons - recognising that the global commons belongs to no one except the biota of our planet - The Global Commons is the opposite to a corporate raid.
Connection at a Higher Level
Margaret wants to see a method where ‘groups’ can be in contact and develop the skills in linking organisations together so that we can share - be more cohesive and connected with each other - especially spokespeople.
By building the capacity to communicate nationwide across the sectors - grassroots groups - organising for a common purpose. So that we network our vision to more and more New Zealanders across the country, pulling the threads of community closer together.
Such as ‘Not for Profit's’ in Christchurch need to form a Time Bank and all work together - and start linking up with expertise and material things like a shared truck or digger as an example.
In a Future Scenario Margaret would like to get rid of party politics - as it locks down initiative - and that we are now caught up in the games that are being played between various parties - as there is no real discussion - (which she admits is a sweeping generalisation) but we understand what she is saying. That the issues have to be debated in a far more open forum.
Instant Localised Internet Voting
She would also like to see ‘instant localised voting’ on a ’safe, non-hackable’ system that allowed people to vote on initiatives at a very localised level - that are binding - in that smaller regions could have more control over their affairs - and possibly voting on Daily Issues even - they would come up on your computer at specific times - maybe every day and this would involve us in ‘Participative Democracy’ and we could vote on the issues. (Listen to the interview)
She also wants a group of people within the localised community to become ‘the voice of the community’ - so that instead of having one person speaking on behalf of the community that these ‘elected people’ - from youth to elders - can then speak - knowing that at heart they have the communities blessing - Margaret says there is a lot of wisdom embedded in her community so why her? And when you get this group together - you can pay them in time credits
This is a very thought provoking and empowering interview of bringing ‘conscious’ care to you localised area and community.