Kāpiti Coast Biomimicry Workshop


Biomimicry Aotearoa and Biomimicry Australia are thrilled to present a 2½ day introduction to Biomimicry at Ōtaki on the southwest of New Zealand’s North Island.

We will explore the forest, the shores of the mighty Ōtaki River, the wetland and lush north island coastal forest bordering Papaitonga dune lake, and the intertidal zone of Kuku Beach seeking inspiration in Nature’s forms, processes and systems.

Come with us, slow down, and reconnect with Nature. Discover and be inspired by the unique organisms of New Zealand and, through collaborative design exercises, learn to translate their strategies for thriving into design solutions that are sustainable and resilient.

Image above: Lake Papaitonga (By Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)


New Zealand is home to many unique organisms that have evolved in isolation for 85 million years to meet the specific conditions of their environment, something that we as a species can aspire to.

We’ll be taking up residence in the restful Waihōanga Centre for Well-being in walking distance of the Otaki River and close to the Papaitonga Scenic Reserve, containing the only intact sequence from wetland to mature dry terrace forest in Wellington and Horowhenua.

Image: Papaitonga wetland. Photo: Paul Knight https://envirohistorynz.com/2009/12/06/papaitonga-hidden-jewel-of-horowhenua/

What to Expect

Biomimicry is the philosophy, science and art of applying nature’s genius to solve human design problems. It is an innovative discipline that brings together multiple disciplines to address product, process, and system design challenges by learning from, and working with, nature. Biomimicry is rooted in a deep respect for nature’s wisdom, a profound connection with the natural systems, of which we are part, and the conscious emulation of life’s genius.

Participants will be guided to systematically step through the Biomimicry Thinking process and tools, learning when they are best applied to design projects to create optimal benefit. The workshop will provide hands on practice in translating biological strategies drawn from “place” to generate innovative solutions.

Through this immersion workshop you will:

  • Deepen your connection with Nature
  • Discover the local genius of this region through walks and outdoor activities
  • Translate Nature’s strategies into design principles and develop solutions that create conditions conducive to life
  • Collaborate with others to apply biomimicry design tools to real human design challenges


Waihōanga Centre for Well-being is located one hour North of Wellington below Tararua Forest Park on the edge of the Otaki River Gorge. Waihōanga is surrounded by pine forest teeming with many varieties of birds and within walking distance of a waterfall and the fresh flowing waters of the Otaki River.

Who should join?

  • Anyone interested in exploring a magnificent wilderness and the genius of nature (guided by an experienced biomimic, naturalist and local experts)
  • Individuals, designers, engineers, biologists, ecologists, architects, entrepreneurs, permaculture practitioners,economists, organisations or businesses wanting to explore the genius of nature in depth to inspire innovation and creativity.
  • Existing biomimicry practitioners, specialists, professionals, researchers educators or students who want to expand their practice of biomimicry.


JANE TONER, Founder Biomimicry Australia 

Certified Biomimicry Professional & Biomimicry Specialist, Architect AIA, Green Star AP, Living Building Challenge Ambassador & Facilitator (volunteer), One Planet Living Integrator

jane-toner_head-copyJane is an architect and Australia’s first Certified Biomimicry Professional. She is the founder of Biomimicry Australia and one of the co-founders of the Melbourne Living Future Collaborative. Jane is passionate about the potential of Biomimicry to contribute to designs that are environmentally regenerative, socially just and joyous. She is a strong advocate for the integration of biomimicry at the earliest stage of a project and sees playfulness and intra-disciplinary collaboration as the keys to successful sustainable design outcomes.

TINK STEPHENSON, Founder of Biomimicry Aotearoa

tink2-1Tink is the founder of Biomimicry Aotearoa, founder of ElementAll (a sustainable clothing design business) and experienced facilitator. She participated in a five day immersive biomimicry workshop with Biomimicry 3.8 in 2009 and has continued to integrate biomimicry into her design work, her clothing business and in the permaculture farm she and her husband Adam are developing on the Kāpiti Coast.

BRENT PAGE, Ecologist

Brent is an ecologist with specialised training in plant – insect interactions.  He has spent 20 years in research science as an entomologist studying the dynamics of disinfestation techniques on a range of horticultural crops.  Currently he is the director of a urban pest control company “Nature’s way” with a core philosophy of engaging ecologically sustainable and environmentally benign control techniques in association with urban pest issues.


  • Dates: Friday 17th – Sunday 19thh February, 2017
  • Location: Waihōanga Centre for Well-being 32 Waihoanga Rd, Otaki, Wellington 5582, New Zealand
  • Cost: Early bird price $650 for registrations by 15 December, standard price $700.
  • Bookings: To register email Tink and Jane at biomimicryaotearoa@gmail.com


  • Course materials
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Delicious wholesome locally-sourced fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Special dietary needs can be catered to. Menu plans at Waihōanga are created with health & well-being in mind, and recipes are shared with the group participants to replicate when they go home.

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