Rainbow Valley is at the end of a rural road, 11 km from Takaka in Golden Bay. On one side, the community is bordered by Kahurangi National Park.
The Anatoki River separates off 40 acres of our land, now being left to regenerate into native forest.
The remaining 210 acres includes our farm, houses, gardens, orchards and community buildings.
In the 1850s, the valley experienced a brief gold rush. From the 1940s it was farmed, and milled for timber. Our Community House is built on the former sawmill site.
During the 1970s there was a surge of interest in what was termed the “back to the land” movement. For some, communal living and shared land was becoming a desirable alternative to conventional, suburban living.
Many intentional communities were started in New Zealand at that time, including some on government-owned land. Only a few survive to this day, though some have morphed into eco-villages.
Our Community was founded in the spring of 1974, under the ownership of Rainbow Valley Company. The land was then mostly in rough, weedy pasture, with broken-down fencing.
The only building on the property, an old hay barn, was promptly put to use as accommodation.
Gardens were created - all water had to be carted from the nearby creek. A house cow was milked, and washing was done in the river. We were young and idealistic, and thought we could do anything!
Collectively, we learnt from each other and our mistakes.
For the first ten years, we lived without mains electricity. Our first houses were built without the aid of power tools. We shared one vehicle, and had no refrigeration or other mod cons.
However, our families thrived. Babies were born, home schooling ventured, a possum fur industry begun and a beef breeding farm established.
Today the land has a well-maintained feel about it. A healthy cared-for farm, with houses gracing established gardens.
Many trees have been planted, transforming Rainbow into a valley rich in diverse beauty and tranquillity.