Traditional Māori Agriculture and Biodynamics

By Tyne-Marie Nelson

In 2015, Tyne-Marie Nelson undertook a research project to identify resonances between biodynamic farming and traditional Māori methods of agriculture. The project was supported by Taruna College and funded by Te Kete Ora Trust. Sections of that work are reprinted by permission here.

In the foreword to her full research paper, Tyne explains her motivations for the project:

During my time studying the Certificate of Applied Organic and Biodynamic Agriculture at Taruna, I was simultaneously reconnecting back to my whenua (after being away from home for some time) and becoming familiar with my whakapapa. Knowing who you are, and where you come from, is of utmost importance in Māori culture, and it brings its own reward – a strong sense of identity and belonging.

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Farm Identity

Harvest Magazine Article – Spring 2018

Biodynamic farmers frequently talk about the need to consider the farm as an individuality or organism – but why is this important, and what does it mean? In a series of articles, this issue of Harvests explores that concept from multiple perspectives.

Here, long-time biodynamic practitioner and guide Peter Bacchus explores the original foundations underpinning the concept of farm as organism.

Ninety-four years ago, biodynamic agriculture was born at a conference in what is now northeastern Germany. It is now 96 years since the first biodynamic preparation was made and demonstrated by Dr Rudolf Steiner. When the first biodynamic course was given, it was a series of lectures given to mostly farmers and was called Lectures for the spiritual renewal of agriculture.

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Biodynamic Gardening In An Urban School

Harvests Magazine Article – Summer 2016

Jen Speedy manages the gardens at Taikura Rudolf Steiner School, and assists with the Taruna Certificate in Applied Organics and Biodynamics.

It’s a busy bustling life, that of the school garden.

The school year begins in late summer, after a six week rest for the garden from the activity of children, teachers and school people. I’m sure our school gardens rejoice when term begins, with the renewed activity and the return to rhythm.

We use the biodynamic calendar in our gardening activities and our general work over the three-acre grounds, as well as when we work alongside the children of the lower school in their gardening.

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Living with the Seasons

We’re very excited to introduce Glen Atkinson’s (PhD) latest educational offering. Over three online workshops, Glen will be shedding light on plant growth and the seasons through Rudolf Steiner’s lens and the unique worldview of biodynamics. 

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Summer Solstice and Planting Ideas

Summer Solstice is approaching (it’s next Wednesday the 22nd of Dec) and it’s a lovely time of the year to slow down and contemplate our connection within nature and it’s rhythms.

If you planted your garlic around the Winter Solstice – it’s now time to lift the garlic! 

I chatted to Christine Moginie one of the Biodynamic Association Council Members about her thoughts, contemplations and suggestions for this upcoming Summer Solstice celebration.

Create a Spiral in Nature

Whether you live by the beach, or near a bush or even just a park – Christine suggests creating a spiral out of leaves, petals or branches or marked in the sand and walking the spiral slowly and contemplatively while the sun is rising on the longest day of the year. (You can either get up earlier than the sunrise to make the spiral or set it up the night before).

Over the next week, you might like to collect flowers and petals to use for your nature spiral. You can use these to create the spiral in the first place and it also might be nice to sprinkle the petals as you walk the spiral, Christine sees this as a way to acknowledge the beings that walk with us always on this journey of life (seen and unseen).

There’s no hard and fast rules for a specific prep to apply at this time of year, but for the home gardener, Christine suggests using a cow pat pit (CPP) or BD501 Horn Silica to balance and strength the connection between earth and light.


With the light and warmth energies at it’s highest at this time of the year, Christine suggests contemplating the cosmic forces and imagining that the cosmic energy are drawing us up into the highest aspect of ourselves.

In contrast to the Winter Solstice which is calling in the earthly forces and drawing us downwards.

With the days being longer, our energy levels are naturally higher than in winter, you may want to think about how you’re going to use the extra energy and day light at this time of year. Do you want to spend more time and connect more deeply with family and friends? Or do you feel like it’s time to rest, or to focus on introspection?

Full Moon and Planting Schedule

We also have the full moon happening on Sunday the 19th and the moon is in opposition with Saturn next Thursday so here’s a suggestion of how to schedule getting some new seeds going and into the garden next week.

Today/Friday – Soak seeds (approximately three days before the full moon).

Saturday or Sunday – Plant seeds in seedling tray – Christine recommends Saturday as it’s a root day. Around the full moon with it still in descending phase.

Next Thursday – Plant seedlings into the ground (Moon in opposition to Saturn) – moon has started to ascend so hopefully will draw energy up into producing leaves!

Christine recommends trying out basil, coriander or parsley

Festivals Recording from Cosmic and Earthly Impulses Workshop

If you’re feeling inspired about celebration, festivals and connection, we have something very special for you.

At the recent Cosmic and Earthly Impulses workshop we recorded Ineke Mulder speaking on “Renewing the Festivals of a Biodynamic Farm”

Ineke has generously donated this to the Biodynamic Association and as a member, you can purchase the audio of the lecture for just $10. Your contribution will go towards more online Biodynamic Education 🙌🏻

Listen to it while sowing your seedings into the ground next Thursday!