Wilderland was born when Dan and Edith Hansen purchased a large block of disused farmland in the rural Coromandel.
Since its creation Wilderland has been a place for people to come learn practical skills for living sustainably, intelligently, and with integrity.
The Wilderland Trust is a registered Charitable Trust. (find us on the NZ Charities Register) It owns all of the houses, buildings, equipment and the land on which Wilderland operates. The Trust board provides long-term oversight to ensure that the project is working within the Trust Deed.
The Trust delegates authority to the current Resident Group who make decisions regarding the day to day operations within the guiding lines defined by the original Trust Deed and any amendments since.
All work carried out for Wilderland is in alignment with the original Trust Deed as established on the 18th November 1989 and the amendments that have followed. The original Trust Deed declared that work on the project would align with the following:
To provide the environment, facilities and resources necessary for the whole education and development of people (children, youths and adults) and to maintain an open response to whosoever would wish to learn. (While the value of academic, technical and economic skills are readily to be recognised, the educational work of the Trust should encompass pupils and teachers understanding relationship, this ability being seen as providing a life-long opportunity to learn and live happily).
To advance and encourage education and the acquiring of skills including accepting of pupils people wishing to learn practical techniques including orcharding, carpentering, beekeeping, organic gardening, machinery maintenance, welding, roadmaking and baking as well as retailing, artistic and cultural skills, and including the establishment and maintenance of a reference library.
To carry out research and experimentation into methods of organic growing/biological control to promote ecological balance and good health and to participate in the introduction of new plants and the development of new food crops.
To promote the discovery, development and use of low impact and renewable energy systems.
To encourage personal creativity and initiative.
To maintain any property of the Trust as an area for living free from drugs and as far as possible all harmful substances.
To protect the purity and sustainability of the natural environment and in particular to facilitate the regeneration of native flora and fauna on land held under tile or control of the Trust
To maintain and facilitate the further development of Wilderland as a common ground whereon people can come together simply as human beings undivided by status, nationality, race, culture, sex, religion or any ideology, such a meeting place being significant to whole education and the realisation of world peace.
To do any act deed or thing which may be conducive to the attainment of the above objects or any of them.
Wilderland was born in 1964, when Dan and Edith Hansen began work to establish one of New Zealand’s first organic farms on an area of abandoned Coromandel 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.
Wilderland was gifted to an educational trust in 1992, to ‘enable the work which has commenced here to be carried on and broadened…’ (D. Hansen). Much momentum was lost when Dan passed away in 2006, however the torch was passed in 2009 to a small but passionate group, who are committed to Wilderland’s continuing development as a demonstration of sustainable and cooperative living.
Thousands of people have spent time at Wilderland over the years, and many have been touched with valuable experiences, which enhance their ongoing life journey.