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-Kahikatea-Farm 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!    




And our extra helpers in Spring:  






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!) 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!