Come and enjoy talks from our many knowledgable and experienced presenters from Golden Bay and around Aotearoa.

Taonga Puoro Wānanga

Renowned artists Robin Slow, Brian Flintoff, Bob Bickerton, Ariana Tikao, Holly Tikao-Weir and Solomon Rahui are collaborating to bring art, music and storytelling to the Living Wood Fair, as they play and talk about Taonga Puoro, the traditional musical instruments of Māori. 

Brian Flintoff says, “We are delighted and privileged to work as a group of friends who believe that our varied art forms, visual and musical, are powerful vehicles that convey treasures held in traditional stories, sayings and concepts. We offer this in the hope that this combination of sounds and sights create an experience that can enrich others lives in the way it does so for us”.

And Robin Slow adds, “Our kaupapa has been to work together, using painting, carving and music to bind narratives that help reflect the whakataukī; ‘Plait the rope that binds the past to the future’ ”.

Ngā Taonga Puoro

Saturday 3.30pm Kōrero Rua

Taonga Puoro (singing treasures) are the traditional instruments of Māori and were almost lost until a revival led by Hirini Melbourne brought them back to life in the latter part of the last century. Core members of the revivalist group Haumanu included Hirini, musician Richard Nunns and master carver Brian Flintoff.

This presentation by Brian Flintoff and Bob Bickerton and assisted by Ariana Tikao, Holly Tikao-Weir and Solomon Rahui will explore aspects of the many different instruments, including their kaupapa (purpose), whakapapa (heritage) and sounds.

Eric Cairns

Eric has 35+ years of experience growing and harvesting alternative timber species at his small woodlot near Upper Hutt. He is secretary for Farm Forestry Timbers, Oak Action Group and the Wgtn Branch of NZFFA. He is the FFA representative on the FOA/FFA joint committee for Training and Careers, and the Small Forest Owners representative on the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council. He chaired a research group looking at feasibility of Target Diameter Harvesting for radiata pine in a range of southern NI sites (as an example of continuous cover canopy harvesting).

Mexican Oaks, potential plantation timber species for NZ

Sunday 2.45pm Kōrero Tahi

An outline of historical use of oak in the world is presented, followed by recent history of oaks in NZ. In particular, the story of growth performance of the many Mexican oaks species planted around NZ, including Bob Berry’s arboretum at Hackfalls. Some of the species and hybrids vie with Acacias for growth rate, and are capable of putting on 3cm diameter per year in good conditions. There is a knowledge gap surrounding utilization of Mexican oaks as solid timber.

Eric will also be on the Forestry Forum Panel on Sunday 12.30pm Kōrero Tahi.

Rachel Rose

Rachel Rose, with Hamish Randle, is developing a mixed alternative species forest on hill country near Whanganui that will be managed as a continuous canopy forest. They are very involved with the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, including it’s Oak Action Group. Rachel is a writer and editor. She is also planning a new build involving lots of timber, straw bales and light earth. 

Let the forest remain: continuous canopy forestry

Saturday 11.45am Kōrero Tahi

Continuous canopy management is an appealing alternative to clear-felling forests. Individual trees or small coupes are selectively harvested but the canopy always remains. There’s lots of potential for small woodlots, carbon farming, alternative species and mixed land use.

Rachel is also on the Forestry Forum Panel on Sunday

Sol Morgan

Passionate advocate for a better world, Sol has been organic gardening for over 40 years, educating, advising others in how to grow healthy food. Runs own business GoWise Consultancy. Chair of Te Wharerangi Trust that administers the Golden Bay Sustainable Living Centre (aka Community Gardens) which provides facilities to learn and grow about organic food.

Ecosystem Management

Saturday 2.15pm Kōrero Rua

Understand how different ecosystems from forest to pasture and everything in-between have different operating systems and need different support systems in place

GroWise Consultancy (FB)NGO:

Woodworking Friends Collective

Phill, Sam and Alexander are a representative sample of a community of woodworking friends who share a social and hence environmental conscience and an interest in woodwork.. in that order.

Woodworking Friends : Shared Experience

Sunday 10am Kōrero Rua

Phill, Sam and Alexander will describe how they became woodworking friends, what they get up to and what they intend to do in future. They will explore their collective history over the last ten years or so, to give context to themes which they are currently concerned with and intend to develop further whilst each maintaining their own and supporting one another’s unique practice.

This may appeal to those called to make their living from a craft based practice but will also be tailored to a general audience.


Verena Maeder

I am an earth building artisan with 30 years of experience and have been a driving force in natural building in NZ since 2002. To date I have carried out over 200 building projects, ranging from pizza ovens to the construction of entire mud brick homes, to earthen and lime plasters over drywall or strawbale, to the restoration of numerous historic cob buildings

I am trained in Architecture as well as Building Biology and Ecology (BBE) in Switzerland

I was part of the committee in charge of the revision of the NZ Earth Building Standards that were re-published in 2020. In 2017 I was awarded Tradeswoman of the Year by the National Association of Women in Construction.

Retrofitting with Earthen Materials

Saturday 4.30pm Kōrero Tahi

Options for non-load bearing walls and wall surfaces, when using earth as thermal mass material, for sound proofing, to regulate indoor humidity and to beautify your living spaces.

Verenna is also on the Building Forum on Saturday.


Sven & Sarah Johnston – Sol Design

Sven and Sarah Johnston, natural builders and designers, have been working with straw bale design and construction techniques for 24 years. By combining our creative and practical backgrounds, Sol Design, Ltd. was created in 2005, where we both design, consult and teach on straw bale systems. We love to celebrate the connection of craft and beauty through a sense of place and through the materials we use. By understanding the patterns of people and the space they inhabit, our intention is to create desired design solutions for our clients. And through our workshops, we can begin to nurture and support others desiring to create natural buildings for themselves or/and for others.

Designing & Building with Straw Bales in New Zealand

Sunday 11.45am Kōrero Rua

See how you can design and build a beautiful, inspiring built environment using straw bales within NZ’s regulatory environment.

Ian McCauley – TDC Building Assurance Manager

Construction industry 35 years. Australia and NZ Builder qualified. Contract and site management. Council building consents last 10 years. Team Leader Inspections at Auckland Council before manager at Kaipara District 5 years. Manager at Tasman since September 2019. Appointed on MBIE Code Advisory Panel working group since 2019 dealing with Building Code related changes and issues.

Building Code: Tiny Homes and Exemptions

Saturday 11.15am Kōrero Rua

Purposes/Principles of Building Act; Tiny Homes; Exemptions from building consents.

Ian is also on the Building Forum on Saturday

Ian Brown

Born in Wales and living in Onekaka, I’m an ordained Druid with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids . I’m focused on soul work through nature connection, and use myth and fairytale to explore connection to the greater than human experience .

Druids Trees and mystery Sunday 1pm Kōrero Rua

A question and answer session on contemporary Druidry ,Tree lore , and nature rituals followed by a rendition of the Taliesin Myth.

Steven Cox

Steven has been involved in climate change and forestry since he joined MAF in 2007. Most recently he has been closely involved in the recent changes to the emissions trading scheme for forestry. Before this, Steven represented New Zealand at the international negotiations for biodiversity, climate change and forestry.

Emissions Trading for Forestry

Saturday 1pm Kōrero Tahi, Sunday 11.15am Kōrero Rua

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for forestry has recently been reformed to better match the Paris Agreement.

This presentation will explain the key concepts of the ETS for forestry, how ‘carbon credits’ can be gained, wider ETS changes which support forestry and how forestry can play a part in meeting addressing climate change.

There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.

Antoine Tane

Here at Kohu Hemp we are building with Hemp for a Regenerative Future. Developing and building Healthy Hemp Homes to support regeneration of our land while creating warm, dry toxic-free homes for our communities.

Building with Hemp for a Regenerative Future

Sunday 2.45pm Kōrero Rua

Antoine Tane, Founding Director of Kohu Hemp talks all things Hempcrete and why it’s the future of Sustainable Building.

Jerome Partington

Jerome is a regenerative development practitioner (systems thinking), a transformational green building creator and a professional educator. As Associate Principal + Sustainability Manager at Jasmax, and a leading advocate for Living Buildings, Declare + CORE in Aotearoa, Jerome brings his love of nature, life, buildings and people together in integrated process to address the existential challenges facing us in Aotearoa – helping us evolve our thinking so we can sustain ourselves, nature and our future.

Living Green Buildings + Regeneration – Our Challenge to Sustain Ourselves

Saturday 10.30am Kōrero Tahi

Deep Green and Living Buildings in Aotearoa have opened the door to living system regeneration – people and their ecosystems working together to sustain themselves. Jerome will share a couple of early exemplar projects and their impacts and then offer some interactive questions to stimulate ‘your whole systems thinking’ approach.

Debbie Pearson

Debbie is an engineer and herbalist by training, and a lover of all things of the earth at heart. She is the founder of Manuka Essence, which provides natural skincare and healing products, and runs educational workshops on anything that is fun, inspiring, and nurturing for the spirit.

Prior to moving to the beautiful community of Golden Bay, Debbie was a senior executive for over 15 years, where she held the role of Director Preclearance in Biosecurity NZ, and General Manager of Supply Chain Strategy, Fonterra.

Debbie has many years of programme and project management experience, spanning both the corporate, community and government sectors.

Currently, life is full of time with family and friends, time in nature and the joy of growing things, time to play with herbs and creams and natural healing, the fun of passing on accumulated wisdom and pro-bono work in the community.

Wayne Langford

Wayne is the National Dairy Vice Chair for Federated Farmers, also Golden Bay President and a DairyNZ Climate Change ambassador. Due to these off farm roles he’s significantly aware of the changing climate in the NZ dairy industry and is looking to front foot those challenges on their own property. Their philosophy is that “it’ll take a community to run a farm successfully.” Engaging, communicating and opening the farm gate to the public is the only way forward. Wayne has a social media platform called YOLOFarmer, with over 125,000 followers. This platform focus is challenging the norm, living life and opening farmers’ minds to the joys of farming. He has other governance roles within the community and is involved in numerous sports groups.

Farming 2030

Sunday 10am Kōrero Tahi

Farming 2030 harnesses the vision and knowledge of the community, working with the skill and expertise of farm owners Wayne and Tyler Langford, to develop practical sustainable farming practices. It promotes a shared understanding of how farming and environmental practices can sit side-by-side for the benefit of all.

This presentation will provide an update on the project, including progress with the mixed sward planting, highlights from the Permaculture Design for the farm, and tips from the Regenerative Farming workshops.

Erik Wardrop

Erik has been in the forestry industry most of his adult life as a contractor tree faller and firefighter. He is on the Living Wood Fair committee, an integral part of the team and host for the Forestry Forum (Sunday 12.30).

Silviculture: adding value to your trees

Saturday 1pm Kōrero Rua

A good forest starts with the right planning from ground preparation, choosing the tree species that best fit your needs and a sound plan of silviculture work to grow your trees to their full potential. Find out what you need to do to grow the best crop you can.

Don Graves

Mycorrhizal Fungi

Saturday 10am Kōrero Rua

This introductory talk about mycorrhizal fungi, soil bacteria and plants will provide a brief discussion about the ecological and economic implications to the health of plants and soils, by either encouraging or else discouraging the effectiveness of mutual nutrient exchanges between plant roots and their mycorrhizal symbionts. Ecological explanations will be provided regarding how soil management practices such as intensive tillage related soil disturbance, vegetation clearance, and or the use of industrial produced NPK nutrients and agrochemical pesticides may cause damage to the health of soils, plants and plant root zone microbiomes.

Community Discussion Yurt


  • 12pm Robina McCurdy – Community Forest Discussion
  • 2pm Hamish Randle – Milling Alternative Timbers Q & A


  • 11am ?? Do you want to discuss a community idea? Get in touch now:
  • 1pm GB Sustainability Strategy