Home' Whangarei Leader : November 16th 2010 Contents 10 WHANGAREI LEADER, NOVEMBER 16, 2010
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Family labour of love
Bees knees: Tending to the bees is something European-born youngsters
Raphael, 11, left, and Lucien, 7, enjoy with their grandfather John Craig.
Photo: NZ LIFE & LEISURE
Beach and farm: Anne and Lucien enjoy a horseride at the nearby water's
NZ Life & Leisure magazine/Simon Young
An ambitious family project is
turning a block of farmland into a
conservation and eco-tourism
Whangarei s Tahi estate near
Pataua North was once a run-
down coastal cattle farm on a
winding dead-end road.
But after six years of sweat and
science, and the planting of more
than 170,000 trees, the Craig fam-
ily have evolved it into a
It sports walkways through
regenerating bush, wetlands dot-
ted with endangered birds and
has been listed as one of nine
hand-picked sustainable global
destinations by Germany s Zeitz
The venture started with Suzan
Craig who now lives near Geneva
with husband Marco Dunand, who
co-founded one of the world s
largest independent energy-
trading companies, and their
three European-born sons.
Determined that her children
form strong Kiwi ties, she enlisted
the help of her father John Craig
and his wife Anne to create a
sustainable place for them to visit
I want them to just love it
here, Suzan says. I want them to
have a real feel of the beach
holidays I ve given up on the other
side of the world. And I think this
project has been a way for them to
really get to know their grand-
Suzan is a former surf lifesaver
who grew up with her dad s
beehives and pet pukeko, family
trips to the Wahi beach bach
interspersed with camping trips to
Tiritiri Matangi, the island bird
sanctuary John helped create in
the Hauraki Gulf.
Suzan is adamant Tahi could
not have taken off without her
father and Anne s vast knowledge
John s credentials include
researcher, international speaker
and Auckland University pro-
fessor while Anne has four
degrees covering animal behav-
iour, horticulture, a masters in
business and a doctorate in bot-
any. The couple sold their Auck-
land home to become managers
and minority owners.
At this stage the restoration
work on Tahi is partially subsided
by guests -- most from overseas --
who pay $500 a night to stay in
one of two renovated farmhouses.
More tourist accommodation is
planned, as is a carbon-credit
scheme and the export of manuka
Anne is breeding performance
warm-blood Palomino horses on
site while John is helping neigh-
bouring farmers with pest control
and conservation projects of their
The aim is for Tahi to pay its
own way and the family envisage
on-site activities will cover daily
running costs within two years.
John says he and Anne view
Tahi s development as a dream
undertaking, a practical embodi-
ment of their lives ideas and
experiences, shared with encour-
Anne and I think we are
extremely privileged people who
live in paradise, he says.
But Tahi is much more than
this. It represents a confluence of
values and core beliefs, a
turangawaewae, a coming home.
-- Extracted from a
story by Sue Hoffart
Tahi estate features in
the latest issue of NZ
Life & Leisure.
Leader has five copies
of the award-winning
magazine to give away.
Simply send your
name, address and
daytime phone number
@snl.co.nz with Life &
Leisure in the subject
line or post your details
to Life & Leisure
Whangarei Leader, PO
Box 433, Whangarei.
Entries close Monday,
Schools get close to nature
Whangarei students and teach-
ers are getting their hands dirty
today making garden habitats
for geckos, papermaking and
studying worm farming.
They are attending the first of
two new Enviroschools expos
which involve experts on a range
of environmental initiatives.
They will be sharing their know-
ledge with more than 160 North-
land students and teachers.
Today s is at Kamo Primary
School and will be followed by
another at Kerikeri s Riverview
School on Thursday.
The expos are aimed at North-
land participants in the popular
Enviroschools programme, a
whole-school approach to en-
The programme encourages
student-driven action based on
sustainable management of
resources across all areas of
school life. Since 2003 more than
40 schools have joined in North-
They are hands-on events
aiming to generate enthusiasm,
sharing and motivation, Expo
organiser and Northland Reg-
ional Council Enviroschools
facilitator Teresa Rudgley says.
Go to the regional council's
to view the Enviroschools
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