Building a People’s Agenda for Aotearoa

ActionStation are organising thousands of New Zealanders to come together for conversations about the future of Aotearoa over kai (food).

This process might work for the UK for a vision we need to build as an alternative to walking off the Brexit cliff?

We believe in working together to create what we cannot achieve alone: a society, economy and democracy that works for all of us – everyday people and the planet we love.

ActionStation is a place for people of all backgrounds to come together independent of party politics and the other labels that divide us. We’re excited to invite you to take a seat at the table for a conversation about our shared future.

From June – September, thousands of New Zealanders will gather together for Kai & Kōrero events. Over food we’ll discuss some of the big questions and dive deep into the dreams, aspirations and challenges facing New Zealand.

You can host a Kai & Kōrero with friends and whānau, or you can host a Kai & Kōrero with strangers and acquaintances – it’s totally up to you!

We believe meaningful conversation over food can spark real and lasting change. As much as possible, we’re encouraging people to come together over dinner, but your Kai & Kōrero event could be as a simple as a cup of tea and a biscuit, or hot chips and a beer in a pub.

If you don’t want to cook, but you still want to host, you can also organise for your Kai & Kōrero meal to be held at your favourite café, restaurant or pub. You can host it in your workplace over a morning tea, or as part of a Church or marae group gathering.

While food is a critical element in making people feel comfortable, it’s the conversation that matters most.

After your Kai & Kōrero event, we will gather the insights from these conversations with a quick post-event survey of all attendees. This will form the basis for to create a People’s Agenda for Aotearoa, combining our shared values and vision for this country with clear policies and actions that will get us there.

Kai and Korero Process:

Host guide : ActionStation:



Parihaka, New Zealand: Celebrating Nonviolence on November 5th, not Guy Fawkes!

20171009_202214On  October 10th  I demonstrated with many others at Wellington NZ’z West Pac, ‘Cake Tin’  stadium against a big Arms Fair, meeting a Maori gardener from Parihaka village, where in 1881 villagers used nonviolent resistance against soldiers imposing a land grab. Coincidentally, I’d also met Doris Zuur who had given me a delicious wholemeal loaf of  bread, who told me how the Parihaka villagers had greeted the soldiers with gifts of 500 loaves, and the children had given flowers. She wanted to create an alternative 5 November Festival.
Doris said that the inspiration for Parihaka came mostly from those two sources
and it resulted in our “Bread baking festival of Sharing”, see here

Her current main project is to ponder over holistic adult education, as an individual self created/self responsible life long learning journey that is well supported in community, as describe here:

Toru Education is all very small and simple, see and she likes it that way. If there is a way that it wants to grow in a truly sustainable way, she will let it grow and if it wants to stay small and simple, that is also fine with her.
A green shoot from New Zealand!

For the Love Of Bees: Auckland

Sarah Smuts Kennedy, an inspiring social artist, introduced me at a breathtaking pace to the ‘For The Love of Bees’, a bee social sculptural project that is animating bee life in Auckland. We went to the Bee School at the historic Campbell Free kindergarten at Victoria Park. This is a carbon reducing, biological and community art project to strengthen inner city living conditions for humans and our long suffering bee population.

ART BUZZ: Art buzz: Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and Taarati Taiaroa.

Sarah Smuts Kennedy and Taarati Taiaroa

For The Love Of Bees is a living social sculpture that imagines Auckland as the safest city in the world for bees. Our project offers opportunities for businesses, students, individuals, schools, community gardens, brand partners and beekeepers to collaborate and produce a vision that will live on through the city of Auckland for years to come. By working in collaboration with Auckland Council Parks and Activate Auckland we are creating an ecosystem that supports thriving beehive colonies by introducing hives and focusing on the quality and quantity of flowers throughout our city. Sarah animated a wide-ranging conversation, inviting a young teenage beekeeper along to teach children about bees, talking about the developing OMG partnership with  CRL over leasing a ‘waste’ lot for a bee garden, education and organic pocket park, explaining the biodynamic peppering approach to deterring slugs and snails-and more included . Questions explored the scarcity of organic and biodynamic produce in NZ, how NZ communal land needed re-imagining, ‘some land is never owned’.;land access for gardening, allotments and community gardens and Maori views of the very notion of ‘ownership’ being, or custodianship better?How to introduce more profound biological knowledge? How to rebuild models  of collaborative action, and support others initiatives, but in a linked up way.

Commoning – perspectives on conviviality – Farm Hack

Beyond Market and State: Commoning

George Monbiot’s article, Dont let the Rich get even Richer on the assets we all share  is a welcome  article introducing the Commons- a resource such as land, water , air or minerals, research, software; secondly a community of people who have shared or equal rights to this resource, and organise themselves to manage it; third the rules, systems and agreements they develop  to sustain and allocate the benefits.


New Zealand Lecture/Research Tour: 27 Sept – 22 October : Commonweal

How the minnows repelled a shark, by Ken Sprague

What a privilege to be invited  on a learning, research and lecture trip to New Zealand by Carolyn Hughes and friends. I am  looking forward to learning exchanges and conversations with  people and projects, as my impression of New Zealand  is that there are very many positive things going on, like Lumio and coopocracy to start with! Here is the itinerary FYI.:

Auckland: Monday 2nd October: 7.30pm- 9pm.

 “Great Oaks from Little Acorns Grow: How the UK Biodynamic Land Trust provides affordable farmland access to young farmers.”                                                                                                                                      Venue: Rudolf Steiner House, 104 Michaels Avenue, Ellerslie, Auckland

Tuesday 3rd October: 7.30-9pm. “Co-creating the Social Future: working towards Common Wealth.”  Rudolf Steiner House, 104 Michaels Avenue, Ellerslie, Auckland

Otane, Hawkes Bay: Wednesday 4th October: 6pm shared dinner (bring a plate). 7.30-9.00pm: “Farming for Life”: Regenerative farming and making farmland accessible for new entrant farmers.

Greg Hart, Mangarara Station owner/farmer and Carolyn will be co-speakers.

Venue: The Eco-Lodge, Mangarara Station- The Family Farm. 298 Mangarara Rd, RD2, Otane, Hawkes Bay. For map:

Hastings: Friday 6th and Sunday 8th October: Both days 8.45am to 10.30 am. Martin Large is the NZ Anthroposophical Conference’s keynote speaker and panel member on the theme “Echoes from the Future: what is our response?” For more information and online bookings see


Wellington: Monday 9th October. 5.30pm – 8pm. Talk and conversation on “Co-creating a Common Wealth  Society.” At Enspiral Dev Academy, 275 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington. Silvia Zuur is part of


Tuesday 10th October: 12.30-1.30pm. Talk and conversation on “Shock Capitalism or Common Wealth? Free, Equal, Earthcaring and Mutual: Rebalancing Society.”

Venue: St Andrews on the Terrace, 30 The Terrace, Wellington. Details will be on

Nelson: Wednesday 11th October 7.30-9pm. Talk and conversation Shock Capitalism or Common wealth? Creating the Future we want.

Motueka: 12th – 13th October:

Lyttelton:  Monday 16th October: Full day visit to Lyttelton hosted by Margaret Jefferies and Project Lyttelton (PL)

Study visit to learn about PL’s projects eg the Time Bank, Farmers Market, Community Garden etc and how the early work they did to build the cohesion and resilience of the local community which was so important after the big earthquake.

6pm- 8pm:   Talk and conversation followed by supper. “The Social Future is Breaking out Everywhere: Co-creating our Commonwealth society.”

Christchurch:  17th October: 11am a talk and conversation with ohu


Depart NZ: Wednesday 18th

Grenfell, Mad Management and Wise Leaders-John Carlisle

Richard Brown, a former director of InterCity and Chairman of Eurostar International, once remarked to me that there was a four letter word that managers of that time needed to understand: D-U-T-Y he spelled out. I agreed; now, and twenty years later, even more so. Forget about the wishy washy ethics campaigns or the generally meaningless PR exercises around corporate social responsibility. What we need to understand is duty, our obligation to others in our system and to the system and society. 
During my summer break I experienced two good examples. 
The first was at a conference in Switzerland on Human Security where I was running workshops. I met an advocate from South Africa, Paul Hoffman, whose company tackles institutionalised corruption through the courts, including challenging the President and Justice Minister. 
Paul stepped away from his very successful legal practice to take on this risky and arduous task. Why? He sees it as his duty to protect the rule of law and to point out obvious failures in the state’s duty of care, at considerable cost to himself.

Read more at:


What a Wonderful World!

Check out Barton Kunstler’s moving article on Nation of Change, for both Louis’ Armstrong’s life message, compared with what’s happening now in Trump’s America and the world….

In 1967 Louis Armstrong sang “What a Wonderful World”, written for him by Bob Thiele and George Weiss, who had in mind the tumultuous backdrop of the Vietnam War and the ongoing struggle for civil rights, which amplified the song’s power. Armstrong himself addresses this in his spoken introduction to his performance:

Some of you young folks been sayin’ to me, “Hey Pops, what do you mean ‘what a wonderful world? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That ain’t so wonderful either.’ But how about listenin’ to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we are doing to it. And all I am saying is see what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance.

Today’s political context is as relevant to the song as it was 50 years ago. Yet it is unsullied by that ugliness. So I thought I’d present the lyrics as a commentary on today’s political scene because I believe the song, much like a magical incantation, possesses its own mysterious healing powers.

Sung towards the end of his life, “What a Wonderful World” captures what Armstrong himself brought to the world:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and for you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world.

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These lines possess a perfect simplicity, as if polished by thousands of years of experience. They emerge as if we were seeing green trees and red roses for the first time, or perhaps in old age for the last time. The second line is the magical one, though: there are trees and roses and someone sees them bloom and through the generosity of the heart, he at once wants to share this miracle “for me and for you”. Only then can he think, “What a wonderful world.” It’s not just the trees, roses, color, or bloom – the “for me and for you” is the core of the wonder.

Then cut to Trump threatening to savage the National Parks through development and fracking. Witness the oil pimps lining up for new pipelines…the Koch brothers appointing the head of the CIA…the Secretary of Education closing schools and cutting school lunch programs while her brother, head of his own mercenary force, advises Trump on foreign policy from behind a dark curtain. We see environmental regulations tossed overboard by beady-eyed men doing their masters’ bidding, congratulating one another because they managed to raise the price on their souls another 10 or 50 thousand bucks.

I wonder at those seeking to undermine the Endangered Species Act so they can kill grizzlies and wolves and mountain lions as trophies of their pitifully perverse sense of manhood. They can’t wait to reverse the progress made in cleaning up our waterways, gut regulations aimed at keeping our food fresh and uninfected with lethal bacteria, and abolish limits on all forms of pollution. Where Thiele, Weiss, and Armstrong see the possibility of beauty and connection, our politicians see only profit in destroying and despoiling. And the profits they reap? That economy they so devoutly claim requires this destruction? They hide most of the profits to avoid taxes, robbing society even of the collateral social goods that their spoliation is supposed to produce.

I see skies of blue, clouds of white
Bright blessed days. dark sacred nights
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world