Farewell to our Rangatira

This post won't be long as many thoughts, videos, pictures, memories, anecdotes have been shared over the past two weeks since Bill Worsfold (our husband, father, colleague and friend) passed away. As the co-founder of Rural Design, Bill was a forward thinker. His love was the whenua and its patterns. This passion grew into a business aimed at spreading the gospel of sustainable land use. 


A celebration of his life was held on Wednesday the 18th of January at the family farm where Bill grew up, raised his family, implemented his vision and recently, passed away. Bill's final words before his death were 'I'm home'. While a sad day for his many friends and family, the message that shone through was that Bill was a man of both the people and the land. He shared a 40 year love with his wife Beverly and they cherished their four sons, all of whom have followed the philosophy of their father.

Bill had a love of the community and through his business and links with his sons friends, touched the lives of many youth. He enjoyed helping people; Eden commented during his speech, "how Dad had become more content when Rural Design was able to keep employees on over the quieter summer months." The large cross section of people present at the funeral was a positive reflection on the life Bill led, and how he was viewed by the wider community. Bill will be sorely missed by all those he touched. His legacy lives on through his whanau, farm, and Rural Design. 

Billy at Northern Bass.jpg

Toetoe or Pampas?

Pampas (Cordaderia selloana) is a plague on the northern landscapes of New Zealand. Often confused for the native plant Toetoe (Austroderia) , which comes in five subspecies (A. toetoeA. fulvidaA. splendensA. richardii and A. turbaria).

Pampas grows quickly and is tough to remove, it acts in direct opposition to the two native toetoe species that are stocked by Rural Design and prominent in the north (A. fulvidaA. splendens). 

Toetoe: Note the drooping flower heads

Toetoe: Note the drooping flower heads

Landcare research has a table which outlines the key differences between the two plants. The key visual difference that is easy spottable erect flower of the pampus against the drooping flower of the toetoe. Toetoe are excellent ground cover and can grow in a variety of locations and soil types. A. splendens is a coastal variety that can handle sandier and drier locations, whereas A. fulvida likes wetter locations. 

Pampas: With erect flower heads.

Pampas: With erect flower heads.

What is happening to our Fauna?


The article above highlights the importance of monitoring the health of our native species. The article is relevant, considering the recent news around ambitious government plans to make NZ pest free by 2030, and the state of our waterways.

What are our canary species? The first that comes to mind is the fairy tern, which is under threat from introduced species such as rats, stoats, dogs and cats. Organisations such as DOC and the New Zealand Fairy Tern Charitable Trust are striving to maintain and improve on breeding numbers. Rural Design sees the restoration of habitat (Natural coastal shrub-land and dune restoration)  as important to helping the fairy tern survive. 

The next question.......What would be our keystone species? The Black-billed and Red-billed Gull (Seagulls as we know them). If so the news isn't good. Population of both coastal species are on the decline. The Black-billed Gull especially is under threat. Predominantly found in the South Island, the bird has recently expanded as far north as our own Kaipara Harbour.

The information above and associated linked articles, underline the importance of restoring our catchment systems with native vegetation; to provide natural habitat for our fauna, and to filter what is ending up in our estuaries, harbours and oceans.


Black-billed Gull (Source: http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/black-billed-gull)

Black-billed Gull (Source: http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/black-billed-gull)