We are Austin and Kim. Creating a rural training center for sustainable livelihoods has been a lifelong goal – since our wedding in 1979! We lived in Guam, Chuuk, Palau, Pohnpei and Puerto Rico before finally arriving in Fiji more than twenty years ago. We bought our farm outside Sigatoka in 2007, and have been slowly developing it ever since.
Austin is an ecologist, farmer, teacher and award-winning marine biologist, the “Father of Coral Gardening.” Check out his TEDx Talk where Austin discusses opportunities for Fiji’s tourism industry to help save the reef.
Kim is the homestay manager, blogger, short story author, retired nurse and Austin’s primary cheerleader. Kim posts a weekly blog on her site: Flora and Fauna Weekly Report.
We hope our farm inspires you to experiment, think outside the box and aspire to the leave the world in a better place than when you entered it.
pronounced tay tay
Fijian for farm or plantation
Plans in Progress
- Development of integrated products – using coconuts and local vegetation for chicken feed and also extracting or creating useful products, such as VCO and farm-made chocolate.
- Expansion of coral gardening education from the farm by having the practical training take place at nearby with coastal resort partners.
- Construction of a natural, reliable filtration system for our pool that currently is only fit for swimming “sometimes”.
- Development of a course in rural tourism so that more local families can share the REAL Fiji with overseas guests.
History of Teitei Homestay
Our beautiful daughter-in-law Monica saw the potential for us to turn our cottage into a homestay – and she started it as “Monica’s Homestay” in 2014. In 2015 we re-registered it under the “Teitei” name – and have been slowly developing it over the years. Initially we were working on making the accommodations pleasant. Now that that is pretty well achieved, we are working on enhancing our guests’ stay by offering activities and experiences where guests can immerse themselves in Fijian culture, get their hands dirty on the farm, or learn and create traditional medicines. We even have activities for families too.
Check out our homestay and experiences we have on offer here.
History of Happy Chicken
Both of Austin’s grandmothers taught him how to raise chickens in the yard and he has always loved keeping chickens. As coastal communities started establishing no-take fishing areas, Austin saw chickens as the perfect solution to the temporary protein shortage as communities wait for the fish to “spill over.” Austin has been breeding the best dual purpose (meat and egg) birds by crossing commercial birds with the largest and strongest local birds. He now has five different excellent hybrid strains. He conducts workshops in raising and breeding chickens sustainably.
Read more about the Happy Chicken Project here.
History of Teitei Permaculture
Austin’s family was excited about the farm, and his sister brought videotapes about permaculture for us to watch. Austin and our wonderful farm manager Eminoni (Junia) got all excited so Junia went to Australia to learn more, taking a Permaculture Design course with Tom Kendall. He was a natural! He took the intuitively good set up we already had and is making it even better. He now runs workshops on permaculture.
You can learn more about our permaculture work on the farm here.
Junia consults, designs and implements beautiful landscapes with a focus on permaculture design for hotels, restaurants, and other interested folk. If you’re looking to improve your garden or property, use our contact form to start a conversation!
History of Corals for Conservation
Corals for Conservation (C4C) is a separate NGO, that Austin founded to restore degraded coral reef ecosystems by working in partnership with marine resource owners to develop community-based marine management plans.