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A New Zealand answer to the World’s major challenges

In this article by Bob Corker we see how brave and visionary efforts are leading to practical solutions to the problems we face in our society; food production, climate improvement, meaningful work, education and much more.

To confidently face the many challenges that the future holds for us, we need new models for living lightly on Earth and for building resilience into our communities.

We can’t expect that we can merely change our intentions and the existing economic, physical and social structures will magically serve our new intentions with ‘green’ add-ons.

Design follows intention.

We are challenged to dream new dreams and to have the courage to manifest those dreams; crafting them in the spirit with which they were dreamed. This is the challenge of our time. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.

We’d like to invite adventurous, optimistic and determined ’souls’ to join us in developing a regenerative, intentional community settlement in the Northern Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand.

Our village is situated 24kms northeast of Wairoa (Pop. 4,000), and about 110kms southwest from Gisborne (Pop. 34,000), nestled in a quiet, private valley next to the Mangapoike river.

The whole property is 120 hectares, of which half is a series of old flat river terraces, surrounded by hills to the south. This gives us shelter from the winter winds, and a sense of being nurtured. (The classic ‘lair of the dragon’ in feng shui — hindering the wind and hoarding the water). The land rises from 20m above sea level near the river to nearly 200m above sea level in the hills. There is a real sense of ‘peacefulness of place’ which can be picked up immediately.

The village site is on a large flat elevated terrace with deep free draining soils that are easy to build on and great for gardening and growing trees. We have good rainfall, some small springs and several good sites for elevated dams to store water for irrigation.

Kotare is both the name of our road and the name of the native kingfisher that frequents these valleys.

This is a unique opportunity — one that is well planned, with good resources for on-going development. It will be a place to grow your future with the support of the environment and community.

The people behind this vision are Bob Corker and Kay Baxter.

Bob has spent most of his life developing and living in communities. He has cultivated his ideas on village design while directing the Koanga Institute (which he founded with Kay), and working as a consulting environmental designer. This village is his life’s mission. He also brings a wealth of knowledge on Light Earth Building, Appropriate Technology and biological ‘waste’ water recycling systems. Read more: Bob’s Story.

Kay is a gardener extraordinaire and is widely known for her work with heritage fruit tree and seed saving, and her writing. She is a co-founder of the Koanga Institute and is passionately involved in bringing forward the leading edge in human scale nutrient dense food production and processing for self-reliance in health. Her knowledge and skills are enlightening all of us here, and have given us the confidence that we can be self-reliant when it comes to good food.

Kay is in the process of restructuring the Koanga Institute, and passing on her skills to others. In doing so, the Institute will be strengthened in its position at the center of the transformation encompassed in Kotare village.

There are currently two employment opportunities being offered by the Koanga Institute.

Kay and Bob have been joined by five other families, all of whom have overwintered in our camp. Later this summer we will begin building our first dwellings in the cluster areas.

Permaculture Village Developments

The development of Kotare Village will be done by Permaculture Village Developments, a company recently formed by Bob Corker, Chris Lenth and Geoff Lawton.

Geoff visited the farm this winter. He was very impressed by the property and the model we were using to develop it. He has decided to come on board, both to support the development of Kotare Village and to adapt the concept to other locations. Read more from Geoff.

Progress in the Village Development

In January of 2012, we will have available for lease 24 sections of approx 1000m2. Each section sits within a cluster of 8 – 11 houses on our 120 hectare farm. Leasing a section gives you:

membership of Kotare Village Incorporated, which manages the legal agreements and the commons as well as electing representatives to the Kotare Community Land Trust
a house site upon which you can build your house and gardens
access to the common land, including community areas, reserves and walking tracks
opportunities to lease or license other resources within the 120ha farm for your use.
opportunities to participate in co-operative economic development
The membership fee is $100,000. If paid for in full before 30 April 2012, this price will be discounted to $80,000 + GST. After 1st May 2012 the fee will be $90,000 + GST, until the first 15 memberships are paid for.

We are also offering a limited number of opportunities for settlers to pay a substantial deposit up front and work off the balance as sweat equity over a negotiated period. These sweat equity deals will be held for individuals who can bring specific skills to our project. After May 31st 2012, we will also be offering leases on sections with a small house added. In addition, rental and rent-to-buy options on properties will be available from June 1st 2012.

If you have read this far, the challenge is about to begin. How did this project come about and what relevance does it have to you? How will Kotare Village be different from the world you live in now? The answers to these questions are yours to find. We invite you to read on, to look further into to our dream, and to observe the process that has brought us to this point.

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