Our CSA is almost full, secure your spot now!
vagabond vege logo. Linocut vegetables in olive.

Meet the Vagabonds

ELLE FARR

I whakapapa to Scotland, Wales, Romania & Denmark. I grew up in Kaiwaka and Kirikiriroa, on mudflats, in creeks & finding fairies in tree holes. I love mossy forests, the whiley west coast, finding what makes people sparkle, late night groving (alongside Sask), film photography, sewing, using my hands and my voice and INSECTS (I never will be able to use words to explain enough my love for our small beings. Seriously.)

SHELDON LEVET

I grew up in Ahuriri (Napier) a costal town in the sunny Hawkes Bay - but my ancestors hail from Europe, mostly Ireland. A curious child (and adult) who was always tinkering with something in the shed, building rockets, learning something new and weird and biking around the suburban streets. The curiosity hasn’t left, I still love wondering about things, scheming new ideas late into the night and getting overly excited about the next project (usually without finishing the last one). I love low-land forest paths by rivers, piles of mulch, old bread, compost heaps… anywhere I might find some fungi!!!

SASKIA WANKLYN

I whakapapa to England, Scotland and Wales and grew up in Whakatū/Nelson. My ma is a meeeean gardener and we spent many days together making ei (flower garlands) while we lived in Rarotonga - so yes, growing vege and flowers is in my bones! I am a lover of toilet humour, big mountains, deep dank bush, a raging ocean, general witchery, running, gathering, loud bassy music and dancing late into the night.

Asset 6

LISE VAN LAERE

Kia ora/ Goeie morgen! I’m Belgian (speculoos baby), grew up in a small town near Brussels in Flanders, eating vegetables my grandad (still!) grows in his beautiful back yard garden. I did a degree in Slavic studies (Polish & Russian), and came to Aotearoa 4 years ago to study environmental policy. Here I met an amazing community and my partner, Sheldon. I’m an aspiring luthier (stringed instrument repairs), and have been an apprentice for the last two years 🎻 I love long tramps, night skies and autumn colours.

The Story of the Whenua

The history is far from complete, we will continue to update as we learn more. We would greatly appreciate any knowledge you would like to share.

This land is in the rohe (area) of Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitāne o Wairarapa.

By 1600, Rangitāne and then Ngāti Kahungunu had settled in the Wairarapa. Although periods of conflict saw disputes between the two iwi and surrounding iwi groups, on the whole, they have coexisted peacefully in the region.

We are grateful to both iwi for the resources they have provided on their websites, which has allowed us to begin our journey. We intend to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the work that we do.

Te Hupenui is one of the old names of the area near where the town known as Greytown is located today. Greytown was established after land was said to have been bought by the Small Farms Association with the support of Governor George Grey in 1853. The Small Farms Association was formed in 1853 as the demand from working class settlers for farming land grew.

The land we are working with today lies just west of Te Hupenui and was part of a large farming lot known as ‘Riverside Estate’ resting on old river terraces of the Waiohine river, below the Tararua Ranges.

The cottage as it was around 1900, with sheep grazing in fields which is now the driveway. Credit: Montgomerie Family. The cottage as it was around 1900, with sheep grazing in fields which is now the driveway. Credit: Montgomerie Family.

Riverside Estate was owned by Pierce Cotter – this included ‘Cotterville’ which was established to house farm workers (today this is Cotter & Pierce Streets, Greytown). It also includes the land to the west towards Woodside and south towards Tauherenikau and Moroa. Along with shearing sheep, the story goes that the woolshed on the property once was working as a flax mill, used by the Cotter's who unsuccessfully attempted to grow and mill flax on the land.

The Montgomerie boy's (Roy, Ted and Tom) in their scout uniforms. In the background is Adam Montgomerie and the cottage. Circa 1912. Credit: Montgomerie Family. The Montgomerie boy's (Roy, Ted and Tom) in their scout uniforms. In the background is Adam Montgomerie and the cottage. Circa 1912. Credit: Montgomerie Family.

After early subdivision of this land, the Montgomerie family purchased 172 acres which included the land we call home today. Harold Montgomerie was very passionate about the native trees on the property and the family ensured that various areas of native bush were protected by covenants with the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust prior to the land being sold in the 1990s.

Neil and Greg Montgomerie-Crowe continue to live in the area and we are very grateful for the information they have shared with us on their ancestors and the history of this land.

The land we farm today is a seven acre plot remaining from the subdivision of Riverside Estate. It holds the original farm cottage in which we live, the stables and the woolshed that date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Finally, the land was purchased in September 2014 by Justin Connor who’s keen to see a forever food place where people feel grounded, connected and inspired about the future. We are grateful for Justin for walking along side us as our friend and land owner.

Nestled between small groves of Tōtara, Pine and Eucalyptus, this stretch of land was once a braided riverbed. In the process of preparing the soil to form garden beds, we are removing tonnes of river stones from the top soil. We do this with the intention of honouring the history and ancestors of this land by helping it flourish into the future.