Parr's Permaculture Design

Parr's Permaculture Design

Sunday, October 3, 2010

23rd Feb 2010 "Last Leg"

Group email number 4:

Kia Ora, 

I find it very hard to believe that this big trip is already so close to ending. I leave NZ in 2 days and then have a month in Tassie, teaching circus and hopefully getting out to see a bunch of people and places; a quarter of the trip left, I guess that's about right. I imagine this last month will zip by and before I can even start to close my eyes to blink, I'll be arriving back at Tullamarine Airport wondering how time managed to speed up so damn fast!

I think I last wrote from Sydney, just before hitting NZ soil.  That I have certainly done since, and approximately a million other things on top... no less than design my friend's intensive food production at his newly hand-built home here in Whangarei, Northlands.  I'll start at the beginning...

I arrived about 1am at Hamilton airport and was greeted by my very dear close friend Irene, whom I studied circus with at CircoArts 7 years ago. Her partner Damien now owns Circus Aotearoa, and her two children Artemis and Matthias are both growing up to be very intelligent and entertaining young people.  
I spent a few days hanging out with them at their farm just outside Raglan, helping with daily chores such as feeding the chooks and pigs, moving the goat, checking the possum traps. She regularly has WWOOFers to help with these sorts of things but no-one was staying while I was there. And then all of a sudden we were on the road. Heading North to Waihi where the circus had pulled up for the weekend, Irene was needed to fill in while a couple of performers were having a break. I decided to join in, do the act I had brought with me for the Convention, so performed a couple of times, which served a great way to warm up my act for the jugglers... 
I enjoyed the 3 days with Aotearoa but am certain the circus life on the road is not for me. No way. Much respect to those who choose that life for themselves, it certainly leads to a very close-knit community of people, a team if you like all living together making it work. Matthias, I am sure will spend some years doing exactly that when he's 18 or so. Matthias did his characterful triple-stack rola-bola routine and Artemis did a cute tissu routine with mum, amongst others. 

A few days back home, and then we hit the road again, bee-line for Levin, the host for the 2010 NZJC. As soon as we arrived I jumped into my role of workshop co-ordinator, writing up all the workshops Jo and I had compiled over the previous 3 or 4 months, and running one pretty much straight away (I ran 8 workshops in total!). All in all, NZJC was a great big fat hit. They broke even, the public show rocked the house, the venue ran 24-hours, the renegades were action packed... the only down sides were a lack of table-tennis table, my inability to win any of the games (!), and no-one putting their hand up to run the next festival next year.  Yeah, this last one is a big one but there is hope (read on). 

There was a small after party in the very local and beautiful Kimberly Reserve down the road, where people had their last juggles and said their final farewells. I had said my emotional goodbye to Irene at the convention, and my next lift was with Drew and his 'whanau' (pronounced 'farnow'). Another full car of kids and peeps; his partner Ilona is expecting her second child, nearly 1yr-old Django was with us along with teenager Ann... we were indeed very cosy! 
I've been here almost 3 weeks now. I have found it very chilled out here, despite having a baby and teen around. They all seem to get on so well (compared to my family, it's really nice to see), and Django is by far the most chilled out baby I have ever come across, gets it from his folks I reckon.
So this part of the trip was something I was looking very much forward to, even more than SJC or NZJC, as I had arranged to help Drew with designing is garden, with none other than my new faithful buddy, Mr Permaculture. 
Drew's spent the last 2 years solid building his home, and done a very very good job of it too.  With jawdropping views East & West from here, high up on a ridge, he'd lost momentum for the rest... the garden, landscaping, pathways, etc.  
So while I got shown around this stunningly amazing part of NZ (the real Far North; the surrounds; his two properties; the local falls; the beach; the lookout) and got fed meals, entertainment and shelter, in return I spent my days in the kitchen with my new retractable pencil, a tape measure and an A3 pad of paper, to set about designing his food production.  
To cut a long story short, I had my hump, during the first concept design, but sure enough got over that and this morning finished off drawing number 7.  I completed the front sheet (together with a logo for "Parr's Permaculture Design" and have handed over my work to Drew and Ilona, job done.  I truly feel ecstatic that I did what I came here to do and Drew and Ilona have both said they are also stoked with the outcome.  While I've been here, Ilona's bro Hugo has also been staying to do some WWOOFing work and has already implemented some paths and steps I outlined in my designs for part of the property, so I've realeady been able to see my design come to life a bit! I hope to revisit next year to see how they have progressed with their implementation.  I'm particularly proud of my balcony design, which has an innovative bed that also houses a sandpit and a paddling pool, and the way I managed to design in a 10-degree ramp in the outdoor garden to allow access to the higher raised beds from the ground level. I have copies of the designs on my comuter so if you wanna have a look, please come round to my place when I get back, I'll be happy to talk you through them! 
So yeah, New Zealand.  I could absolutely live here! I think if all else fails I definitely would... but to get to the point where all else fails, I have many many other options to test out first. 2010 is really shaping up to be quite a year! 

I have attached a HEAP of photos this time, some from the Far North, some along the way, some with Irene, and a few others which should be self-explanatory. In short, it is so stunning here, increasingly the more North you go... there's not that many people here, the roads are pretty quiet, especially if you compare them to Australia, there are more Maori up here, coming across several private Maori sites, private beaches with small graveyards attached - their true cultural settlements, some untouched, some hideously threatened by white-people's buildings. Its pretty sad to see sometimes but the Maoris did have a better time than our aborigines, that's for sure. 

Man, I need to go spend some times with my host, I hope you enjoy this email, and life as it continues in this never-ending spiral of awesomeness. 

Much love to you all, 


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