Biomimicry Workshop (Kāpiti Coast, February 2017)

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.

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


Dates: 17-19 February 2017
Location: Waihōanga Centre, 32 Waihōanga Road, Ōtaki Gorge, Wellington
Cost: $700 (early bird $650 by 15 December)


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 which is in walking distance of the Ōtaki River and close to the Papaitonga Scenic Reserve, containing the only intact sequence from wetland to mature dry terrace forest in Wellington and Horowhenua.

What to Expect

Biomimicry is the philosophy, science and art of applying strategies that life has refined over 3.8 billion years of evolution to solve human design problems. It is an innovative, collaborative approach 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 by discovering the local genius of this region through walks, outdoor activities and design exercises
  • 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 is located one hour north of Wellington below Tararua Forest Park. The centre is surrounded by pine forest and within walking distance of a waterfall and the fresh flowing waters of the Ōtaki River.

Biomimicry Workshop Attendees

Who Should Join?

  • Anyone interested in exploring a magnificent wilderness and the genius of nature (guided by an experienced biomimic and naturalist)
  • Individuals, designers, engineers, biologists, ecologists, architects, entrepreneurs, permaculture practitioners,economists, organisations or businesses wanting to explore 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 TonerJane Toner, Biomimicry Australia

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

Jane is an architect and Australia’s first Certified Biomimicry Professional. She is one of the co-founders of the Melbourne Living Future Collaborative, and the founder of Biomimicry Australia. 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 StephensonTink Stephenson, Biomimicry Aotearoa

Tink 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 PageBrent Page, Nature’s Way

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 an 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.


  • Course materials
  • Two nights accommodation at Waihōanga Wellness Centre
  • Delicious wholesome locally sourced fresh breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (special dietary needs can be catered for)
  • 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)
Waihōanga Wellness Centre
Waihōanga Wellness Centre