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!




Ceri is a graduate of one of Jo’s Sustainable Horticulture courses at EIT and has worked in the nursery since 2015. A keen gardener at home, she also keeps Jo on track in the nursery ensuring we have the right quantities of plants in the right place at the right time. It’s a family environment here so it’s fabulous having someone who’s so much fun with our girls, and despite being a 100% cat person she has even grown to enjoy the odd cuddle with our dogs!    


Jenni and Gigs are our farm Dream Team. We’re hesitant to reveal the multitude of skills they have for fear someone else might ‘steal’ them but suffice to say design, construction, nursery work and gardening are among them!  These wonderful people have been in and around the farm for the last couple of years and have become truly part of our whānau. Even the dogs cry when they leave!



And our extra helpers in Spring:  
Asuka-Kahikatea-Farm Asuka has been part of our spring contract force since 2017. There’s no doubt she’s the nattiest dresser in the nursery and the plants as well as us enjoy her choral renditions!    
Jayne worked for us way back in 2014  before she went off to train as a natropath and medical herbalist. It’s wonderful having her helping hands during the busy season, bringing not just an extensive knowledge of how to grow the plants, but now also of all their medicinal uses. She is also our bee-keeping expert, lending a guiding hand through our first season.    

Liv first joined us in the nursery in  2019 after volunteering on the farm through the winter, and lapped up the knowledge to apply to her own garden, which she hopes will provide an oasis of calm, nurturing and sustainability in an urban setting and provide an example for others to follow.





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!) Maya (left) is our chief rabbiter, running like a gazelle and jumping fences like a kangaroo! ‘Gastro’ Gus (middle) is part labrador, say no more! His favourite foods include kale, cucumbers and lego! And Lottie (right) is chief guard dog and expert at it, though she is a friend indeed to those who know her. They are all also our ‘mental health ambassadors’ – it’s impossible to have a bad day when you’re having doggie cuddles!