Loveday Why and Kris Mullen share a passion for a healthy,
sustainable lifestyle. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
It reads a little like something out of a Mills and Boon
In 2008, Englishwoman Loveday Why met Dunedin-born Kris
Mullen in Australia and, within a week, they were living
together in a tiny hut in a forest at Shag Point.
They later travelled, married and have now settled in the
Dunedin area where they are developing two businesses -
native tree planting business Wildwood Ecoforestry and
healthy eating initiative Wild and Good.
Mr Mullen (28) has always had a passion for native forestry
He was now working with mostly private landowners who wanted
''mini forests'' in the Dunedin area, and Wanaka-Queenstown.
He was planting everything from low-growing natives like flax
and toe toe, through to the 'beautiful big forest giants'
like the totara. He has expanded to planting fruit and nut
trees, a nod to the couple's passion for healthy eating.
He has also been planting native trees on Department of
Conservation-approved reserve land, keen to show people the
benefits of plantings.
They believed in the importance of native trees for carbon
capture, ecosystem regeneration, waterway filtration and
erosion control, as well as a habitat for birdlife.
Since 2012, Mr Mullen estimated he had planted about 8000
trees - and he was looking to ''get a lot more in the
Ms Why (30) came from a different background. Originally from
Essex, she studied English literature at university.
She experienced ill health for about 10 years, which was
diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome.
She started experimenting with different foods, trying to get
rid of toxins in her diet.
After 18 months eating raw vegan food, the symptoms ''dropped
away''. Despite doing a master's degree at the time, she
decided to go travelling when she felt she had ''finally
kicked'' her illness - and that was when she met her future
She now had one year left to complete a PhD in contemporary
ecopoetics at the University of Otago.
Wild and Good started as a blog, sharing recipes, ideas and
tips for healthy living.
She had already had some clients for food consultancy and
hadcatered for several events.
Ms Why had ''no regrets'' about moving to the other side of
the world and her subsequent lifestyle.
''I imagine, if I hadn't, I'd be working in a bookshop in
London, probably having fun but not really flourishing. This
is my place,'' she said.
The couple were looking for a base which they could reforest
for themselves, establish an orchard and make it a base for
both their projects.
They were keen to bring in groups and get more children
involved to show people what was possible and get them
Mr Mullen was keen on planting as many edible forest gardens
as he could. He was getting a 35m-long, two-storey glasshouse
where he was going to plant the likes of mango, paw paw and
They were also looking for backers for a Trees in Schools
project, aiming to plant low-maintenance, spray-free edible
trees and shrubs in low-decile schools.