Living Lightly – Sustainable Lifestyle Safari

The Living Lightly Sustainable Lifestyle Safari are about sharing what is already happening in our local community in order to inspire people and share skills and knowledge. 2017’s event is currently being planned, keep an eye on our Facebook page for details!

March 2016 The FNEC EcoCentre hosted a ‘safari’ to four very different homes and ways of living recently in conjunction with Transition Towns Kaitaia and Kaitaia TimeBank .

The homes were in a 10km radius but completely diverse, with 26 people car pooling to visit them. The first stop was at the rammed earth home built in Ahipara by Reuben Taiparai Porter and Heeni Hotorene.  Very solidly constructed, warm in winter and cool in summer, the house has solar panels for power and a wormerator and bio-rock septic systems, and a dam providing water for a large garden. The couple have built three of these homes for whānau, and plan to build many more on Māori land around the Far North, and are happy to pass on the building skills needed for sustainable homes at a reasonable cost.

Next was Jen Gay’s five hectare property on Sandhills Road, where she has constructed several dams, planted many fruit trees and a large garden that produces much of her food. A house cow, a heifer, two pigs and hens contribute milk, meat and eggs. Jen also makes her own cheese, wine and beer, salt, soap, candles and medicines for herself and her animals, power coming from solar panels and the grid, with wind mills to pump the water. The safari stooped there for a picnic lunch in the shade of large trees, marvelling at what Jen had achieved in 20 years, a great example of what one passionate person can do.

They then moved on to Lyn Webster’s leased 200 cow dairy farm at Wainui Junction, their host demonstrating how to make yoghurt and kefir from raw milk and gave her visitors samples to take away. She explained how she came to write her book ‘Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce’* , about living sustainably and offering recipes for cleaning products and toiletries.

The final destination was Elizabeth and William Tailby’s home at Pukepoto, featuring alternative water heating with solar, wetback and photovoltaic cells. Everyone enjoyed a refreshing cool drink and homegrown figs and grapes before wandering around the two acres of garden planted in fruit trees, incliding olives and grapes which supply oil and wine, along with plenty of vegetables thriveing in the fertile land and a few hens to supply eggs. Water for the almosty self-sufficent garden, more in the colonial style, was taken from a small creek on the boundary.

*Lyn’s book Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce is available from the EcoCentre at $25

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AUTHOR: Eco Centre
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