Ngā Tāngata (The People)



Jo is a passionate permaculture teacher and gardener. A long time environmentalist, she has a background in language teaching and since 2005 has taught courses and workshops in permaculture, sustainability, gardening, herb growing and horticulture for Environment Centre Hawkes Bay, Taruna (Organics & Biodynamics Certificate), the Building Biology & Ecology Institute, Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), Lotus Holistic Centre, and since 2010 at Kahikatea Farm itself.  In 2005 she founded the Hawke’s Bay Permaculture Group. She was awarded the NZ Gardener Magazine’s 2007 Hawke’s Bay Gardener of the Year for her gardening, teaching and community efforts. Her main interest is in designing and growing sustainable perennial agricultural systems at both urban and rural scales, and opening people’s minds to a different way of growing.   


Aaron was responsible for delivering our plants to our retail outlets and running our market stall until a back injury in 2011 put him out of action. Luckily he has enjoyed the opportunity to be ‘house daddy’ to our two daughters, Anna and Eliza. He also does the finances, which involves making Jo define more clearly what is a ‘want’ and what is a ‘need’!






Our girls are growing up in interesting and challenging times. So far we seem to be striking a reasonable balance between eco-literacy and digital literacy and they willingly embrace both. Sometimes this is to our advantage when our own digital literacy is not up to scratch!






Gigs has been in and around the farm for the last few years on and off and he and partner Jenni are truly part of our whānau. Gigs is multi-talented in design, construction, nursery work and gardening, is our go-to fix-it person, and knows all areas of the farm inside out and backwards. We really don’t know what we’d do without him!


Christiana has been a friend of ours for over 25 years and Aaron has the honour of being godfather to one of her lovely daughters.  Having always been a passionate gardener and nature-lover, Christiana was keen for a change from Early Childhood teaching and now looks after plant babies instead of human ones! She loves these babies just as dearly and they thrive under her tender loving care. Christiana also brings a healthy dose of organisational skills and good housekeeping to the nursery and it is just wonderful to have her here. We also get the added bonus of Lexi the dog, who is small in stature but mighty big on personality, and keeps the mouse population in the potting shed down, whilst keeping us all entertained!




Patricia is our in-house herbalist, being a qualified practitioner as well as a hugely experienced gardener. We love Patricia for her enthusiasm and positive energy as well as her expertise. She’s an absolute machine when it comes to pricking out and potting on, and is in her happy place working with and talking about plants all day! She’s a complete plantaholic and does absolutely nothing to help control Jo’s own plant collecting habits!


In Memoriam

In July 2021 we lost our friend and long term colleague Ceri Phillips following a two year battle with cancer. Ceri was a graduate of one of Jo’s Sustainable Horticulture courses at EIT and had worked in the nursery since 2015. A keen gardener at home, she also kept Jo on track in the nursery, was amazing with our girls growing up, and despite being a 100% cat person she even grew to enjoy the odd cuddle with our dogs! There’s not a day goes by when we don’t think of Ceri, we miss her dearly on both a personal and business level. 


And finally, meet our P.E.T.S. – our Pre-Effluent Treatment System! (In other words the dogs do first round of dishes duty, which means less food scraps and grease go into our grey water system!).  The dogs are all also our ‘mental health ambassadors’ – it’s impossible to have a bad day when you’re having doggie cuddles!  Lottie (left) is chief guard dog and expert at it, though she is a friend indeed to those who know her. She’s also an expert rat catcher.  Herbie is never found without a stick in his mouth and is our sensitive soul who does the rounds at morning tea to check we’re all ok. He is part heading dog and we’re hoping to train him to herd the ducks in the nursery.  Charlie is our bouncing Beardie x; typically he has a very loud voice and likes to use it! He has a range of skills to show off including being able to clear the horse jumps much better than the horses! Juno is the junior member of our canine team and is currently upskilling on guard duty, rat catching and cuddles – all the important qualities! 

herbie-kahikatea-farm charlie-kahikatea-farm juno-dog-kahikatea-farm