Meet Our Team

Our interns, volunteers, staff, management team, board and advisers are made up of passionate, talented individuals with a breadth of experience that ranges from multi-national corporations to leading and teaching organisations


The Koanga Institute was co-founded by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker 15 years ago, to support Kay’s life work in saving our Western heritage food plants.Kay and Bob will remain actively engaged in teaching, mentoring ,presenting talks, research and development, in addition to playing the role of organisation elders.


Kay Baxter has been an organic gardener for fifty years and is a co-founder, now CEO/managing director  of the Koanga Institute in New Zealand.  She is a professional seed saver and educator in the fields of Nutrient Dense Food Production and Regenerative Garden Design and Management.She is a researcher in the field of human health in relation to our environment and has authored many books including:


  • Change of Heart (the Ecology of Nourishing Food),
  •  The Koanga Garden Guide,
  • Design your Own Orchard
  • The Koanga Garden Planner
  • and the Koanga booklets
  • Save Your Own Seeds,
  • How To Grow Nutrient Dense Food,
  • Beginner Gardener Booklet
  • Urban Gardening For Nutritional Resilience
  • and Design Your own Forest Garden

 Kay has been teaching permaculture for many years, and draws upon her experience designing, implementing and managing permaculture systems, specializing in the field of nutrient dense food production – vegetable gardens, orchards, fieriest gardens  and animal systems, predominantly in zone 1 and 2.  For many years her research has been focused on the connections between soil health, plant and animal health and human health, and has been focused on home gardeners techniques for growing nutrient dense food.

peterPeter Alexander Peter is well known within the organic food sector as the owner of Chantal Foods and Chantal Organic Wholesalers which distributes grocery lines throughout New Zealand. He is dedicated to the principles of organics and sustainability. He firmly believes that we must respect nature and produce healthy products that protect the earth’s resources for the future. He is passionate about organics because they mean health, fairness and care for our land, water, animals and people. Peter is committed to supporting New Zealand, employing over 40 people.

Peter grows fresh vegetables on 5 acres organically and also owns a vegetarian organic café as part of his health food shop in Napier.

Peter has been a member and active supporter of our work for over 15 years. He has a strong commitment to food self-reliance and healthy food within NZ. He is keenly aware of the importance of New Zealand becoming more self reliant in high quality organic and heritage produce, not only because of the increasing difficulty of ensuring supplies in a world of increasing food scarcity and demand, but also of the many positive benefits to our communities.

He believes the work of Koanga Institute will play an important role in our future resilience and support at this stage will return many benefits in the future


Kay Baxter – CEO/Managing Director

Bob Corker  –   Research and Development Manager, Appropriate Technology  and PDC Tutor

Bob has been involved with Permaculture design for over 30 years as a self- employed environmental consultant and farmer.   During that time his work has involved many individual permaculture designs, including homesteads, small farms and larger pastoral farms. He spent 15 years as a landscape contractor specialising in constructed wetlands, including large municipal sewage treatment ponds, suburban stormwater ponds and channels, and the design and construction of used-water treatment systems for permaculture households.He was also involved in the design and development of the Kohatu Toa Eco-village in Kaiwaka, a small intentional community in Northland NZ, where Kay and Bob lived until 2007.

He is a co- founder of the Koanga Institute, ( and has a particular interest , within the Institute, of developing light earth building techniques and appropriate technologies for autonomous housing and simple living.

Bob has co-taught many Permaculture Design courses and shorter Permaculture workshops. He is presently designing and developing a 30 family rural village/intentional community (Kotare Village) near Wairoa, Northern Hawkes Bay, NZ. (www, managing the building research program for the Koanga Institute, and developing a small family farm within the Kotare Village.

Tes  –  Seed Curator. Tes came to Koanga to do a PDC and has decided to stay. She is passionate about the seeds and also the connections between soil food and health. She is also passionate about herbal medicine, and how we can bring herbs into our daily lives as food.

Shaked – Nursery Curator. Shaked came to Koanga to do a PDC and then an internship and has decided to stay. Shaked is curious, loves learning/experiencing with mechanisms that drive systems, humans, nature, on a path in and towards regenerative communal way of living. In love with growing together.

Gail –back order manager, northern bio-regional fruit tree curator. Gail has been a strong part of the Koanga team for many years, and like the rest of us living her dream around regenerative living. Gail is currently our back order manager, and also the Kaitiaki of our Northern Bio-regional tree collection at her home in the Hokianga Northland.