Our New Zealand Center

Shangri-La is Gentle World’s vegan education center located in the beautiful countryside of the Far North of New Zealand. We assumed stewardship of the land in the year 2000, and have welcomed countless volunteers since then to live, learn and practice the vegan ethic.

Our team of volunteers facilitates a range of educational experiences, including veganic gardening classes, vegan cooking demonstrations and hands-on lessons in practical ecology and sustainability. Gentle World is proud to be among the first in NZ to innovate in the field of veganic agriculture, including developing a humane method of orchard possum-proofing.

Please note that our NZ center is open only during the summer months, and is closed to visitors from the end of March until the beginning of December. We are currently closed for an indeterminate period due to COVID travel restrictions.

Restoring the Land

Shangri-La: A model of cooperative vegan living & agriculture

Gentle World’s New Zealand educational center is located in the Far North of the North Island, just south of the town of Kaitaia.

Shangri-La is a vegan sanctuary created on land that was once used for animal farming. Within the first year, our volunteers restored the derelict old farm house to be used as facilities for our visitor center, as well as removing a corral, a sheep shearing shed, and miles of barbed-wire fencing, in order to bring a close to the property’s former chapter.

In their place, we planted hundreds of fruit trees, expansive vegan-organic gardens, fields of flowers, and fragrant flowering shrubs and trees to provide a haven for butterflies, bees and native pollinators.

For over 20 years now, our dedicated team has spent New Zealand summers transforming this magnificent piece of countryside into an international site for vegan education, where people now come from all over the world to learn about the ‘whys and hows’ of vegan living.

bench under trees new zealand

Spreading The Message

Thank you for showing me this beautiful place. During these past 11 days, I’ve learned a lot about veganic gardening, communal living and also even more about veganism. I leave here even more passionate about veganism, and

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tree trimming

A Better Reality

Three years ago, we were fortunate enough to meet two wonderful people who came to us from Italy, and volunteered in Shangri-La for two seasons in a row, becoming part of our communal family for a time.

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Dearest GW Family…

Today, it has been one month since I was part of your lovely community and worked in the garden. I felt so calm and at peace in Gentle World and everything felt good. I realized there, in that beautiful spot,

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Watch

People come to Gentle World from all over to learn from our team of vegan educators, all of whom have been vegan for anywhere from two to five decades. Here are some videos that share Gentle World’s story and the experiences our visitors have – in their own words. 

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Veganic Education

Garden therapy and humane agriculture

Many of our visitors are vegans who want to learn how to grow their own food without the use of animal products. At both of our visitor center locations, our demonstration gardens show the principles of veganic growing in action.

Our visitors are given the opportunity to learn, through hands-on experience, how to grow wholesome plant foods not only organically (which is without the use of chemicals) but veganically, which is without the use of any animal by-products.

Just as vegans avoid animal products in the rest of our lives, we also avoid using animal products in the garden, such as blood and bone, feather meal, fish emulsion, and manures. As these products may carry harmful pathogens from intensive animal production operations, vegan-organic gardening is also a safer, healthier way to grow.

In veganic growing situations, soil fertility is maintained using vegetable compost, green manures, crop rotation, mulching, and other sustainable, ecological methods.

See our veganic gardening resources for more information about this future-focused method of growing, as well as tips to grow your own food veganically.

Baby green plant seedlings growing in soil

Veganic Growing in Action

It’s always a joy to give people the opportunity to reconnect with where the food we eat comes from, and the veganic cultivation of plant foods is a beautiful thing to take part in.

CONTINUE READING
A wide shot of one of Gentle World's veganic gardens in Shangri-La, New Zealand

Shangri-La’s Veganic Magic

Gentle World’s master grower Magic Rees has hit a home run with his 2021 veganic ventures. Our readers were given a first glimpse of the new garden last September, and we are now over the moon to see his efforts quite literally coming to fruition.

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Garden Therapy

The expansion of Shangri-La’s veganic growing will help us to provide even more farm-fresh veganic produce to our future guests and volunteers, as well as those participating in Te Whare Rongoa’s plant-based nutrition counseling program.

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pink flower supporting a single buzzing bee

My Vegan Corner of the World

My little corner of the world is a memorial garden to my best canine friend. I intentionally mixed in flowers throughou, both to attract pollinators, and because they brings color to my world even when the sun isn’t shining.

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Meet Magic

Shangri-La's master grower and veganic educator

Under the caring hand of master veganic grower Magic Rees, our gardens have become abundant providers of a varied array of nutritious farm-fresh leafy greens, as well as celery, carrots and beets, cucumbers, sweet corn, tomatoes, butternut squash, potatoes, sweet onions, and even watermelons.

In the years since he’s been working with Gentle World, Magic has become a friend and teacher to countless people at Gentle World’s New Zealand center. Visitors from all over the world count themselves fortunate to have worked alongside him, while sharing in his valuable knowledge, and learning how they can benefit from the vegan way of living and gardening.

As our pictures show, we haven’t had a problem generating bumper harvests with our veganic methods. 

Not only do our gardens produce an abundance of different veggies, we also enjoy delicious veganic fruits such as our very own plums, pears, apples, blueberries, avocados, and mandarin oranges.

Veganic gardener Magic Rees kneels next to his corn crop at Gentle World's New Zealand center

Gardening with Magic

Magic Rees has been an organic grower since 1980. In 1989, he co-founded the Far North Organics Association in New Zealand, for which he served as Farm Certifier for 10 years. In 2000, he became Shangri-La’s head gardener and veganic educator.

blue sky heart clouds scaled e1626836251181

Dearest GW Family…

Today, it has been one month since I was part of your lovely community and worked in the garden. I felt so calm and at peace in Gentle

Read More »
White and yellow daisies

A New Path

In December of 2015, on a very sunny spring day, I arrived at this hidden valley in the far north of New Zealand. My first week in

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Agricultural Innovation

Case study: Non-violent possum-proofing for orchards

New Zealand farmers struggle to keep their crops protected against the appetites of possums, whose experience in fruit and vegetable farms seems to be much like that of ‘a kid in a candy store’. As a result, most New Zealand growers consider possum-killing efforts to be an essential part of their farming operations.

Farming with possums presents a specific challenge to our growing efforts, and for years our fruit trees were unable to produce due to being attacked and ravaged.

Unwilling to compromise on our vegan ethic, our innovative volunteers developed a cutting-edge aluminum orchard collar that actually prohibits possums from jumping into the trees and sampling the fruit.

The next few seasons were a test to see whether the trees would recover, but we are proud to announce that the initiative has been a success, and our orchards are now fruitful indeed!

We’re proud to be pioneering some of the first truly nonviolent solutions to this situation, and we hope to inspire other farms to do the same.

The possum-proof fence around Gentle World's newest garden bed in New Zealand

Farming with Possums

With Shangri-La surrounded by native bush, we’ve had to find creative ways to live and farm alongside these persistent garden explorers. Living with possums presents a challenge, but we focus on finding nonviolent solutions.

A monarch chrysalis hands from a stunning red sunflower in a brightly-colored flower garden

Creating Magic…

My experiences here have kindled a new fire in me, so instead of story-telling I jumped right to the processing. What am I learning here? The questions keep coming…

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A woman blindfolded in a black eye mask, with black background

You Can’t Return to Ignorance

On the one hand, the decision seemed pretty easy. On the other hand, my parents own a farm. They raise animals for meat, and my mum milks cows for a living. So, I had a big crisis on my hands about how to bring those alternative points of view in line.

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Black and white image of two hands holding each other by a window

Enjoying the Riches of the Vegan Lifestyle

Back in April, we received a beautiful letter from Eric and Lilly, two of our all-time favorite penpals who came to visit as wwoofers back in 2010, and have stayed in touch ever since about their vegan-making ventures.

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Partnering

Teaming up with Te Whare Rongoā (House of Medicine)

For several years now, Gentle World has provided farm-sourced vegan catering and veganic produce for the Te Whare Rongoā program, as well as partnering on various educational events and cooking classes at their location in Kaitaia town.

In order to provide an even greater variety of plant-foods to their participants, the team at Te Whare Rongoā helped us to expand the Shangri-La gardens in 2019, sponsoring the fencing of an entirely new garden site.

hebe flower

Partnering with Te Whare Rongoā

Serving NZ’s Far North community with a high percentage of Maori clients, Te Whare Rongoā (House of Medicine) offers well-being services through education in plant-based food and herbal medicine.

Guests attending Gentle World's vegan film screening in Kaitaia, New Zealand

A Vegan Evening in Kaitaia, NZ

Gentle World is continuing our summer education program in New Zealand’s Far North, collaborating once again with Te Whare Rongoā for our first event at the

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Vegan author Will Tuttle speaking on stage

An Afternoon with Will Tuttle

Gentle World’s latest vegan event was a blend of philosophy and food. Dr. Tuttle provided the philosophy, and Gentle World provided the delicious food that is the reward for living in alignment with that philosophy.

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Vegan Cooking & Catering

Vegan cooking classes

Whenever we host events to spread the world about vegan living, we often receive requests to follow up with an in-person cooking class. 

As well as demonstrating some of our favorite vegan recipes, we always make a point of providing an introduction to various vegan products that are available at the supermarkets and health food stores, showing that it’s easier than ever to be vegan.

Gentle World catering

Gentle World has a proud, multi-decade history of catering healthy, delicious vegan food. We welcome the opportunity to exercise our creative cooking skills, while demonstrating how scrumptious and satisfying vegan food can be. 

Wherever possible, we include produce from our own veganic gardens – including potatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini and fresh sweet corn.

Woman Holding A Place With Vegan Food From A Cooking Class at The Herb Shack New Zealand

Sharing the Joy of Vegan Cooking

On Saturday, March 12th, Gentle World volunteers hosted a free vegan cooking class at our favorite NZ venue: The Herb Shack. With 22 attendees who showed lots of interest in the vegan culinary techniques, the day was a fantastic success!

How You Can Help

What you can do to help us awaken the vegan in everyone:

Become vegan
If you’re not yet vegan, this is the most significant thing you can do. In today’s world, billions upon billions of nonhuman animals are exploited to serve human purposes, just like human slaves. Their owners are legally entitled to subject them to unimaginable cruelty in the name of profit, convenience, and fulfilling the desires of consumers. Every non-vegan choice contributes to this atrocity. The rising tide of vegans, on the other hand, is the hope these enslaved individuals have for emancipation from this brutal existence.

Help others to become vegan
Moral paradigm shifts do not cause themselves. They are caused by small groups of people within society who persistently educate others why change is necessary. By becoming an advocate for veganism, you can join a growing, positive, and peaceful movement to foster respect for the natural world, protect and restore public health, and most important, to end the social acceptability of violence and injustice inflicted on our fellow animals.

Make use of the GW resources
We share the best of what we publish on our newsletter and on our social media channels, and we pride ourselves on providing high-quality, informative content that also inspires the reader. When you encounter material of ours that touches you, you can help increase its impact by sharing it with your own friends and followers.

Write for us!
If writing is your thing, and you’re passionate about using your talents to help, consider becoming a contributor to the Gentle World website. We’re currently open to submissions for our Vegan Living section, so if you have the knowledge and the skill, please feel free to reach out and introduce yourself.

Make a financial contribution
You can
make a one-time or recurring donation here. You can also support us by visiting our online store, and by using the affiliate links on our site. Partnerships with select vegan companies are one of the ways we raise funds for our educational programs.