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Our land funding campaign was successful! You can learn more by reading the information below. 


We've reached our goal of $550,000 to purchase Pīwakawaka Farm in Whanganui!


We've also reached our second goal of $650,000 to fund early infrastructure and operations, and our third goal of $825,000 to pay Coordinators part-time!


We've now finished this campaign. Thank you to everyone who has supported us!


You can still make small donations to our charity here. If you're interested in making a larger donation, please contact us for our account details and charity information.

Total funds raised:



It's inspiring to see a group of people come together and translate their values into action. Best of luck and look forward to seeing you reach your goals.
-Tom Saunders

Campaign Videos


Funding FAQs

What was the funding campaign for?


  • Our primary goal was to raise $550,000 NZD so the  Woven Rivers Charitable Trust (WRCT) could buy Pīwakawaka farm, a 68.8 hectare parcel of land, in Whanganui, Aotearoa. The land is 14km north-west of Whanganui town centre, and sits adjacent (to the west) of Te Awa Tupua - The Whanganui River. Tauraroa Stream runs through the land and into the Whanganui River.  After significant due diligence, WRCT concluded the farm was perfect for the aspirations of The Learning Environment. 


  • WRCT needed land to carry out its charitable purposes for education focused on sustainable living and well-being of people and place. 


  • Our secondary goal was to raise an additional $100,000 to cover stage 1 infrastructure and our first year of operations.

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Both goals were reached!  Read on for more details and your questions answered. 

Why did we run a crowdfunding campaign to purchase the land? (Instead of other funding streams) 


  • Land acquisition is not typically funded by the Government or other charitable trusts or philanthropic organisations. As a result, we focused on private philanthropy and sharing our campaign through our networks and communities. 


What was our funding campaign approach?


  • The campaign was primarily facilitated by the team responsible for funding.  This is a working group of our Coordinators focused on developing relationships with funders and various funding streams, including crowdfunding. 


  • Our campaign was relatively private, meaning we only shared the crowdfunding website and information packs with potential donors or people connected to potential donors, although the material was and remains accessible to the wider public. This also meant we could answer peoples’ questions directly and have hui [meetings] with them, which gave our approach a personal touch. 


  • Our key focus audience was potential Foundational Partners. These were people who could likely donate $10,000+ with a small group falling into the $50,000+ and $100,000+ categories. The offering to partners was a genuine relationship to the Learning Environment and use of our facilities. There was no contractual agreement nor reporting requirements with partners.


  • We sought donations from outside of the Whanganui region. We focused our energy on our wider networks to bring monetary stimulation into the region.  We avoided drawing on precious funding resources from within this region, so they can be utilised by other organisations needing financial support rather than absorbed into purchasing land.


  • Our secondary audience was aligned private donors known to us through our personal networks and communities, as well as philanthropists and aligned organisations. 



Who supported us financially? 


  • We received hugely significant support from one of New Zealand’s leading change-making philanthropic organisations - The Namaste Foundation.

  • The support from Namaste Foundation opened us up to connect with the network of Fellows from the Edmund Hillary Foundation (EHF). These Fellows are based internationally, primarily in the USA, and in Aotearoa. There is a rigorous application process to become a fellow of EHF. For international Fellows it means they can access the Global Impact Visa, which is a three-year open work visa that enables participants in the Edmund Hillary Fellowship to work and live in New Zealand, with a path to permanent residence. The Gift Trust NZ was absolutely instrumental in supporting us with receiving donations from the USA. 

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  • Additional donations came from friends, family, loved ones, colleagues, our networks and community, who have supported us individually and collectively throughout our journey to this momentous point! 


  • We ended up with a total of 18 Foundational Partners.


  • We had an additional 65 donors, who supported us with a range of smaller donations 



Who now ‘owns’ the land?


  • Woven Rivers Charitable Trust (WRCT) will hold the legal title of the land upon settlement, after a successful subdivision process, anticipated to be by December 2021. 


  • None of those who helped to fund the land purchase ‘own’ any part of the land. The financial donations were pure gifts based on the integrity of the vision of the Trust, meaning there was no contractual relationship or reporting requirements (beyond the intention of genuine collaborative relationship).  Reciprocal relationships exist, where Foundational Partners (those who donated $10,000 or more) have access to the education spaces/facilities for free for the next 10 years (standard booking applies). We’re also working with individual partners to find out how we can best support each other into the future. 



What is the significance of Woven Rivers Charitable Trust owning the land?


  • This land is now permanently held for the specific purpose of modelling connection between people and place for restoration and improved well-being.  


  • We aim to have this land ownership model, with the land title held by the Charitable Trust, to be an example to others of how land may be stewarded now and into the future.  This model is an exciting example of moving away from private individual or familial land ownership.


  • If the Trust were to ever liquify, the Trust assets (including the land) legally need to be donated to another charity with similar charitable purposes. In this way, the land will be an example of caring stewardship and thriving restoration for many generations to come. 


What will the land be used for? 


  • The delivery of wellbeing-centred, holistic learning experiences, to support individuals and communities to cooperatively adapt and thrive in an uncertain future - in response to current crises of ecological decline and social injustice. 

  • To offer accessible community education in adaptation, emergency response, and social and environmental regeneration. 

  • To provide land based learning opportunities in collaboration with existing tertiary education institutions.

  • To facilitate and enhance a regenerative, circular, local economy.

  • To encourage Kaupapa Māori rangahau and research in regenerative practice.

  • To support tino rangatiratanga, partnership, bicultural development and reconciliation. 

  • To support Pīwakawaka Farm Ltd., to manage goods and services, whose profit will return towards Woven River’s Charitable Trust, education scholarship fund. 


How is this positive for the Whanganui region? 


  • Creating Jobs, supporting people into right livelihood

  • Scholarships focused on equitable access to education

  • Forest and water way restoration, with flow on effect to the health of the wider region

  • Building resilience in the Whanganui local food system

  • Health and wellbeing courses and services in the region

  • Educational Tourism bringing money into the region


Where are the donations in excess of $550,000 going? 


The additional money we raised will go toward basic infrastructure, such as an accessway, a multi-purpose building, utilities, tools, and other much-needed farm equipment.


We're also planning to use some funds to pay Coordinators part-time for at least the next year.


How are we covering additional land purchasing costs? E.g. lawyers, rates, insurance, consenting etc).


We have been generously gifted pro-bono services from Claymore Partners who have donated hours of contract law as in-kind donations. We have a qualified urban planner in the team who is gifting all consenting services as in-kind donations to the Learning Environment, leaving just the council application fees.


Further to that, we will use the additional funds raised in the campaign to budget for the next 2 years. We will then sustain our ongoing costs through income from businesses, both Pīwakwaka Farm Ltd and The Learning Centre business,  as well as grants and donations.


WRCT has conducted extensive operational budgeting and planning for the first five years. WRCT and Pīwakawaka Farm Ltd are currently supported by Fairground Accounting. The Learning Centre business has not yet been established as our current focus is preparing the land, so it has the facilities, and necessary health and safety controls, for education.


How will we finance further costs, will we run another crowdfunding campaign?  


From now, we will diversify our funding streams. This could include local and national grants depending on requirements, or specific sponsorship opportunities.  Circumstances where further crowdfunding for specific goals and assets is appropriate may well arise again, but nothing is currently planned.

We are backed by the Mayor of Whanganui, local community groups and organisations, as well as our wider national network.

Letters of support:

Whanganui District Council

Office of the Mayor

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