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Living Wood Fair

Living Wood Fair poster 2019
13 Apr 2019 to 14 Apr 2019
9am to 6pm Saturday 13th April & Sunday 14th April
An amazing weekend of fun for people of all ages, as well as a place to learn new skills and establish connections with others.
Event type: 
Craft, Cultural, Workshop/Seminar
$15 / day
Fairholme Gallery
637 East Takaka Rd, Golden Bay
Nelson / Tasman


Living Wood Fair is an amazing weekend of fun for people of all ages, as well as a place to learn new skills and establish connections with others. Set in a stunning location in East Takaka, Golden Bay, the event includes demonstrations, workshops, presentations, displays, kids’ activities, music, a lively market, food stalls and a natural building area...an abundant sharing of creativity and knowledge.

This unique community event focuses on four main wood related categories:

  • All aspects of growing trees and turning them into timber;

  • Environmental sustainability, care and protection;

  • Creative arts, wood and bush crafts;

  • Natural shelters and homes.

The Workshop Zone hosts indoor and outdoor creative workshops; inspiring and informative presentations and panel discussions take place in the Te Uru Rakau Korero Zone.  Artworks are displayed throughout Totara Whenua and in the historical homestead across the road, Fairholme Gallery.

The fair strengthens community by connecting individuals and stakeholder organisations with shared interests who may not otherwise meet. This provides space for people to discuss their concerns, their environmental and social challenges and generate solutions together.

In addition to all the great things you can expect from the Living Wood Fair, this year there is a greater focus on natural building, looking at: Different timber qualities and uses; natural building techniques; efficient home design; sustainable building options and components; tiny homes; how to use less chemicals in construction and how this all fits within the Building Code.

Living Wood Fair will bring together growers, foresters, millers, carpenters, builders and architects to understand the qualities and uses of different native and exotic timbers in construction and aims to encourage growers to expand their diversity of trees.

Among the workshops are:

Rekindle - a Christchurch-based organisation that provides opportunities for resourcefulness by promoting the skills and knowledge involved in creating what we need from what we have.  Their focus is on transforming undervalued local resources through care and craft. Rekindle will bring workshops to the Living Wood Fair that feature spoon-carving and stool-making. And their team will demonstrate working with pole lathe, peg and rake making and tī kōuka weaving.

Pat Baker – Blacksmith. Co founder, with wife Tatiana, of Hell’s Kitchen forges. The pair have run this for 20 years, specialising in designing and manufacturing functional sculptures and unique, edgy furniture using traditional techniques. With examples of his work on display, Pat will undertake various demonstrations of traditional forging and provide courses for adults and children (accompanied by adults) forging simple woodworking tools and accessories (like hooks, nails and similar). Pat recently won First Prize in the local Bay Art exhibition.

John Massey has observed herbs/plants/weeds for over 40 years and will be leading two plant/weed walks. “I love to share anything I can about plants,” he says. “This is all about exploring the wild plants of the venue and talking about the myriad aspects/ values/ qualities of those plants so that the participants may just have more appreciation and understanding of the plant world.”

Shoe School from Wellington are offering an amazing workshop teaching sneaker-making. There is no specialised equipment involved and you'll be wearing a pair of shoes - of your own creation - in just one day! All materials are included and beginners are more than welcome. (This workshop has only limited spaces available.) Shoemaker Lou Clifton, who trained in Japan and Australia, says: “We believe hand skills are an essential part of our human experience. Making a pair of shoes can be transformative! We are excited to be traveling from Wellington to be part of the LWF and to share our shoemaking craft amongst inspiring makers.”

Kerry Mulligan, a member of Earth Building Association of New Zealand (EBANZ), has worked with earth as a building material for 14 years and loves running workshops to share this craft: “Earth, being a locally sourced, low processed and tactile material really speaks to our inherent humanness and I relish seeing the joy people get from working and learning about it”.

Other workshops include Henry Dixon - Family spoon carving, Sol Morgan - Fruit tree pruning; Max Strumia - Saw Sharpening and host Graeme Scott on Timber framing.

Speakers include Philip Simpson, on research for his book, Down the Bay featuring Abel Tasman National Park. A former DOC worker and ecological consultant, Philip has researched and written books on the natural and cultural history of iconic New Zealand trees such as totara. “I wish to support the rediscovery of knowledge, skills and materials that created New Zealand culture in the first place, both Maori and Pakeha,” he says. “These will become increasingly important in future as global resources shrink.”

Jerome Partington, Chair of Living Future NZ and Sustainability Manager at Jasmax, aims to build consensus and purpose through education, sharing and inspiration to help effect deep changes in relationships between people and nature, to encourage the transformation of our industry and to be a creator of ‘health’ so we can continue to live on this beautiful planet for generations. Jerome’s 25 years of professional practice includes projects such as The Living Building Challenge in Aotearoa, helping create Tuhoe iwi’s Te Kura Whare, the first Certified ‘Living’ Building outside of the USA and the ‘Breathe’ Living Village design. He will offer presentations about the Living Building Challenge as a gateway to living regeneration and about pathways to healthy materials and healthy people. (Jerome’s airfares are kindly sponsored by Abodo).

Additional talks include Sol Morgan on Managing ecosystems; architect Mathew Hay discussing good examples of environmentally-conscious design on a tight budget and where energy efficient principles are the main priority; David Evison will be discussing the history of planted forests in New Zealand, the end uses of radiata pine and other timber species, as well as public perceptions of planted forests; Graeme Mould, owner and manager Natural Log Homes and vice president of Log Builders Association of New Zealand, will give a presentation about the construction of log homes and Robina McCurdy from Tui Community and Earthcare Education Aotearoa is sharing her experience of building an earth round house using local timbers and on-site clay, the building consent process and becoming the first permitted reciprocating roof building.  

Living Wood Fair has a dynamic marketplace with stalls that offer delicious food, beautiful wood-related products and information, like the Centre for Fine Woodworking, Kiwi Conservation Club and Sustainable Living Centre.  There is plenty to do for children, they can connect with the wildling within at the Bushcraft Area where they learn basic adventure skills, participate in the story telling zone or try out some acrobatic activities. Local musicians and DJ’s will grace the live stage.

Organisers Graeme and Liv Scott were thrilled with the event’s debut last year:  “It attracted 750 happy punters, some travelling from as far as Dunedin and Rotorua to attend, demonstrate or teach their trade. It was a fun, fantastic, educational, inspiring, community-building, solutions-based hui.  We can’t wait to see what this year will bring,” says Liv.

The Living Wood Fair is grateful for support from Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand), Tasman District Council special grants, Nelson Building Society and Golden Bay Community Fund as well as many other local organisations that value what the event brings to the community and the region. Families, lifestyle and forestry block owners, farmers, woodworkers and millers, self-builders and tiny home enthusiasts, forestry advocates, environmentalists, and business and industry specialists will all find something of interest and are invited to take a seat among other diverse people around the table for a korero.

Last year’s testimonials include:

I can confirm that this is an event with huge potential as it provides a unique opportunity for participation in practical wood craft in New Zealand. The culture and context of this event are deeply rooted in the history of trees in NZ, and in building this as a sustainable relationship to move forward with.’ Juliet Arnott, Director of Rekindle, workshop tutor.

The event presented as professionally organised and very well attended. The Forestry Forum, for which I was a speaker, provided an excellent platform for thought and robust discussion. This was indeed a great way to extend and socialise the potential for use of wood across many areas of our lives. The Living Wood Fair is a great concept and an excellent draw card for the region,’ Damien O’Conor, Local MP for Tasman District.

Having Damien [O’Connor MP] on the [Forestry Forum] panel with Kit Richards was fantastic!’ Don Carson, Forest Owners Association.

Please check out our Facebook page, the 2018 Event page for fabulous pictures of the event and information about the content of the program and the 2019 event page to see how the fair is unfolding this year:





Written by

Sian Clement

28 Feb 2019