Tag Archives: ecology


Copied from the Koanga Institute’s Facebook page this morning(Saturday 2nd November 2013) Please pass the information on to others. website link here
We need your help to save our New Zealand organic heritage Seed and Tree collection by Tuesday 5th of November.

New Zealand’s largest heritage seed and tree collection is under threat and we are urgently appealing for support to remove this threat. URGENT appeal- help us save New Zealand’s largest heritage organic seed and tree collection by TUESDAY 5th of November.
The Preciousness of the Collection: In 1994, UN calculations conservatively estimated 90% of vegetables and 85% apples had become extinct, with on ongoing loss of 1-2% annually. (other fruit trees are likely to have suffered similar losses). In New Zealand, the precious remnant of the seed and food tree stocks of our ancestors is protected by voluntary collections and requires urgent recognition and protection.
For 30 years, The Koanga Institute a registered charitable trust has been working to save what remains of New Zealand’s heritage food plants. They have saved 800+ seed lines and 400+ fruit tree and berrie varieties. Some of these lines have international importance, particularly the corn collection which is one of the largest collections not affected by genetic engineering. This collection has many ecological and nutritional characteristics that will be invaluable for the future of regenerative agriculture and our health The home for this collection is in Wairoa, Northern Hawkes bay
The Threat: We take particular concern to ensure our water supply both to our staff and the seed production is not unduly affected by environmental toxins. The integrity of our soil and water is paramount. Our water catchment is on a property next door that we have an agreement to purchase asap. With little warning the present owners of the property have decided to kill most of the native bush on the property with aerially sprayed herbicides so they can plant it in plantation forestry, as they have assumed we wont be able to purchase it. This has really put us on the back foot. We can’t contemplate living with the effect of a contaminated water catchment and a denuded landscape. We are aware that more and more the evidence of the ongoing negative effects of biocides continues to mount. This attacks the integrity of our whole future. At present, unless we can negotiate a postponement, the present owners are planning on spraying on Tuesday 5th November 2013 – 3days away.
The Appeal : By Tuesday 5th November we need: sufficient donations to place the deposit and assure the owner we can purchase the land. Ideally we wish to have $250,000 or An agreement with someone with financial ability to enter into a Sale and Purchase Agreement, with the present owner, that also includes an ability for us to lease the land with a right of purchase. Please consider this appeal, and consider passing it on to others who may wish to support it. We need your help.. this is a matter of profound national significance – please join us in this vital investment in our food future!
Action: Please donate to our online programme as part of a crowd fundraising initiative or pay into our bank account 12 3094 0158442 51 or contact us and let us know how you can help us buy the land emma@koanga.org.nz


Four and twenty blackbirds….?

Well maybe not that many blackbirds in your garden but those of you reading along in New Zealand may like to join in the annual bird count.

And those of you living in different countries may be interested in the information about this survey, as sent in the email to me.

The survey should be done sometime between 30 June and 8 July. Please record the largest number of each species you detect at any one time in 1 hour of observation (not the total detected over the hour). The reason for counting the largest number detected at one time is so that individual birds are not counted twice.

You can be either inside (e.g. in the living room at home or classroom at school looking out the window) or outside (e.g. on a verandah or garden seat). If you have a bird feeder or water bath, you may like to watch the part of your garden where that is. You don’t have to be able to see your whole garden, just part of your garden will do.

I like doing the survey and I always hope a rare and exotic bird will appear so I can include it in my tally. Last year the week after the survey I spotted two lovely Eastern Rosellas alight on my deck railing, call to each other, and then they were gone. Fingers crossed I’ll get an unusual visitor this year as I sit and bird watch.

Living waters, quilting and ceramics

We have been in the midst of a huge winter storm system since Friday. The wind has shaken the house at times, the thunder has shaken the house at times and the heavy rain and hail have pelted against the windows and roof. There have also been periods of calm and dry within all this extra high energy.

This is all set against the news in the past few days of more earthquakes in Japan, the Pacific, Christchurch and a sizeable tremor located in Taupo but felt here in various degrees of severity. The Kermadec Islands jolt set off Tsunami watches here and with three family members living or working close to the coast my antennae were well up for an hour or two until the “watch” was lifted. A tornado hit an area 35 kms north of where I live and that has put an increased alert in my mind too. There seems much to be aware of right now.

Set against all this weather and the forces of nature it was with delight that I noticed patches of blue sky during the morning and so I set off to watch a DVD being shown outside our main public library.

This DVD featured 2 or 3 episodes in the Living Waters, Tiakina Nga Taonga – Protect the Treasure series. The makers plan to make a new episode each month for a year celebrating the unique ecology, diversity and beauty of the Porirua Harbour and the piece that I see on an almost daily basis, the Pauatahanui Inlet.

I felt transported into a much calmer space as I sat and enjoyed the small creatures, the fish, the birdlife, and the plants that inhabit both the Inlet and its fresh water sources. The humans featured on the episodes ranged in age from young school age children to elderly, all of whom were learning about this wonderful environment and contributing to the maintenance and knowledge of a very unique eco-system.

I see on the website that there are episodes online that I have yet to view so if the forecast “systems” in this storm arrive I can look forward to watching those at home.

I then went to the nearby gallery and enjoyed the exhibition mounted by the Coastal Quilters and artists from the local Gear Homestead group. The range of colour, pattern and individual creations was stunning. It was a visual feast.

Refreshed from this outing I am pleased to report a lull in the weather currently which I am really enjoying.