23 Jan 2015

Quaker Acres

From Country Life, 9:31 pm on 23 January 2015

IMGQuaker Acres residents Lyneke Onderwater, Nick Pyle, Judith Robinson and Mandy Brooke in front of their lucerne plantings.

Residents of the Quaker Settlement in Whanganui aim to live lightly on the land and use permaculture practises on their eight hectares near Virginia Lake. A dam at the back of property now collects storm water from a nearby housing subdivision, giving valuable water for the Quakers' tree plantation, as well as filtering the remaining water before it flows to the Whanganui river. A solar array provides enough power for the Quakers' 40 person residential seminar centre, there's a harekeke plantation and beginnings of a food forest with fruit and nut trees.

There are 16 households on the 8 hectares and while the weekly communal meal is good for friendship, resident Judith Robinson says the glue that holds the settlers together is their worship time which starts with silence. If anyone feels called to speak, they can, but it's not pre-planned, and decisions about the running of the settlement have to be backed by all the residents.

Unstable sand dunes at the back of the property are now covered in native trees with protection for young plants coming from rapidly growing tree lucerne.