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Cabal is my word for a way of working together. It is an wholistic space for collaboration with each other and the life streams we are part of. The Cabal ethos rests in the subtle arts of relatedness. For over 20 years, this philosophy has guided my approach to art, design and construction, within very diverse project teams, contexts and mediums.

This ‘deep collaboration’ is an art form of communication and interdependency as we sculpt, weave, design and construct processes for restorative built environments. I treat each creative project is an opportunity to explore with others, finding simple practical tools and processes that we can put into action to help realise our ideals for transformation and regeneration in our communities. Cabal

asks, “what is needed here?” “What are the optimum conditions for wholistic


Cabal is a call to the nourishment of love, life and the restoring of beauty.

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back to the source - hoki ki nga waiora

back to the source hoki ki nga waiora is on ongoing research process, exploring people, water and the bonds between us.


We are thinking into the future... a deeper way of seeing, thinking and being in ‘conversation with water’.

Water is our primordial ancestor, alive within our bodies and linking us back into the source of all life. How can opening our lines of communication, through direct conversations with water, elevate the next frontier in our personal lives and in our evolution as a species?

back to the source hoki ki nga waiora is a kinship of people in conversation. We are in conversation with water, and with each other. We are re-activating old languages, and revealing new ways of communicating, through the waters of life.

We are focusing on our direct experiences, enhancing the way we communicate with the physical world and influencing how we live our lives, in the most practical, ordinary and extraordinary ways. What can we learn from water about creating conditions for wellbeing? How do we apply this in our life's work?

This is a living laboratory, an experimental space for people who seek to be more deeply connected, in full cooperation with our living nature, as a means to make practical and positive changes in the human work of designing, making and organising.

back to the source hoki ki nga waiora is for futurists, adventurers, pioneers and explorers.

Have some fun with us!

Join our experimental, optimistic, restorative, futuristic ‘living laboratory’ – and activate you own sensuous reunion with water.


back to the source hoki ki nga waiora was first presented as part of a collaborative transmedia water journey, facilitated by Caroline Robinson, The Big Idea Digital Artist in Residence 2013.

Read the back story here >

Key Collaborators

The Big Idea

Creative New Zealand

Biz Dojo

Tarariki - Michael O'Donnell - clayworker, waterman and activator, Paeroa, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Nomad Soul Records - Russel Walder

Saphira Walder

Numerous participants via The Big Idea community (whose posted contributions are no longer 'live' online)


back to the source hoki ki nga waiora




Caroline Robinson

This is a story about the waters of the Taranaki landscape, the ocean, the mountain and the sky, as well as the landscapes of memory held here by my family and I. It expresses, in a poetic way, my motivation for opening myself to a conscious conversation with water, beginning at the source, in the landscapes where my life began.

In January 2013, my 4 and a half year old daughter, Saphira and I, traveled south from our home in Titirangi, Auckland, to Taranaki. This is the place I was born and raised.

On this occasion, we had come to experience the familiarity of home in a unique way. For three weeks we camped in mum and dad’s back yard, next to the fruit trees, vegetable garden and the Persephone fountain.

Our tent was just one skip away from the wild west ocean of the Tasman Sea. Each night were lulled to sleep by the crashing waves, and each morning we woke to the vast expanse of the ocean’s horizon. We swam and surfed in the waves, and made dripping sand castles at the mouth of the Te Henui Stream.

We walked within the lush forests on the slopes of Mount Taranaki. We plunged our faces and whole bodies into the icy mountain water, and drank from the cool springs, as they bubbled out from the mosses.

We drank the local mineral water, derived from rainfall on Mount Taranaki, from a deep aquifer aged 29,000 years. We used that same water to make our sourdough breads and fermented drinks. We shared meals, adventures, stories and songs.

Each place we visited, we sang gratitude, and collected a small amount of water, to add to our clay water jar.

One day, high on the mountain, as we looked up at the summit shrouded in dancing clouds, Saphira asked me, “who is the ancestor of the water?” And we listened for a reply.

As an artist, I am calling forth this uninterrupted, primitive communication with the forces and elements of nature. I believe by re-activating the languages of our direct primordial relationships, we can bring balance to our decision making conversations in our communities, and help inform, in a meaningful way, our collective future.

The water jar, filled with the conversations and stories of Taranaki, came home with us to Titirangi. From the inspiration contained within it emerged a process for a shared conversation with water.



I’ve been listening to water. Water’s voice calls me to rediscover the essence of who I am, and who we are - our true human nature, boldly expressed in our work. It is time to dismiss all human behaviour that destroys our living earth, and take up that which nourishes life.

As an artist, I build with others. We build with love. We make land art, sculpture, story, gardens, homes and cities in a way that seeks to powerfully express our divine essence. My work revolves around unifying us, so that what we say and do can elevate human wellbeing, so that all of life can be seen as sacred.

Thank you to Sonia Sly and Radio New Zealand National - Spiritual Outlook programme.
25 minutes


click images below to hear audio

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This Living Laboratory is a cross pollination of inquiry methods: play, science, art, action research, somatic (body) and mindfulness practices, unified in simple ideas for living our conversations with water.

Living Lab: Earth's surface waters

21 Jun 2013

Living Laboratory - A Conversation with Water

Purpose: To uplift conscious awareness of the earth’s surface water at home or nearby, and its relationship to our body


Try This! Suggestions for simple ‘experiments’ with water.

The purpose is to practice communicating consciously and powerfully with water, in very simple ways.

Whether you are new to this idea of ‘talking’ with water, or it’s familiar ground, play with the possibility of radically new insights! There is no limit.

We invite you to ‘report’ on your observations or discoveries from these personal experiments.

Prompt us with your ideas for experimentation.

* * *


How do I cherish the earth’s surface waters?

To uplift conscious awareness of the earth’s surface water at home or nearby, and its relationship to our body

Surface water, for example puddle, drain, spring, stream, river etc

10 minutes – or as long as required

Step 1
Choose a location at your home or nearby, where water is visible on the ground (or if there is no water, a place where there is evidence water once was.)
Observe your ‘pre-state’, record several comments.

Step 2
Sit or stand comfortably and quietly where you can see and touch the water (or dry water bed). Touch the water (or space) very, very slowly and gently.
Observe your experience in detail at each stage, on approach, on contact, and as you lift away.
Use all of your available senses to make contact (touch, smell, hearing, sight, taste-if practical).

Step 3
Record your observations, impressions or inspirations.
What did you notice? Were there any surprises? How will you apply these insights or ideas?

Step 4


Travel to a source of water that has significance to you, such as a spring, a river you swam in as a child or a body of water where a dear ones ashes were spread, and repeat the process.





back to the source hoki ki nga waiora