Who and what is blockhill

Blockhill is the eco-living arrangement and rural lifestyle of Olmec and Melisa Sinclair. Together, with assorted animals and birds, they grow a forest garden using natural approaches and permaculture principals.

Our Objectives

Ecosystem restoration and increased biodiversity

As with many areas of New Zealand that have been cleared and converted to pasture for grazing, the land at blockhill was compacted and biological diversity was low. By eliminating further compaction and introducing an extensive mix of plant species we have developed habitat and food source for wide range of micro and macro organisms which in turn boost ecosystem health, nutrient cycling and ultimate productivity.

 

Genetic repository

The changing climate highlights the importance of having suitably adapted plant species. Rates of change may outpace the ability for plants to adapt through natural selection and therefore require physical transportation and relocation to climatically suitable zones. Our botanical collection aims to make available a large number of practical and valuable food, medicine, timber and other plants.

 

Peaceful and aesthetic setting

By developing our surroundings in a way that results in a beautiful, peaceful place there is less reason or desire to travel away from the site for enjoyment or relaxation.

 

Resilience, nourishment and health

Growing your own food, of having nature do it for you, reduces the need to earn scarce dollars with which to purchase sustenance and also greater control over the quality and nutritiousness of the food you consume. We have worked to create a landscape that is constantly producing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. By realigning our dietary expectations with the rhythms of the seasons and the climate of our site we can enjoy fresh foraged meals year round.

 

Demonstrate and inspire

We want to show that a simple life can be rewarding and fulfilling, rich in purpose and variety. By creating a lifestyle to aspire to and leading by example we hope that others will consider realigning their life course.

 

Economics

As long as local governments levy land taxes (rates) we will require at least some official money. We wanted our land to fund these charges without resorting to selling produce which ultimately depletes the underlying vitality of the system unless equivalent material is imported to offset the losses. Over the years we have worked a number of low impact income streams including tourism and accommodation, education and consultancy and plants and seed sales.

 

Olmec

Olmec

Having grown up on a small organic farm in North Canterbury, I have a lifelong connection to land, gardening and ecological awareness.

In 2005, seeking adventure, I left my Wellington life and software engineering job behind and went backpacking through Australia and into South-East Asia. For 8 months I worked and travelled, gaining a new perspective, first hand, on other ways to live, different value systems and the nature of our expectations. Poor, remote villagers always seemed so happy in their simple lives and displayed an evident commitment to family, community and place.

Over the next 4 years I began looking into the consequences of human settlement and our impact on our surroundings as a result of our attempts to globalise a techno-industrial capitalist system. What I discovered alarmed me and galvanised my direction to begin preparing my life for the future I saw coming.

In 2009, My wife and I transitioned from city dwelling office workers to rural, self employed lifestyle entrepreneurs.
Since then I have been researching and implementing more sustainable ways of inhabiting the land and extracting a yield.
I still work with computers to solve problems and have taken that way of thinking about multiple, interacting, complex systems and applied it to everyday life. When I'm not running about in bare feet, I'm in front of the computer building websites. (Someone's got to pay the bills)

Gradually I am developing my understanding of natural systems and how they can support human needs while organising the assorted solutions to share with the rest of my species. I see this as the great work of our time, to reinvent ourselves and our culture for the better.
Melisa

Melisa

I grew up in the country surrounded by trees and I've always hoped to return to a rural lifestyle one day. After living in Wellington and then Christchurch, I am happy to be living in the country again and I am enjoying the peace that comes from being surrounded by nature. The Beech Trees are my favourite tree that surrounds Blockhill. And the native birds are a lovely accompaniment to the natural setting. I feel like I have returned to my roots and finally found a place that feels like home again. I've been learning many new skills such as jam making, bread baking, and food preservation as we work towards our goal of self-sufficiency.
Charles (Chapie) Chaplin

Charles (Chapie) Chaplin

A stray who decided to stay. I mean who wouldn't want to live in luxury at blockhill...?
Gibson (the cat)

Gibson (the cat)

Our apex or primary predator, Gibson is responsible for managing rat and mice populations. Having a healthy, well fed alpha feline around helps deter other undesirable predators such as feral cats and mustalids.

Originally from a suburb in Christchurch, Gibson has become a real farm cat since his move to blockhill. His favourite outdoor activities include going on bush walks, hunting, and tree climbing. He also enjoys his time inside with activities such as eating and sleeping. Gibson likes to be where the action is and often will participate in chores such as gardening and feeding the chooks, though he tends to get distracted and ends up hunting or tree climbing instead. Gibson loves the country life.
Nature & biodiversity

Nature & biodiversity

Humans have a nasty habit of displacing or exterminating any organism that doesn't provide an obvious short term benefit (with the exception of some native species). We now know that biodiversity is the key to a healthy, functional and resilient ecosystem.
By including and encouraging a diverse range of plants, animals and insects we produce systems that are naturally harmonious and balanced and therefore require less human management and are less susceptible to climatic fluctuation, pest invasion and other impacts.