It was during a holistic festival, that a call was made to “live like this”, in community. Interested people formed a discussion group, to thresh out ideas. During one of the meetings the challenge was put forward to “start walking the talk” and start living together, tomorrow! Thus the “Monday group” was formed, these people lived together in and around a rented house, in a rural setting. Exploring ways of sharing and caring, looking for land to purchase. Eventually growing to 10 ‘households’ most with small children.
Eventually land was found in WainuiBay, Golden Bay. A 52 hectare farm bordering the AbelTasmanNational Park. The land was purchased by the Tui Land Trust, funds were raised by residents putting “into the hat” what they could afford and what “felt right”, this averaged out at about $7,000.00 per person. This was on a pure donation basis, a good 60% of the price was raised like that, the rest borrowed from the local bank as a 5 year mortgage.
In the deep of the night a caravan of housebusses, housetrucks and caravans drove over the Takaka hill to arrive at first light at WainuiBay. You can imagine the neighbouring farmer had a bit of a surprise, when he saw that drive past, during his early milking session.
The Local Counsel was approached, with an application for multiple occupancy permit, using the provision in the GoldenBay’s CountyCounsel’s by-laws clause, that provided for “commune status”. Permission was granted, to live on the land with up to 60 permanent residents, build 15 houses and 5 sleep outs and have a community centre.
The existing Farmhouse had a substantial dining room added, to function as a community centre. Shared meals were cooked daily, a kindergarten and communal vege garden started. Homes and other infrastructure were built.
Growing the Vision
After a good 15 years on the land, there was a growing dissatisfaction with the objectives of the Tui Land Trust. We were advised that it was easier to form a new trust, than to change the objectives. So we formed the Tui Spiritual and Educational Trust, with objectives that were more in line with the visions and aspirations of the residents and what was happening, and transferred the assets to it.