We are a group of people drawn together since 1995 to evolve a small settlement with a village atmosphere. Our motivating philosophy is to be self-sustaining in as many aspects as possible, using permaculture principles to create a place to live in harmony with each other and our environment.
A little about some of the eco-villagers and how they’re progressing…
Heidelind & Rik:
Heidelind is a Sustainable Rural Development teacher for NorthTec (Northland Polytechnic). Rik taught Sustainable House Design, also for NorthTec. He is a retired Dutch architect, and designed and build his 50m2 (almost) autarkic solar cabin. The cabin faces North and is mainly timber framed (Lawson’s Cyprus) with glass panels on three sides and an insulated concrete/rock wall to the South. To maximise solar gain also the North side of the roof is transparent. The cabin stands on a concrete slab with solar hot water floor heating, a conservatory and a 12V PV power system.
Sabine & Wolfgang
We have become part of the Otamatea Eco Village in 1997. This was a dream come true for us and a desire for community fulfilled. We have built a beautiful and inviting light earth house and barn/studio. Our power needs are met by photovoltaic panels, which teaches us how to live well while using less energy. We have dry composting toilets and a greywater system to take care of our wastewater. The gardens and orchards we have established are very productive and feed us (almost) all year round with fruit and vegetables.
We have immigrated from Germany in 1987. Sabine has a background in teaching and has worked since in many other areas. She is particularly passionate about good, nutritious and delicious food and working with people towards building sustainable relationships. Wolfgang has a background in veterinary science and is now working as a consultant for the food industry. He is passionate about appropriate technology, self-sufficiency, and resilience.
Daniel & Jude
Daniel is a Landscape Architect and Jude runs a theatre company involved with environmental issues. They moved up permanently in February 2002 having completed stage one of their plans – a straw bale post and beam home with strawbale infill. They have also completed an earth brick and timber barn which provides their bedroom accommodation. Other projects include herb garden, pergola, shelterbelts, orchard, native bush and pond edge plantings, vineyard plus fencing for chooks and a house cow. Keep up the good work!
Sharna & Kapil:
Kapil is a photographer and Sharna is a counsellor and wedding celebrant. Incorporating spiritual ideals within physical structures is important to them, so spaces have been planned for meditation, contemplation and healing. Projects include orchards, subtropicals, herb spiral, and edible hedgerows. Their barn/studio/workshop is called “Wakawhenua” – Earthship – and progress has been intuitive and organic. Building elements include power poles, arches, timbers, mud in-situ adobe walls, mud floors, ferro cement, Onduline roof, recycled bricks, bottles – all to be adorned with copious mosaics and sculptures. Summing up his philosophy Kapil quotes Hundertwasser’s eloquent words “Beauty is not a luxury”.
Sharna has built with the help of the community, a 45 sq meter studio with loft. A beautiful mosaic floor has been created by Kapils son Tejas, from tiles Kapil has collected over the years from dump bins at tile shops. Waste water and toilet are collected by a vermicast waste water system. Sharna commutes to Auckland for the working week, leaving Monday morning and returning Fridays evening to recharge after a week in the city!
Robert, Marijke, Kane & Anton, Nellie & Dolf:
Known as ‘The Far Side’. Nellie and Dolf have built a Hebal style house. Rob and Marijke are building a timbercreate “castle”, with lots of curves and mosaics. They are also renovating and building the iconic Eutopia Cafe in Kaiwaka. They love to create beautiful thing and enjoy carving, mosaics, sailing and music. Robert works in Auckland 1 day per week. Marijke teaches art to children occasionally. They have extensive fruit orchards and gardens and all sorts of animals share the property.
Peter and Ning:
Peter is a graduate civil engineer enjoying working on his property as well as working within the community. He built his house during the first year of the new millinnum with timber framing, handmade bricks, 90 year old recycled rimu flooring and ironwo
od beams. Seven square meters of solar panels integrate into the glass roof of the conservatory to produce hot water year round. A soapstone fireplace gives cosy warmth during the wintertime.
Ning is a very passionate gardener and cook. She grows a varity of different vegetables in her gardens and glass house. These are used in her Chinese and Western cooking along with eggs and meat from her chickens and ducks and fruits from their own orchard.
Visitors can walk under thousands of selfplanted trees; relax in the landscapted creative area around the house with many different flowers and a fountain; enjoy the beautiful views down to the Kaipara Harbour; enjoy the marvellous food and stay over night in our great accommodation. Contact us under: email@example.com
Tim and Marion keller-Brown:
We, Tim and Marion have been part of “Otamatea” from day one, co-creating this piece of paradise. In between now and then we travelled and worked in different countries but at present it’s home again and we are staying put, while the outside world keeps on turnin
g. Our efforts to live sustainable are not ideal but close to being very good, the best we can do at present. The children, I have five, who at times thought we were just ‘flippen hippies’ have come around and see our Eco Village as a successful sanctuary and consept. For me personally that’s a great achievement, since they represent the future. Tim is an IT consultant with his own small company and works from home and I am a ‘Jackie of a few trades’ and have various experiences which have proven to be very useful in creating this life style.
We bought our 2 Ha of bare farm paddock in the eco-village in 2005 when Don ran a solar water heating business and Faye was a school teacher in Auckland. Our focus is on living lightly on the planet and with integrity. The home we have created works very well for our simple vegetarian lifestyle. We designed it to be as sustainable as possible in construction (timber for framing and cladding and second hand aluminium joinery) as well as aiding us to live self sufficiently. Most of our property is planted in trees, but we have also securely fenced our 4 goats. We milk 2 of these and make cheese, yoghurt etc. Don has a passion for charcoal as possible way to help address climate change. Our very productive vegetable garden and fruit trees have prospered with this and lots of compost.
We love kayaking on the beautiful Kaipara harbour, launching from home. We have instigated and worked hard on an extensive native restoration project on the south coast of our Ecovillage Peninsular.
David and Margie Slinger:
Brits who came to New Zealand after owning and running a Tourist business in Kenya think that belonging to the OEV community is a refreshing escape from the madness of today’s world!
Being part of a multi-national community brings its challenges for sure, but the common goals and beliefs create an over-all sense of comradery that is rare.
David and Margie share their land with three baby doll sheep who keep the orchard ‘mowed’.
David and Margie are directors of Life Energy Designs Ltd that create Products that balance, protect and assist healing. The QSB, Quantum Scalar Box, their latest product, has taken nine years to develop and uses Scalar waves to relieve stress and assist healing at a causal level. All their products are proudly made in New Zealand, 80% of these are exported all over the world.
Contact: david @ life-energy.org margie @ life-energy.org (no spaces)