Catholic Worker Community in Hokianga

We are spending a few days up in the north with the Catholic Worker community who are spread over various low-tech farms in the Whirnaki/Opononi area of the Hokianga harbour, a site famous for the entry of Methodist and Catholic missionaries into New Zealand in the 1700’s.

House truck

Great people. Some of them are fourth generation Catholic family members who have been here since Peter Land – philosopher/farmer – moved here a few decades ago. The community here is “screen free” so I am blogging near the beach so I don’t have to violate the vibe. Like Dorothy Day, there is an anarchist bent here which is related more to pacifism than vandalism and, mixed with a Catholic ethos and a heart for the poor, its a good place view the world from Christ’s perspective.


We have parked the truck at St Francis Farm but the kids have been hanging out at the “Clarehouse” in Opononi which is where a lot of the hospitality to travelers takes place.

What are we learning?

We are learning that despite how simple and sacrificial we think our nomadic lifestyle is, these people really know how to live with less and live off the land in a way that is effective and happy without being weird or self-righteous. They use solar power, hand-powered everything, clydesdales to pull carts, and one of husbands told me the most expensive thing they buy is tea leaves. We are talking of further downgrading our lifestyle and not being so OPULENT. 

One of the signs here, next to a 1940’s house truck, says “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Live simply so that others may simply live

Other bloggers who have been here: Fiona and Lauren.

Related on TSK: What Dorothy Day might teach bloggers on TSK


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Joanna says:

    It’s a pity they are screen free, there is perhaps a lot that people could learn from such sustainability don’t you think?

  • Joseph McAuley says:

    Please say hello to my friend Tyler if you get a chance. Joseph McAuley

  • David says:

    Thanks Andrew. They sound like an amazing community – good on them.
    The “Live simply so that others can simply live” is a powerful slogan. However, it would be interesting to explore if/how living a self-sufficient subsistence lifestyle actually helps other people ‘simply live’. (And I’m not saying that this community claims to live by this slogan). I understand that the whole world can’t live at western materialism levels – but it seems (to me) that there is argument that living an interactive lifestyle, including using goods produced by fairly-paid workers in poorer countries, and generating surplus finance to give towards helping the poor, is potentially contributing more to ‘helping others simply live’ than a self-sufficient lifestyle would. It has seemed to me in the past that people who pursue a self-sufficient lifestyle (I mean lifestylers – not christian communities) are actually being relatively selfish.
    Happy travels

  • David says:

    Andrew – how is the screen absence going for you? How are you coping with lack of technology? (and how will all your blog-groupie-fans cope while you are being a ludite?)

  • Love that quote at the end. I also love how they are living. My family would like to do something like it as well, but of course with screens.

Leave a Reply