The Seed Campaign

The Seed Campaign 01
Over the last 30 years, Kay Baxter and her husband Bob Corker have collected one of New Zealand’s most comprehensive assortments of heritage fruit trees, vegetable seeds and perennials (almost 1000 unique cultivars). Initially this was a private family business, but in 1997 they realised the importance of the collection they had gathered and placed it within a charitable trust to provide the appropriate status and protection for the benefit of the NZ public.

Over the years that they have maintained this collection It has become increasingly clear to Kay and Bob of the huge importance of what they have been protecting. The passing of time has granted them the knowledge to understand that the future of agriculture and health (both locally and within the wider world) lies in the development of systems of farming and food production that creates biological systems that retain biological and ecological diversity to create resilience and abundance.

What’s Important about the Collection

  • These seeds are our Taonga (treasure) they represent thousands of years of co-evolution that have been passed on down from generation to generation.
  • They represent seeds that the gardeners have selected for their ability to adapt to this land and our climate over many generations.
  • They hold enormous potential to be used in ecological farming and gardening which we believe is the future of our grand children’s health and nourishment (the United Nations is advocating a return to ecological farming methods).
  • In a world where we are increasingly becoming aware of the degenerative nature of much of modern agriculture and its narrow genetic base these seed represent our future as well as our past. The precautionary principle suggests we are unwise to abandon them and the emerging science of epigenetics encourages us to see their importance to our future health. 1000’s of research projects show their critical nutritional value.
  • The Collection contains some extremely valuable seed lines that relate strongly back to the lands our ancestors came from. Many of these heritage seed lines are now extinct in their native lands and is of immeasurable importance they are preserved for a time when they could be returned to the decsedents of the gardeners who once treasured them.
  • The Collection is part of the plant heritage of the world with seeds from England, Scotland, Dalmatia (Croatian Gumdiggers) China (early Gold miners) French and many others.
  • All corn cultivars in the Collection are pure non-GMO contaminated (due to isolation from pollen transfer) and could be extremely valuable to re-establish heritage corn lines in central and south America where the corn is all contaminated.
  • For more information or to help with the worthy cause, please visit;–3

    Supporting the Collection

    It costs Koanga more than $400,000 annually to maintain the collection, make these seeds available to the public and run the educational courses that support the future development of gardeners and the seed (not to mention the countless voluntary hours committed)

    Our annual income from our retail sales, memberships and education is essential to maintaining the collection and whilst we have been able to offset most of the financial needs of Koanga through these efforts most years it is becoming harder to continue and we often fall short. With this level of activity we are still not able to maintain all the seeds nor are we able to do justice to the facilities, educational outreach and research required to fully realise the potential of the seeds and the knowledge we have accumulated over the last 30 years.

    Whilst this has never been an ideal situation Kay and Bob have continued to work tirelessly and the collection has been maintained for the last 30 years but it is time for change. Simply put it is far too important for the legacy of our ancestors to be reliant on a few volunteers. As much as Kay and Bob have enjoyed the journey of being “kaitiaki” (guardian) to the seed we need to ensure the future viability of the collection and it’s time to find a different way forward that offers security and growth for the collection. Kay and Bob are getting older and need to retire from the management and daily work of the collection.


    Kay and Bob have come to the realisation that these are the seeds (and as such the past, present and future) of our nation and the collection must be supported by the nation if it is to survive.

    The New Zealand Heritage food plant collection can only be saved for future generations of New Zealanders by the people of this nation. It is all of us that must save these seeds. It is up to us, the time is now.

    Use of Funds

    Koanga is aiming to raise $250,000 annually to support the collection and its continued growth, these funds will be used to pay the wages of the garden staff ( four growing annual seeds, one growing perennials and one collecting and saving and tending the fruit tree collection) plus the person managing the Collection as a whole.

    With this in place the funds we continue to raise through our commercial activities will be used for business expenses and development to ensure the future security of the collection

    Contact Us

    For more information or to help with the worthy cause, please visit;–3

    Or via email:



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