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  • Writer's pictureVanessa King

Earthskin August 2021 Re-Nesting

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Earthskin is now freshly homed on the edge of Warkworth township, north of Auckland, after leaving our precious magical and deeply spiritual space of Earthskin Muriwai. The soils of our new whenua are replenished by the river waters of the Kaipara Harbour, one of the largest harbours in the world, covering 947 square kilometers at high tide.

Nestled in a valley, sitting to the sun, we have two heavenly acres of heritage fruit trees, gardens and an old farmhouse, connecting into a love and nature-filled eco-built earth house, plus numerous small mud brick dwellings, including an old barn. Here they are being interviewed in the house in 2015:

The Earthskin Trust consists of myself and family who are passionately wired to intentionally designing and activating our part as “Creative Spacemakers”, stewarding the active verb, “regenerare’. The latin etymology reveals the depth of this concept as “an act of regenerating or producing anew”, “a being born again”. We now have greater capacity for sharing skills and enjoying the innate wildness and beauty of land in edge environments in which we concentrate community energy and bring to life the full essence of regeneration.

We are so blessed to have the Waygood Foundation at Piha and newly acquired Earthskin Warkworth with an amazing abundance of living ingredients to feed our bodies and senses from our Permaculture designed organic food gardens and heritage fruit tree orchards, supporting community food resilience, for humans... and the entire food web.

With the gently blended addition of creative community spaces, we have a widened use of our environment as a gathering place of belonging. Places to educate, experiment and engage in our distinctive communities - to be inspired, upskilled and self-empowered by learning from and with passionate people that will ignite our sense of purpose and develop our practical and creative skills.

These understandings provide space for inner listening to the wisdom of the land, our ancestors and trusting ourselves through our hands-on learning and encouraging engagement with others. It fosters a willingness to take action that spreads a state of hope and excitement with others to collaboratively unleash the infinite possibilities we have at this point of time to create a collective ‘re-story’ and thriving future earth.

Earthskin Warkworth now eagerly awaits the renovation with our adaptive “reuse project” to transform our old barn into a local model of community support by creating a beautiful space that is also energy efficient! We will start with a workshop in early summer to prepare an earthen floor so we are ready to accommodate further courses and residencies in the coming years.

Until work is completed, we have no confirmed space for Artist Residencies over the coming year, as we have had in Muriwai previously, but short courses will be possible and two New Zealand Residencies will be available at Piha next year.

We are now also developing the possibilities of an Inner City Art Making Space in the heritage area where my father Les Harvey saved old buildings to become Parnell Village. Art making is proven to animate and rejuvenate local business and brings special people to inspire and be inspired. They shape the physical and unique social character of neighbourhoods to offer more adaptive ways of seeing, understanding and experiencing, so

we transform where and how we live, work and dream.

Together we are collectively underway with what my dad's friend Buckminster Fuller expounded, “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete,” and let's have so much fun that everyone wants to join in!

While the current Earthskin property was being acquired, and I was transitioning from my house in Parnell and Muriwai, amazing helpers and organisers were at hand (Thank you Erica and Lyn!). During this period, I have been practicing the art of ata, the art of a peaceful pause, as such there has been time to gently re-examine what is important at this point in time.

We are so lucky to share in New Zealand resources such as that of Te Maramataka, a Maori tradition of following a living calendar informed by phases of the moon, connecting us to the natural cycles not just for planting and harvesting, but also for keeping balance in our lives and mahi (work).

We are living under the western model that only allows us to rest on the weekends rather than monitoring our energy levels and allowing time to be, so we can achieve more together. This makes me more aware of what Earthskin is also offering: time to retreat and restore the spirit.

While we have been in hibernation, snuggled by the fire, my daughter Vanessa, who is also an Earthskin Trustee, has been by my side on a creative journey of redesigning our website, and gathering in the Earthskin circle. This includes the Charitable Trusts that we work with, as well as other people willing to be part of re-inventing and fostering better decision making and alignment of purpose as Earthskin evolves with growing community abundance.

And to mention Te Moata at last.... Earthskin awarded five PDC Scholarships and at Earthskin Warkworth we are delighted to have two recipients, Christian and Soňa, who have settled in for winter to help me in the gardens and extend their post-PDC learning. We now boast the most exciting composting systems, the happiest chooks, and the most well-fed and cared for elder I can imagine!

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