meet the deatons

The local family behind landescape

Juliet (aka Marjer or Marj), Rik (aka Farjer or Farj), Spencer, Stirling and Bayne have had the joy of living in the wonderful town of Wanaka since 2008, but our connection to and love of the area began many years before.

Juliet (aka Marjer or Marj), Rik (aka Farjer or Farj), Spencer, Stirling and Bayne have had the joy of living in the wonderful town of Wanaka since 2008, but our connection to and love of the area began many years before.  My mother Jean Bayne lived and worked at the Hermitage at Mount Cook for a period and liked to tell of how she used to go tramping and climbing with her friend Ed Hillary. Then my brother Paul became an Alpine Guide at Cook.  He has climbed Mount Cook itself about 17 times and also summited Mt. Everest in 1988. Then he became the Head Guide for the local Wanaka heli-ski operation. Both born into families of travellers, surfers, skiers, climbers and adventure seekers, Rik has skied, surfed and flown hang-gliders around the world and I had also travelled extensively before we met.  Rik and I had made many trips from our home in the Northern Beaches of Sydney to the South Island of New Zealand by 1991 when we discovered and purchased the stunningly beautiful farming property we now call LandEscape.

The day we first experienced this astonishing piece of paradise, with its secluded location just minutes away from town, the rolling hills that lead the eye down to the crystal-clear waters of Lake Hawea, the dramatic horizon of mountain ranges and intervening valleys as far as the eye can see and the endless activities and adventures that awaited, we knew this was where we wanted our family to live and flourish.

We officially made the move “over the ditch” from Australia in 2008 and spent four delightful years enjoying our new home before following another long held dream, taking the whole Deaton family on a three year motorhome trip around Europe. Having travelled this way ourselves many times in the past we knew we wanted to give our sons the opportunity to benefit from the amazing insights and experiences such a family journey makes possible.

Rik and I already had a very strong and long held interest in renewable energy systems and technologies.  Rik in particular is deeply knowledgeable on these systems, on energy efficiency in the built environment and the philosophies underpinning them and will talk to anyone about these topics on the slightest provocation for as long as they will stand still and listen … so be careful if he corners you and gets started!  He describes himself as an energy evangelist, although not, he hastens to add, an energy martyr. During that wonderful family journey we discovered many exciting new renewable energy innovations and initiatives taking place across the European continent as we visited demonstration centres such as The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales and The Nordic Folk Centre in Denmark and at vast trade fairs such as InterSolar in Munich, EcoBuild in London and World Sustainable Energy Days in Wels, Austria.  

We have immense admiration for what these pioneers of rational energy systems and policies had achieved on pure passion, rare insight and shoestring budgets.  Thanks to the ground-breaking work done by these visionaries decades ago, it is clear that Europe is now well on its way to independence from fossil fuel usage.  To see the vast installed capacity of both wind and solar power that one drives by every day in Europe is to know this to be true.

We returned home to our stunning property with an arsenal of knowledge on these energy systems and an unshakable drive to provide both our local community and the visitors who are drawn to this unique place from around the globe, with a fun, relaxing and informative travel experience set within an infrastructure so based and with a strong educational dimension as its background philosophy and ethos.  A chance for people to immerse themselves in our stunning natural surroundings and perhaps also learn a little about the renewable energy based systems powering their experience. LandEscape Wanaka, our 300 acre farming property, is without doubt the perfect setting to create this place where visitors can truly ‘lose their mind and come to their senses’.

A bold vision in the making, we begin with our first stage e-bike offering which will be quickly followed by wood-fired hot tubs set in spectacular locations about the property.  In short order these will convert from on-board fire boxes to a sophisticated underground integrated district heat and power micro-grid energised by solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, heat recovery from an in-vessel thermophilic composter, a wood gasification boiler and the efficient storage, use and re-use of energy and heat.  All buildings will be constructed to, or close to, Passiv Haus energy efficiency standards that will render them as PlusEnergy buildings. Flushing toilets will be eliminated and water will be utilised mindfully and reused in irrigation. Agricultural production will continue on the farm following organic and Permaculture farming principles and with a strong emphasis on Local-for-Local food production.

We will then work towards LandEscape becoming a full scale tourism development operating as a true sustainability demonstration centre along the lines of those we visited in Europe. No eco-babble or greenwashing here, just real world solutions to very real world extant civilisation level problems.

We are very excited to invite you to visit LandEscape Wanaka, find out more about our vision and follow our journey from passionate beginnings to the renewable energy tourism heart of New Zealand.

Juliet Deaton … Wanaka, New Zealand