Ngahere Hou

Our vision was to create a place of inspiration, restoration and reflection. To live lightly on the land according to permaculture values and with the intention over time to return the land to its natural forested state, hence its name ‘Ngahere Hou’ – ‘New Forest’. It is a place of restoration, contemplation and reconnection to the land.

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My wife Kate and I bought the 40acre (16 hectare) hillside of farmland in the Kenepuru Sound in 1999. The land is within an area designated on the Marlborough Sounds District Plan as “an area of outstanding Landscape”. On the bare land we have built a couple of small cabins and a 6 metre yurt and planted countless native trees. We collect our own water and use a composting toilet etc. Living entirely off the grid with solar powered electricity we share our paradise with an incredibly rich bio diversity. We’ve found its been relatively easy to live comfortably but simply and still feel a very real connection to the earth, the tides and stars available in such a remote location.

In early 2017 we sold our house in Wellington and moved to the Kenepuru with the intention of building a sustainable eco house in a series of six pods joined to form an arc around the ridge. To keep our close contact with the environment and fit into the landscape. Designed by renowned architect Hugh Tennant and built by David Kepes, the house won the Nelson/Marlborough innovative Architectural design award in 2018. You can see the process as it unfolded on TV3 as the Grand Designs NZ team recorded our journey! It’s Series 4 episode 8 “The Pod House”.

Now that we have our house we have turned the Yurt and Summerhouses into Ngahere Hou Glam Camping so you can come and stay Glam camping style and enjoy the natural peacefulness that is present here. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and pleasure to share our paradise with guests from around the world!

glam camping yurt
Glam camping Summerhouse
Glam Camping kitchen Summerhouse

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In 2004 we placed 14 hectares into a Queen Elizabeth II National Trust open space covenant. This effectively means it will be preserved in perpetuity as a private reserve regardless of any changes in ownership, and it has recently been given ‘Significant Natural Area’ status by the District Council. We’ve had to fence out the wild pigs and deer, and we have a possum trapping pest control program. With our ongoing tree planting, and now the “Trees for Travel” carbon offset scheme in place, the forest is returning and with it the wildlife. You can watch a short video about “Trees for Travel” here.

It is intensely satisfying to live so closely within the natural environment and to share our special place with friends and visitors. To slow down and to really connect with the rhythm of the moon and tides, the songs of the birds and the peaceful stillness.

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On the land thats not part of the covenant we grow lavender and olives. We’re not certified organic but by imitating the natural processes as much as possible and harvesting by hand we have been able to work without chemicals. The Sounds are famous for their green lipped mussels and we use the mussel shells as mulch around the lavender and olives. We have a beekeeper collecting the highly sought after Manuka Honey.
Our olive oil is from the Tuscan varieties; frantoio, pendolino and minerva. Its delicious and very peppery when fresh, mellowing out over time.
In 2010 we were awarded a gold medal for our Lavender oil by the NZ Lavender Growers Association.

Lavender oil: Angustifolia ‘Pacific Blue’, 10ml bottles – AVAILABLE nz$15
Olive oil: blend of Tuscan varieties – Frantoio, Pendolino and Minerva, 300ml ($18) and 500ml ($25) bottles
if you’d like to purchase some of our Lavender or Olive oil please use the form below, thanks

11 thoughts on “Ngahere Hou

  1. Hi Ian. I love your work with light! I wonder if you’ve ever painted the source of light? I’d be interested in a piece like that.

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    1. Hi Peter
      I have a couple of times, a piece called ‘Matariki’ – the first light of the new year, and another called “Turning in the Light” which references the fingers of God & Man from the Sistine Chapel. I think they’re both on my site. If you cant find them I can send you an image. Cheers Ian

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  2. Wow. This is an incredible endeavor, Ian and I am fascinated by what you have created. What a magical spot to make a home. New Zealand was one of my favorite places to visit with its natural beauty and fantastic people. I hope your family and your property continue to thrive. Cheers!

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  3. The Lavender oil is the real McCoy and smells divine! It has so many uses too, we sprinkle some in the hot tub, use it as an antiseptic wound care, or just a couple of drops on your pillow at night to help you sleep! 🙂

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      1. I bet! It’s like a dream To me so nice to see! Since I had no idea there was such a place makes me realize just how much I don’t know! Always happy to learn! Especially about the lavender! 😄

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