Country Life

Friday 27 February 2015, with Carol Stiles, Susan Murray, Cosmo Kentish-Barnes & Duncan Smith

Delhi Village

Delhi Feature Pic

Get a lawyer, journalist, mediator, artist and astronomer together and you may wonder what their common thread is. The answer may surprise; a composting loo, grey water waste collection system and ultra-fast fibre internet connection.

On the outskirts of Whanganui city a group of like-minded people have bought 12 hectares of rural land to develop an environmentally sustainable community. They all own their own homes, but the bulk of the land is shared and available for orchards, gardens, firewood trees, wetlands and stock. 

Richard Thompson and Laurel Stowell are some of the key drivers of the development.  “After 27 years of living as a typical family, we think now is a good time to live in a community setting with friends around us,” Laurel says.

Both are adamant they keep interests and their work life away from Delhi Village so they’re not living in each other’s pockets, but they enjoy the shared atmosphere.

Laurel and Richard have built a very eco-friendly house while others are moving old homes onto the land and slowly doing them up. Richard says it’s important that money doesn’t limit people from buying into the project. “It’s not a retirement home, we want young families to come and be part of the place as well.”

Handsome Huacaya

The Stracks with their top alpaca sire Valentino.

Huacaya alpaca breeders, Chris and Liz Strack have built up a large herd of the South American camelid at their Stoneleigh Alpaca stud in Ohoka, North Canterbury.

When they purchased the twenty acre lifestyle block ten years ago Liz says they looked at growing walnut and fruit trees and considered breeding cattle and sheep before deciding on alpaca.

"We thought alpaca would suit us the best as they're a fairly low maintenance animal, they don't require a huge amount of work and they're very good on the environment".

Their top sire Valentino is the only alpaca to win three national supreme championships at national level in Australasia.

Their primary focus is on breeding superior white alpacas to supply seed stock to the New Zealand and export market and to produce alpacas with superior fleeces.

Chris believes it could be a while before there are enough alpaca in New Zealand that can produce really good commercial fleeces for suits or baby clothing.

"I think we need a few more years to build up the numbers so an exceptional animal now will hopefully be an average animal in five years' time, that's when we'll hopefully have the numbers to do commercial orders".

Tractor Trek

Graham Murrell's driving a Massey Ferguson tractor from Whitanga to Bluff to raise money to support older people in his home town.

Regional Wrap

Northland's summer has been a cracker compared to last year's, and South Canterbury's Opuha Dam has dried up.

Tags:   farming rural