- Forest Garden
- Food Forest
- NZ Native Garden
- Vegetable Garden
The first thing that strikes you on a visit to Hakea is that this is a garden borne out of community, shared vision, hard work and a deep love of nature.
‘Head gardeners’ Merve and Dan have lived at Hakea for four years, realising a long-held dream to live off the land and have a positive impact on the whenua.
“We have a vision of creating a space for transformation, sharing knowledge and celebration.
Together, given the chance, we feel we can create a positive change for future generations. “
Merve describes the gardens here as “somewhere between forest garden and wild gardens.”
On their 40 hectare property they have integrated fruit trees, natives and vegetable gardens – alongside the goats, sheep, chickens, bunnies and bees.
Their latest project, a one acre food forest, is less than a year old but features over thirty types of fruit trees, native trees and shrubs, support trees, herbs, flowers and berries. The long-term goal is to establish seven layers of diverse food forest.
As well as providing food and medicine for those who tend this special piece of land, carbon crops are grown to make high-carbon compost, to feed and regenerate the soil.
The name Hakea translates as ‘seek’… and there is certainly much to be found and learnt here. As well as guided garden visits, look out for future workshops on sustainable gardening, Maramataka (an ancient system that aligns daily activities with the natural world, moon, sun, stars and planets), forest therapy, beekeeping, appropriate technology, off-grid living systems, creating food forests, foraging, native plants and rongoā (the traditional healing system of Maori).
Merve (pronounced Mar-Veh), grew up in a food-forest in the Black Sea region of Turkey.
Her early years in a small ‘eco village’ community in the mountains sound nothing short of idyllic - climbing fruit trees and vines with the other children, foraging fruit, berries and mushrooms from the forest which was their playground.
Having grown up in that environment, much of her foundation knowledge is instinctive “I can’t remember being told you can eat that herb or whatever, you just knew it”.
A scientist by trade, Merve has studied Molecular Biology and Genetics which gives her deep understanding of soil and plant biology, nature’s building blocks and systems. She has a Permaculture Design Certificate and a wide knowledge of herbs, herbal medicine, organic gardening and food forest design.
Merve also has a Kai Oranga Certificate under Hua Parakore principles, through which she has gained an understanding of indigenous knowledge of land - how traditional Maori interacted with the whenua and used its resources.
Merve is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience to create positive change.
I believe the tools of gardening bring us back to nature - to restore our relationship with ourselves and those around us.
Loved this permaculture site visit! This permaculture beginner learnt heaps and gained inspiration as well as confirmation my own fledgling food forest is on track. Merve was really kind and welcoming, full of information and passion and was great with my never ending stream of questions! A really special place :)- Gina
Merve was a great host that showed her passion for growing and sharing with others. I look forward to visiting Hakea again to see how the different gardens have established and share notes on how I’ve used knowledge Merve shared and learning experiences. Highly recommend.- Dawn
Merve was the most amazing host - we loved our time with her and learnt so much! Her garden is beautiful and inspiring. Highly recommend a visit!- Anna