New Farm Campus
Help create a unique farm-based Steiner School.
We are an established Steiner School building a new farm campus so our students will have a nature-based learning environment. Our 13.6 hectare farm offers gardens, orchards, fields, animals, nature areas, trees, a lake and wetland. Construction of the new school buildings started in January 2020. We plan to relocate to the new farm campus at the start of 2021.
We are creating an educational farm as an exemplar of restorative land management. Biodynamics treats the farm as a living organism to be honoured and nurtured. The students and farmers who work the land are then rewarded with healthy organic food.
The farm is a mixture of rolling hills, flat pasture, shelter trees, gardens, fruit trees, streams, and a lake. It has a long history of sheep grazing and fruit production which have resulted in low biodiversity and low fertility. We have begun the slow process of restoring biodiversity and fertility. We do not use pesticides, herbicides or petrochemical fertilizers, and our management practices increase soil fertility and biodiversity. All organic waste is composted and returned to the land.
The new farm campus will be unique in New Zealand with its restorative approach to farming and buildings that create positive social and environmental benefits. Students and families will be involved in these activities through the school curriculum and community support.
Honouring the land and restoring nature are core values for us. We are guardians of this land together with the manawhenua iwi, Ngāti Rārua
and Te Ātiawa. Together we are committed to protecting the mauri (life force) and wairua (spirit) of this land and water. Twenty per cent of the farm is being set aside as nature areas, including a one-hectare spring-fed gully that is being replanted in native trees. One day this will be a small forest with a stream and ponds. Steeper slopes are also being planted with native trees and a wetland will be restored.
We are encouraging low impact transport by building a cycle trail that connects the farm to existing cycle trails. It will be possible to cycle off-road the 4 km from Motueka township to the farm.
All our farm water needs come from our lake, spring and well. Rainwater will be collected from buildings and used in the school. Wastewater will be treated and used onsite.
We plan to use grid-tied solar electric power as this is the lowest impact and most socially responsible option in New Zealand. Grid electric power in New Zealand is 80% renewable energy. During school holidays our solar power will be fed back into the grid. Rather than invest in our own batteries, that are energy-intensive to manufacture, we prefer to pay for a grid connection because a cost-effective electric power grid is a social and environmental good for all New Zealanders.
The local climate is notable for high sunshine hours, long summers and mild winters. Buildings have been designed to maximise the solar advantage and natural ventilation. Outdoor classrooms will be places of beauty and inspiration.
We are building timber framed and timber clad buildings. We will minimise toxic materials such as CCA treated timber. The development aims to be nett carbon positive and lock up more carbon than was released during construction and running. Materials with high embodied energy, such as concrete and steel, will be minimised. We hope to find funding to document this aspect of the project.
Friends of Motueka Steiner
Friends of Motueka Steiner are wonderful people who are making it happen by contributing time, money and skills. Friends are part of the school community and receive updates and invitations to festivals and events. Join Friends now.