Investment by members in Ahi Wai has now reached $1.3m which provides sufficient funds for the project to commence. Options on 10 of the 17 residences to be built have been taken up in the form of loans which will be offset against members chosen lots. The existing house on the property has been sectioned off as a separate lot and is on the market through Bayley's Real Estate.
Successful Open Day at Ahi Wai
A very successful Open Day was held at Ahi Wai on Saturday, 21 November with over 100 visitors attending. The purpose of the day was to involve the local community and introduce them to the concept of an eco, co-housing neighourhood in their midst.
Welcome to the first newsletter for friends of the Ahi Wai EcoNeighbourhood Project. This is an urban co-housing community in Whangarei and we are looking for like minded people to join us.
Each edition will bring you the latest developments and information regarding our progress and we would welcome contributions, comment and feedback.
The lockdown has certainly brought a lot of changes for almost everybody. We were lucky to be able to reconnect with old friends and family and work around the garden and house, but we also used the time to further the plans for Ahi Wai.
This is the time to consider the future, finalise plans and move ahead. In the last few months the project has grown and the time needed to attend to everything has increased. So we revised our budget and our financial plans, the engineering plans are being prepared and we are in the process of appointing a project manager.
We are also finalising membership agreements, so if you are interested in becoming part of Ahi Wai, now is a great time to let us know and get involved! Contact us - we would love to hear from you!
We hope that you all are keeping well in body and spirit.
Our thoughts of love especially go out to those who find themselves to be on the ‘front-line’ of responding – any of you who are working in essential services.
In some ways this is an opportunity to attend to all those things that really matter – our beloved family and friends, and whatever practices keep us healthy, like being grateful.
We still try to go ahead with the essential planning for Ahi Wai – we had the surveyors here, at least, and we will have ongoing online community meetings. If you want to be part of that, just let us know!
We have come a long way… but we finally got resource consent – this is huge for us! Thanks so much to everyone who is part of our community and who helped us getting to this point. The Northern Advocate wrote a piece about us as well.
And to everybody who contacted us in the last few days and weeks: thank you all for your continued interest in the project – we are very busy with getting everything underway at the moment, but we will get back to you in the coming days.
There is a lot to prepare and plan now – getting the surveyors in, getting the detailed engineering plans underway… Expect to hear from us on a more regular basis!
Global Eco Village Network (GEN) conversation with Kosha Joubert
On the 17th June 2019, following a shared meal at Shaun and Carmel’s home with Ahi Wai Eco Neighborhood participants, and the Global Eco Village Network group led by Kosha Joubert, we were part of a group that swelled to 51 over the evening. We were gathered to hear Kosha’s inspirational telling of a journey toward a global transition to resilient communities and cultures that she is part of internationally. Kosha spoke of her own personal participation in communities around the world, as well as the development of a wider global network of many communities.
Kosha is executive director of the international organization Global Eco Village Network, or GEN, for short. Kosha views her role as one of bringing together indigenous villages, urban neighbourhoods, intentional communities and eco villages across the globe. All these styles of community share a commonality of exploring and finding ways to live together that support both people and our planet to thrive.
Kosha described eco villages as living laboratories that pioneer many alternatives to enable living sustainably. GEN is made up of approximately 10,000 such initiatives across the world, where people live together to create greater ecological harmony. Kosha also described GEN as an organization that builds bridges between policy makers, NGO’s, academics, entrepreneurs, activists, community networks, & ecologically minded individuals across the globe, in order to develop strategies for a global transition to resilient communities and cultures.
As a participant of this meeting, I am aware that we in Whangarei, are not just developing one urban eco-neighbourhood. Within the NZ context alone, there are a number of other communities doing the same thing.These communities are or can be part of this global network through GEN, incorporating all the diversity of these communities but with a common goal of social, ecological, cultural and economic sustainability.
The evening also provided much additional interest in the Ahi Wai Project locally with new potential members seeking further involvement, and additionally boosted the resolve of current members that this is the way forward for a sustainable future.
Sue Lawrence is a member of Ahi Wai Eco Neighbourhood, Whangarei, NZ.
The first few days of spring are here and everything starts to bloom again! Looking at the magnolias next to our house make us thankful for being alive, being able to enjoy nature’s beauty around us and the support of our loved ones, family and friends. We are indeed blessed to have such a great community around us: people who are continuously willing to build our collective new homes together, to communicate and listen to each other, and to create something together that is greater than our individual selves and will hopefully surpass us all.
Spring started lively with a lot of new faces, talks about cuppas and wine and connecting about ongoing and future projects. We were particularly impressed with a group of young and motivated friends who are planning to build a centre for socio-ecological learning and are looking for a suitable piece of land around here to bring their vision to life. So we really hope for an ongoing collaboration in the future.
Also, we are more than happy to announce that the resource consent is in and we are waiting for that to be processed! Celebrations of this milestone are more of a quiet sort at the moment since we are all busy, but we made sure to share a celebratory drink with a few of the professionals who were and continue to be involved in it. Thanks to them, we have an extremely well prepared application, which will hopefully be processed in due time, so we can start working on more detailed engineering plans after that.
We will keep you posted and hope you can enjoy a few lovely spring days as well!
The last few weeks have been very busy, because we are finally pulling everything together to apply for resource consent with the Council. We are very excited to have a bunch of well versed professionals and a supportive community behind us that helps us with all the bits and pieces. As the Council has been very supportive of the idea of our eco-village in general, we have every reason to believe that this will go smoothly.
The architectural plans still need a few tweaks, and there has been a lot of careful work that has progressed us from our first eco-village drafts to the nearly finished ones (on the picture you can see one of the early drafts made into a beautiful paper model, with the recent ones in the background). As we write this, the plans are getting finalized and we are very excited to see them.
After two years of negotiations with the Ministry of Education regarding our access way and a few engineer’s reports later, they agreed to work with us on this. For us, this is an important development and we are very happy to have the support of the Whangarei Boys High School and the Council. That means we are able to go with our original plans for the access way, having two lanes and a bicycle track that can be used by everyone.
Just a few days ago, we met up with a quantity surveyor, and we are working through a maze of details which should enable us to put some realistic prices on the sections.
At the same time, we are trying to be more active on social media. Watch our Facebook page for updates, or follow us on Instagram.
We have come a long way and we want to thank everyone who has supported us so far. Once we obtained resource consent, a lot of exciting things are going to happen that need the further support of our wonderful community. Drop us a line if you are interested to become a part of this!
Nga mihi nui
Well our lives have been radically changed by the sudden death, 12 weeks ago, of Paul Willoughby. Paul was one of the projects founding members. He was instrumental in much of the progress that we have made. Always reliable, he was a person whose wisdom helped guide us through some tricky times. We miss him dearly.
And just as there is some light in the darkest of times, so we have made progress towards the realisation of our vision. Our team of professionals have had an initial meeting with Whangarei District Council. Their response was positive overall with some matters that need attention.
One matter is finalising the access way. This is being negotiated with the Ministry of Education. While progress has been slow, we are getting closer and closer to resolution with extensive plans and engineer’s reports.
At the same time, work is taking place on the web page. The draft is looking very professional and I am meeting again with the web designers – Garret and Irene – today.
One very positive development is a potential partnership with a company called Catalyst Homes. They design and build Eco-homes. Not only do they have information on the latest developments in warm sustainable homes but they will be able to offer a house package. You will be able to choose from a selection of plans, the price will be set and they will oversee the build. We will invite them to meet you at a later date.
In the pipeline is some work with the geo-tech engineers who will design the infrastructure (drainage, sewage, electricity).
Finally we have begun work with a quantity surveyor. He will give us an estimation of the cost of developing the property. This plus the estimates from Catalyst homes means that we will at some stage be able to give some accurate costings of the land and homes.
Enjoy living each day…