Getting to know Thalea Tane

Getting to know Thalea Tane

What’s your number one saying?

Ko au, ko te ngāhere– Ko te ngāhere, ko au. (I am the forest, the forest is me…)

This whakataukī embodies (a part of) who I am, and where I come from. 


Ko Maunganui te maunga,

Ko Waikarā te awa,

Ko Kaipara te Moana,

Ko Waipoua te Matua Ngāhere o Tāne Māhuta,

Ko Te Roroa, Ngati Whātua me Ngāpuhi ōku Iwi,

Ko Thalea Tane toku ingoa...Tīhei Mauri Ora!


Where are you based (why, and where have you lived before)?

After living in SE Asia for a number of years, I found myself finishing off some Post Grad studies back in Aotearoa, experiencing the South Island before returning back to my Turangawaewae in the Hokianga/Waipoua Forest.

Since being back in Aotearoa, I’ve been tutoring for the Sustainable Living Course in Mohua, co-convened Global Ecovillage GEN/GENOA gatherings, facilitating wānanga for my Marae/Iwi and developing Mana wāhine programmes for some of our most vulnerable communities in the Far North – all including the Permaculture Ethics of ‘Tiaki te whenua, Tiaki te tangata, Tiaki Manaakitanga’


How would your friends describe your sense of humour?

A little bit quirky, definitely cheeky – and sometimes pointy rather than on point.


What led you to permaculture (and when)?

Whilst studying in Chiangmai, Thailand I met a beautiful soul sister and friend, Natvarang, and her husband Xavier, who were totally dedicated to teaching (and continuing to learn), Permaculture.  Their idea was to set up a foundation and develop Permaculture programs for children, adults, farmers and whomever was interested in regenerative systems and/or who were already a part of the self-reliance movement in Thailand.

I experienced Permaculture from their evolving learning journey, by working alongside the family and other permies from around the world, to develop Permaculture programs. 


 This amazing mahi took me into Permaculture circles across Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, India, Australia, Europe and back to Aotearoa, New Zealand. Alongside small core teams, I have co-organised events for the Thailand Permaculture Convergence (TPC), co-created and implemented children’s programs and KIDS Zones for the TPC, including the 2017 International Permaculture Convergence on Polam Farm, in India, and have been support for many the amazing events, including Permaculture Hui in Aparima (Riverton)    

Whilst living in Thailand, I was also introduced to members of the Global Ecovillage Network and realised that some of these same circles of conscious self-reliant ‘movers and shakers’ were connected to GEN Oceania and Asia also. I felt like I had met my whānau o te Ao (family of the world)!  In 2019, I was asked to represent GEN at the COP25 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. I was a part of an amazing team who presented, educated and advocated for global partnerships with Governments and key stakeholders, who are dedicated to responding to the Climate Change emergency we find ourselves in.

On my return back home, I continued this journey and lived and learnt from my mentor (and tuakana), Robina McCurdy at Tui Community in Wainui Bay.  We have worked on many initiatives together, supporting the dreams and aspirations of many tauira (students) as well as co-facilitating diverse communities, who seek sustainable tools and resources to reconnect and regenerate ‘whānau and whenua’.

I returned back to my homelands and have since bought a small block that I would like to develop into a small eco-project.  My dream is to encompass my learnings from other indigenous nations, eco-villages and NGOs during my haerenga overseas and intertwine those land-based (universal) practices with Mātauranga Māori. many tauira (students) as well as co-facilitating diverse communities, who seek sustainable tools and resources to reconnect and regenerate ‘whānau and whenua’.

Ki te Ao o te Marama Mana Wahine Program

What is your profession/passion and who are the people you share this with?

I’ve intertwined my haerenga with my passion for creating programs that are accessible to circles that haven’t had the chance to engage with permaculture (yet).  I have been privileged to have developed and created mana wāhine programs for some of our most vulnerable communities in the Far North that include Permaculture elements (i.e. food sovereignty, light earth building and Community resiliency) and have embarked on planning and organising a series of wānanga for our marae in the Kaipara and Hokianga alongside my Te Roroa Iwi.  So far, the ahikā (the home people) of Waikarā have experienced how other communities utilise tools and resources from the Global Ecovillage Network – that incorporate holistic planning.  I am blessed to be working with whānau on the pā who continue to stimulate positive ripples across our rohe to build the capacity and capability in our whanau, our whenua and our taonga handed down to us from our tupuna.


I also continue to work alongside the awesome GENOA team….sharing eco-village tools and resources, co-creating programs, events and gatherings for our wider whanau o te Ao, across the world. Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia (


What's your personal take on Permaculture in New Zealand? 

I consider our Permaculture Aotearoa Community an extension of my whānau (whanau whānui) and I am grateful to work with some and be mentored by others, on this haerenga.  I am grateful for the plethora of wisdom and knowledge that is openly shared by peers, students and mentors who are on the same waka as I am – that is to; care for the people, planet and each other for our wellbeing – our holistic journey towards Mauri Ora.  


Where changes would you like to see for permaculture in the future?

Having incorporated Permaculture principles when developing programs into the social (services) and cultural space – I can say with conviction, that the ethics and principles resonate with the practical activities (i.e. experiential learning) and narratives (pūrakau) delivered in the programs because they are universal principles, that are innate in all of us. Add the matāpuna (principles) of our Māori World-view and you have a very potent method towards empowering our group to rebuild their lives, their resiliency and their wellbeing. Ki te Ao o te Marama!

Building no dig Maara Kai (for the Women’s Refuge) and making an oven with Jo Bradley




 Arama Community collaboration with KTAOTM Women’s Program & Kaitaia Community Centre Collab


What question do you wish to ask those who are reading this?

Want to know more about this mahi and collaborate – Kōrero mai!




Global Ecovillage Network Oceania & Asia (

Home (

Golden Bay Sustainable Living Course: An Overview with Student Testimonials - YouTube


COP25 - UN Climate Change Conference 2019




Dedicated to a ‘passionate permie’, International ‘mover and shaker’, friend and sister - Natvarang (‘Nat’)….may you rest in paradise e te tuahine….until me meet again….thank you for taking me on a journey….Arohanui ‘Khun Thalea’ - Kop korn maak kha xoxo