Located in a tranquil, rural setting close to the Abel Tasman National Park and the township of Motueka, Riverside is the home of NZ’s oldest intentional community, founded by Christian Pacifists in 1941. Additionally, Riverside is also the birth place of Riverside Community Trust, a charitable trust founded in 1953 by early community members to promote religion, advance education and to support vulnerable groups within NZ society. While the Trust’s Board and the Community are nowadays pluralist and secular entities, both continue to uphold the values of Riverside’s early members and provide education as well as support to the wider NZ public in many different forms.
Riverside Community Trust offers affordable workshops and learning opportunities for children and adults with an emphasis on teaching crafts, agricultural and horticultural skills all through the year. The Trust’s Riverside Cultural Centre, is a welcoming space for weekly classes, ranging from yoga to drama and for community groups to get together. In addition, all trust enterprises are solely run to generate income for supporting many NZ charitable organisations which care for vulnerable, unwell or disadvantaged individuals on a daily basis. Unlike other charitable trust boards, Riverside trustees also attempt to incorporate the concepts of peace, sustainability and co-operation into their decisions and actions – these values having been at the very core of how Riverside Community and the Trust came into being many decades ago.
Riverside Community members consider themselves caretakers of the trust and seek to compliment the trust purposes and the board’s efforts on varying fronts. Riverside Community Lunch is a weekly open-invite lunch, organised by Community Members and sees up to 60 non-Riverside residents gathered for a koha based, wholesome vegetarian lunch, prepared from the Community’s homegrown vegetables. It’s not only a delicious meal for anyone struggling to cook, but also an awesome opportunity to meet neighbours and learn more about Riverside’s history. Many community members volunteer on a regular basis for the trust, via working bees, by facilitating events sponsored by the trust such as the Music Festival, or via creating networks which will benefit the trust’s activities now and into the future.
Apart from its charitable intentions and humanistic values, Riverside is also a beautiful piece of land consisting of rolling hills, green pastures, a humble bush walk and a little village. The recently opened Great Taste Cycle Trail, famous for its spectacular scenery and local wineries, passes directly by the Community’s physical entrance and Riverside enterprises provide several services to the wider community. Riverside Hostel is an affordable accommodation option for people visiting the region. Riverside Community Cultural Centre offers a unique Hire Venue for private functions and events. Riverside Milk provides fresh raw milk straight from its farm gate and the Cafe is a favourite meeting spot for locals.