Category Archives: Blitz reports

Report on Permablitz # 2 – Turangi town house

Upwards of 25 people came to Turangi last sunday on what was a hot dry, and windy spring day. The site they came to work on was the front lawn of a typical hydro-house. This was one of many houses in the town moved on site for the Tongariro Power scheme in the 1960’s-70’s.

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The concept design for the site included the front lawn as a perennial food forest system – a great sustainable solution for a busy professional couple with little spare time. However, Turangi is renowned for poor and extremely free draining pumice soil and a cold climate. It snow occasionally in winter as the town is 340m above sea level.  However this north facing sloped front lawn is a ideal suntrap, the house gives it excellent shelter from the cold southerly winds.

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To alleviate water loss in the highly free draining soil, teams helped establish a combined Hugelkultur swale system. Stormwater from roof runoff was tapped into and piped to swales dug on contour above new berms. The berms were made from turf dug out of the swales and from trenches dug for wood which was buried under them. This waste wood was sourced locally from the fisherman’s track by the Tongariro river. There wayward gardeners had dumped pruning’s so these were put to good use.

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As the buried wood eventually rots, it will act like a sponge to absorb winter rains to sustain the fruit trees and food forest plants through the summer drought. Much of the food forest is planted with deciduous fruit to ensure the hosue isn’t shaded and particular care was taken in the design to ensure morning sun would still enter the main living space window.

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All involved had a great day with many young people new to permablitz having attended the day. The was a large international contingent of volunteers from Awhi farm and also staff from the Hillary Outdoor education center. It is hoped this event and local interest in the site will lead to further development of edible gardens at a Turangi Marae.

We are hoping to hold a massive multi-day permablitz someday to give back to the Turangi community, many of whom are the descendants of the visionary people that gifted NZ it’s first National Park. (Tongariro NP) Watch this space!

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Report on Permablitz #1

Turangi’s eagerly anticipated first permablitz got of to an exciting start! With a cool but sunny day forecast, a group of mostly strangers met for the first time at Boyd & Avis’ house. There were a contingent from Hillary Outdoors, and Awhi farm as wells as neighbours, locals and a cool dude Boyd met at the Tokaanu hotpools! Milo the fox terrier invited a few to play with him by presenting a tennis ball.
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We heard Boyd & Avis’ story as well as how permablitz came to be and what was the purpose of it all. Everyone seemed keen,  so after a quick run down of the plan and a few jobs, we broke into teams and proceeded to transform another garden into something more edible and functional!

The old concrete block edges came out in the blink of an eye and were re-positioned to make more garden bed space. Weeds were pulled and shrubs went flying! a Large pile of greenwaste was quickly attended by ladies on chairs who sat and chopped the woody stuff into smaller pieces.

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Liam built a new three-bin compost system whilst an old garden seat and pavers were ripped out to make yet more garden bed space.  The rear gardens had plenty of compost added, a free resource from the Turangi Dump! The locals call it black gold here. Many were interested to hear that this  ‘Black gold’ sells for up to $120 per m3 in larger towns. Here the council struggles to give it away!

Lunch was welcome ravenously as the day started to heat up. We had BBQ’d sausages, some great chicken soup and sandwiches. All loving prepared by Avis, Thanks Avis! A few of the senior neighbours went home, but their input was greatfully appreciated, they had chopped up a great big pile of woody waste for us!

After lunch, we stopped for a seed sowing workshop put on by Carolyn. After that a composting workshop was obligingly delivered by permablitz novice, but senior gardener – Geoff from across the road. The compost bins took the rest of the day to fill, but were done with gusto!

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After the workshops, everyone went back to work eagerly. The whole team  worked like a well oiled machine and the garden transformation was beginning to look really good. At the front of the property a few worked in isolation because of a dividing fence. They were soon a part of it all as the fence was cut open to make way for a new future gate!

A short stop for refreshments late afternoon, before a final push to the end meant we got it all done on time. Boyd and Avis spoke of how greatful they were as everyone sat round to have a drink together at our final debrief . A great day of good feelings, inspiration, friendship, teamwork and sharing!

We hope that we can blitz again in Turangi someday soon, but we need someone new who wants to be a host to put their hand up! Please contact us through permablitzcninz@gmail.com if you are keen!

Wasn’t it great to demonstrate that people are inherently good? Many thanks to all that came and thanks to Boyd & Avis for your good food and willingness to have a blitz at your place!

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Turangi permablitzers, a very colourful lot!