Baaaack from New Zealand where sheep outnumber the population - that's a fact!

Our family went on a brief jaunt to “Middle Earth” recently.

There’s lots to tell about the film festival (you can still catch a second screening of Homegrown Revolution on June 4 there in Palmerston North) that we attended, visiting the old (first) homestead where I was born (yep, I am a bonafide Kiwi – without the cool accent, of course) and one of the biggest turnouts ever to hear Farmer D,  but all that will come later on when I have time to go thru all the pics, etc.  Right now we are picking up where we left off with things on the urban homestead and that’s keeping us busy from sunup to sundown.

We have a bunch of folks to thank – Brent, Christine, Anthea, Becky, Derry, Elizabeth, Pat, Heather,  Rebbecca and others, and most of all Charley who took care of us like family!

Like I said there’s loads to show and tell, but there’s work to be done on the urban homestead so I would like to share with you this little article – never doubt that small actions now, can have a BIG impact later!

Jules visits the old homestead

Stafford flooding ‘deja vu’

The man at the centre of flood concerns in Stafford has credited a small concrete breakwater built by a former resident 30 years ago for saving his house, and possibly his life.

Rob Wanrooy, who was this week told he would have to stump up the cash to pay for flood protection from nearby Waimea Creek, yesterday came face to face with the man who he said was responsible for minimising the damage to his home during recent flooding. Jules Dervaes, a former Stafford beekeeper, experienced similar problems to Mr Wanrooy when he lived in the same property in the early-1970s.

Before moving back to live in his native Pasadena, in California, in 1974, he built the breakwater to protect the property from flooding. Mr Dervaes was back in New Zealand this week with his family to show a film about urban organic farming at a Palmerston North film festival, and when a friend sent him the recent Guardian picture of Rob Wanrooy he said he felt “a serious case of deja vu”.

“Before I moved back to the States we were flooded twice in two years. It was amazing seeing that picture, I was in the exact same situation as Rob 35 years ago. The creek burst in exactly the same place and the water took the same identical path then as it did now,” Mr Dervaes said yesterday.

“At first we managed to build a barrier with a bulldozer but the water got so high it eventually just blew wide open, so then I started to build a concrete wall as I knew where the water was coming from and I hoped the wall would take the water to the road.”

Mr Wanrooy said without the breakwater his house would certainly not have survived the recent flood.

“It is possible that it may even have saved my life.”

He said he felt it was up to the regional and district councils to pay for flood defence, rather than leaving it to individual homeowners.
“It doesn’t make sense that they can pay thousands to drop 1080 but they can’t pay to fix a leaky creek.”

Full article courtesy of Greymouth Star


  1. Justin says:

    Quite an interesting side note: the Stafford New Zealand house is currently the same color as our Pasadena, CA home. It’s deja vu all over again!

  2. Laura @ Getting There says:

    Now really, can anyone take a “brief jaunt” to New Zealand? That’s a lot of time on an airplane going there and back from the States! 🙂

  3. Jordanne Dervaes says:

    Oh, I totally wish those were my sheep. But nope! Just a flock from a farm we visited!

  4. sarah says:

    Hope your quick trip down here was a lovely one 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    I hope you enjoyed your visit to Aoteoroa. Sadly missed the screening in Palmy due to a smashed windscreen 20mins into the trip. You would have been caught up in all the bad weather we’ve been having so hope it didn’t put too much of a “damper” on things. It must have been wonderful to revisit your old homestead.

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