About Us

founded with a vision of harmony with the earth
community driven collaborative sustainability

Sustainable Living

Wilderland strives to be an example of a more sustainable, collaborative way of living with our environment and tries to create methods with which future generations can live in greater harmony with the earth. In all things we aim to give back to the land by applying methods of organic horticulture, land stewardship and developing new sustainable systems for all to learn from.



Wilderland works to develop and showcase the benefits of collaborative sustainability in contemporary New Zealand. Community is collaboration, sharing and support. A healthy community creates a wealth that money can't buy.


Wilderland's charitable purpose is to provide learning experiences to the wider community. Learning occurs mainly through hands-on experience and participation. You can learn how to:


• Build local economy

• Develop collaborative enterprise

• Foster wellbeing

• Grow your own food

• Reduce your ecological footprint

• Minimise the waste you create





hinahinafaithA priceless land and work in progress, where students and volunteers can learn, share and find inspiration while collaborating in a range of ecological farming and sustainable living practices.


Wilderland is a unique learning centre located on the Whitianga Estuary, Coromandel Peninsula, Aotearoa (New Zealand), with gardens and orchards scattered amongst regenerating bushland, Wilderland grows a wide variety of organic fruit and vegetables, and keeps honeybees. Produce is enjoyed by staff and volunteers, and surplus traded through local markets and our roadside shop, along with crafts, preserves, dried fruit, herbs, ointments and other products made onsite.


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An open, inclusive and collaborative exchange between everyone involved creates an invaluable opportunity for personal development and learning. Some people come to learn, others come to teach, and many do both. Our focus is on holistic learning experiences and long-term environmental benefit.



Wilderland helps develop people: people with experience and understanding of living cooperatively with land, people with a stronger connection with one another and our natural environment, people who can help make a richer world. It is an outdoor classroom for inquisitive minds.


Wilderland is owned and operated by a charitable trust of New Zealand and actively pursues the objectives set out in the Wilderland Trust Deed. For official information on the Wilderland Trust check out our page on the New Zealand Charities Commission website.


Explore this website... and see how you can get involved and share your passions for... Learning, Sustainability and Community. Or to find out more, email us for a copy of the Wilderland Trust Deed.


To see what we've been up to lately, email us to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter.


Current Projects

A dedicated visitor centre building is a key feature in our vision for Wilderland to expand learning and sharing opportunities to a wider and greater section of the public. The building will be a shining example of natural architecture showcasing eco-building techniques, energy efficiency, and using materials sourced from the surrounding land with an organic aesthetic.


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Visitor Centre Sketch 3.2
Visitor House Sketch


The building will include a large open space for group activities and learning and accommodation for large groups of visitors. The building will provide an inspiring space for Wilderland's students and interns and also be available for study or special-interest groups to share an experience in a sustainable community environment.


These draft sketches were from early-on in our concept development with earth building architect Dan Mohr. Now we are in discussion with Reinhard Kanuka-Fuchs, renowned eco-architect, founding member of Tui community, and designer of the Mana Retreat's famous Temple.



Visitor House Plan
Visitor House Plan




dan_edithWilderland was born in 1964, when Dan and Edith Hansen began establishing one of New Zealand’s first organic farms on an area of abandoned farmland. Dan was a man of vision and conviction; under his guidance, and with the support of his wife and the men and women who joined the project, a self-reliant community began to evolve.


From the beginning Wilderland was built on ‘hard work coupled with frugal living’ (D. Hansen, 1994), with little financial capital. Property developments have come about through cooperative endeavour and the support of a strong community of friends and well-wishers. Residents were pioneers who used creativity and ingenuity to overcome the obstacles they encountered.


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Wilderland was gifted as an educational trust in 1992, to ‘enable the work which has commenced here to be carried on and broadened…’ (D. Hansen). However, when Dan passed away in 2006 much momentum was lost. Fortunately the torch was passed in 2009 to a small but passionate group committed to Wilderland’s continuing development as a demonstration of sustainable cooperative living.


Thousands of people have spent time at Wilderland over the years, and many have been touched with invaluable experiences that enhance their ongoing life journey.


Email us for the full story of Wilderland.