• hands on experience

    hands on experience

    Details  empower + improve + together
  • grow


    Details  embrace nature
  • adventure locally

    adventure locally

    Details  in your own back yard

Hands On Experience


Open to 18-24 year olds living in NZ who are looking to build life skills, confidence, self-reliance and independence.

20 days from $180 per person

limited to 4 people


Set on our 2.5 hectare food forest garden and permaculture property in North Canterbury, the programme offers young people the chance to immerse themselves in a different kind of life and gain knowledge and inspiration to take with them into the future.

Join us in nature to grow and support a healthy, beautiful ecosystem of abundance.





What you get

Fun, education and self development

Daily immersive experiences, personal development and dedicated learning activities

Practical creativity

Practical creativity

Hands on instructional learning
  • simple healthy cooking
  • bread making
  • jam making
  • food preservation
  • flax weaving
Engage with nature

Engage with nature

Develop gardening and tree maintenance skills in a food forest context
  • plant identification
  • vegetable growing & seed saving
  • using tools for land management
  • planting, pruning & shaping living trees
  • land shaping for water retention
Unique experience and useful skills

Unique experience and useful skills

We want your experience and memories of blockhill to be positive and educational.
  • Spend time with like minded people.
  • Experience and learn new, useful and exciting things
  • Discover joy and value in living simply and lightly
  • Reconnect with the natural world
  • Learn to observe and interact
  • Turn problems into solutions
Make the most of it

Make the most of it

  • Continue to explore the forest garden at your own pace
  • Visit the animals
  • Relax and enjoy your meals
  • Visit nearby attractions such as Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura, Cheviot Hills Reserve, Gore Bay
  • Socialise with others or spend quiet time by yourself enjoying reading, art, meditation, yoga
Animal care

Animal care

  • Working with animals in the garden
  • learn all about Kune Kune pigs, pyschology, social queues, body language, intelligence
  • Keeping free-range chickens and ducks
Confidence with fire

Confidence with fire

Master the art of creating and caring for fire
  • Find & prepare kindling
  • Gather, cut & split wood
  • Learn how to build a fire
  • Cooking with fire


What you give

participate, learn, grow, contribute

We ask for your help with the common, day-to-day tasks of living in nature


Helping hands

Helping hands

Details  2 hours of hands on practical work per day depending on the weather
  • Making and improving gardens
  • Fruit harvesting
  • Planting and pruning trees
Independence + autonomy + self reliance

Independence + autonomy + self reliance

  • Prepare your own firewood for hot water heating - you will be shown how
  • Cook your own meals - some tuition provided
  • Keep your accommodation tidy
Take charge of your hunger

Take charge of your hunger

You are fully responsible for all of your own food. This means that you will need to bring food with you when you arrive. We offer transport for weekly shopping trips to the local 4 Square Supermarket in Cheviot where there is a good selection of nutritious healthy food available. At certain times of year we can provide you with small amounts of supplementary fruit, veggies and herbs from the forest garden to add to your daily diet.
  • You are responsible for your own food
  • We provide weekly transport to grocery shopping in Cheviot
  • We can offer cooking tips and advice
  • Forage seasonal herbs, veggies, and fruit from the food forest garden

Valuable Exchange

Enjoy an empowering hands-on experience without having to hand over a lot of money

Your payment helps cover running costs

We value the contribution you make while you are here


Where you'll stay

Funky, Eco Accommodation


Shipping container tiny house - Standard shared

Self contained modified shipping container house hidden in the rambling forest garden.

This is a shared space. You will be placed with another like-minded individual to share the bedroom and living areas.
  • Enclosed sunroom, kitchen and garden
  • Wood fire for heating
  • Gas barbeque
  • Outdoor toilet and shower nearby
Only choose this option if you are open to meeting new people and are willing to share your living space and bedroom.

Eco-cabin tiny house - Premium solo or couples

Rustic cabin on the edge of the garden with plenty of privacy and amazing views.

Choose this option if you prefer to have space and time to yourself or if you are a couple who are signing up for the programme together.
  • Self contained kitchen
  • Easy access to an outdoor toilet and shower
  • Outdoor firebath for nighttime stargazing
  • Private deck overlooking the native bush

Apply Now

Application Criteria

  • You must be between the ages of 18 and 24
  • Physically fit and motivated with a positive attitude and a desire to learn and try new things
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Willing to share your room and living space with another like-minded individual
  • Non-smokers only


Please complete the questions below. We will get back to you.

Application type

Tell us a bit about yourself

Please supply referee contact details


Your hosts and mentors Olmec and Melisa

Your hosts and mentors Olmec and Melisa


At Blockhill life is relaxed, simple, and a departure from the fast paced urban modern lifestyle.

Since 2009 we have worked to transform the land into a lush and abundant eco-system of plants and animals with a deep connection to nature and the rhythms of the seasons.

We have been sharing our knowledge and experience with hundreds of people over the years and offer you this opportunity to have a unique and memorable experience while learning something new.