Inspiring examples of the ‘Good Life’

19th February 2013 | Nicky Davis

Ever dreamed of being as self-sufficient as possible, live on a little land, grow your own fruit and veg, gather your eggs and honey, preserve your surplus food? Many share the ‘Good Life’ dream but need to see how others have done it before taking the first steps.

That’s why Kaipatiki Project, co-ordinators of the EcoFest North festival of enviro-events, have organised a very special EcoFest Good Life Tour on Sunday 10 March to hear from some knowledgeable and inspirational North Shore residents who really know their self-sufficiency stuff.

The tour will first meet Dee Pigneguy, cook, organic gardener and award-winning author, who lives on a quarter-acre in an urban street in Glenfield. Dee gets four seasonal crops a year from her edible garden, and her food forest of 30 fruit trees provides year round fruit. Her chickens provide fresh eggs and manure for the compost.

“If I can make my property productive and teach people to just take responsibility for themselves then I’ve done my bit”, says Mrs Pigneguy, who is also passionate about saving the planet from climate change. “By gardening organically you can actually involve people so that they too can make a contribution themselves by gardening with planet Earth in mind”.

The other stop on the tour will be the home and garden of Bruce Brownlee in the Albany hills. He invites visitors to come and see the result of a self-sufficiency dream he and his wife had about two years ago.

“We found a half-acre with a barn on it and not much else but we thought it had potential. We renovated the barn, built a chook house, produced own electricity and solar hot water, even our own water and sewage system”, says Mr Brownlee.

“The hardest thing was taking the first step. Having the confidence that you can do it, being able to put in the hard yards, renovating, finding out how to grow things, storing your food. One of the things that helped me most was doing my homework, going out to someone who has been there, done that. I viewed several places getting ideas, seeing how much knowledge I already had and what was possible – then we were able to say Yes we can do this!”.

Places on the tour cost just $10 and bookings can be made at or by phoning the Kaipatiki Project 482 1172.

EcoFest is supported by Auckland Council with sponsorship from the North Shore Times and the North Harbour News and features over 100 events and activities happening all around the North Shore up to Orewa throughout March. To find out more visit

Kaipatiki Project is able to operate due to the generosity of our funders and supporters

Foundation North Ministry for the Environment Kaipatiki Local Board Ubiquity Environment Hubs Aotearoa