Our History

A historic image of the family farm

Rural Design was originally established in 1984 in partnership with Dennis Scott. Dennis has now established his own successful business (DJ Scott & Associates) which is now a jointly owned company and his time is now predominantly preoccupied with this business.

Integrated catchment management, Landuse Diversity and Biodiversity started as the core theme and is still central to our work today. 

Recent aerial photo of the family farm in Kaiwaka

Bill Worsfold was born on the Bowmar family farm in 1948 which was originally settled by his great grandparents in the 1860s. Bill went to school in the local area and finished his schooling at Northland Agricultural College before coming back and helping his mother and father to continue the family dairy farm operation. The farm was steadily improved with production increasing as the land was intensified. Bill's parents Hamlyn and Josephine were strong advocates for environmental protection, and large areas of indigenous bush and wetlands were protected. Extensive plantings continued and the farm operation was eventually developed as a sustainable farm model and environmental enhancement work continues to the present day.

Bill met Beverley Jackson (aka) in the late 1970's. Bev came from the Waikato region and was bought up by her parents who were involved in the race horse industry. Bill and Bev married in the late 1970’s and proceeded to start a family. In the early 1980's Bill and Bev became involved in the Permaculture Institute looking at long-term solutions for land management. In this time, Bill obtained a three-year Diploma in Permaculture. The interest in Permaculture sparked Bill's passion for sustainable landuse and became  a key tool in the creation of Rural Design.

Rural Design operates its office in Kaiwaka on the Worsfold Farm. Since starting out with Rural Design, original founder Bill Worsfold has been involved from the design and planning process through to implementation of the largest re-vegetation projects in New Zealand. Bill's sons Heath and Eden along with Beverly, are now Directors of Rural Design 1984 Limited; they both have significant experience working with large subdivision developments, small block advisory, local land use advisory and support to farmers, private landowners and Iwi in the Upper North Island regions. Work continues to grow strongly to this day and Rural Design is now able to support members of the family and employees from the local community. Rural Design has installed a large-scale native plant nursery on the farm with the ability to produce in excess of one million plants annually.

Over the last four years Rural Design has worked with the aid of the Game Bird Habitat Trust to establish wetland plantings and habitat for fauna. This has proved a major success.

Wetlands located at the back of Worsfold farm.

Wetlands located at the back of Worsfold farm.


Throughout the history and development of Rural Design 1984 Limited, the family farm has remained a central working implementation model and provides examples of how integrated catchment management and multiple income streams can be achieved on agricultural farmland. Large areas of the farm wetlands, existing indigenous bush, planted erosion prone areas and catchment drainage channels have been fenced and re-vegetated with native and exotic vegetation and forestry in concord with a highly successful and productive agricultural unit. Volcanic eruption soil deposits have been utilised for the home gardens and orchard areas. 

For the majority of the time, the farm was run as a dairy unit with approximately 250 cows at its peak with beef to supplement the farm topography. In 2003 with market uncertainty, low milk prices and poor soil type not conducive to heavy cloven animals in winter months, Bill Worsfold decided to retire from dairying and turn to beef fattening and dairy grazing while continuing to concentrate on Rural Design as a business. 

The Rural Design nursery was constructed in 2014 to compliment our implementation process by ensuring plant quality, supply and diversity of species.

The Rural Design nursery was constructed in 2014 to compliment our implementation process by ensuring plant quality, supply and diversity of species.