I’m adding my little google juice to Dave Farrar at Kiwiblog and Fair Go. Earthwise Valley is, astoundingly, still in operation. It deserves to be shut down. Kiwis should picket this place, hostels should paste warnings on their bulletin boards and the fair trading act should be invoked if possible.
Here is one visitor’s recommendation:
“It was an empty field with a pile of junk in the middle of it, with no gardens and no facilties, basically nothing there. It’s definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth”
The real google juice will come if your anchor text to the articles refers to Earth Wise Valley itself….
I can definitely understand the desire to protect foreigners and others in New Zealand from being scammed and getting a bad feeling from this great country.
As a two time volunteer with Jon Traylen (once at Tararu Valley in 2006 and also these past 4 months at Earthwise Valley) I can tell you that the biggest scam and of what you are reading is actually Fair Go. Earthwise Valley is a legit volunteer program in conservation and sustainable living, and is not a scam.
All of the bad internet juju about Earthwise Valley is coming actually only from one source, and that is Fair Go. Everyone else has just seen that one story, but has not actually experienced it or seen it. All Fair Go wanted out of that was an interesting story to make money, and that is exactly what they got. What everyone does not see are the lies, the omitting information (the fact that there were far more positive testimonials sent to Fair Go which did not fit their storyline), and that a well off corporation with money to spare on lawyers is basically robbing a small time operation which is in fact doing good for New Zealand tourism and ecology and cannot afford to spend money on lawyers to fight back.
I have very much enjoyed my time there and have learned so much about New Zealand, sustainable living, conservation, and even about group living and myself. I would definitely recommend this programme to any of my friends who are interested in what I just listed above.
Here are links to my blog and also two other volunteers blogs who were there this summer.
Me – http://nomaddave.blogspot.com/
Nicole – http://onegreatdewdrop.blogspot.com/
Laura – http://sustainthis.posterous.com/
Thanks for the comment. From my perspective an organisation such as this should be harshly judged for allowing the sort of thing we saw on the Fair Go program to occur – regardless of whether it was also providing good service to others.
But what I’d like to know is more information on your own stay. How much did you and your partner Nicole pay to be at Earthwise? Anything? A lot? It seems like you are working hard, so from my perspective you should not be being paid anything, or indeed you should be actually receiving an income. New Zealand is a great place to travel in, and there are plenty of places offering work for lodging arrangements. The work is generally pretty easy – is yours?
What is going to happen to the house and facilities when they are built? Are they going to be retained by a cooperative, or are they owned by one person? Is there any guarantee that it won’t be sold on for profit?
Were you encouraged to blog, and to reply to this and other blog posts?
Thank you for publishing this site. We have been looking at coming to New Zealand and thought the Earthwise Valley project might be suitable to spend time there. Can’t believe how close we could have come at being taken for a ride. The Fair Go video is unbelievable. How does this person manage to operate in such a paradise as New Zealand? And why do the authorities permit him to keep the money he has defrauded of people and the organisations he has misled? But isn’t it true of all scammers. Once they have your money you ain’t going to get it back. Pity this one uses New Zealand’s conservation image to despoil it. Thanks again.
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