Important notice: Earthwise Valley closed in 2010 due to the unexpected passing of one of its founders. This site is maintained as-is in tribute to the many volunteers who lent their time and energy to the Valley.

Sustainable Living

We are trying to inhabit the Valley in a responsible way, with as little impact on the Valley itself and the wider world as possible. Current worldwide levels of resource consumption and pollution are globally unequal and are unsustainable: they cannot continue without seriously affecting what we leave future generations. Sustainable living means taking no more than 'your fair share' and giving back as much as you can to the Earth and its people.

Our aim is to try to live sustainably by producing as much of our food as possible ourselves; by using renewable energy like solar and wind power; and by creating ecologically friendly buildings.

We are establishing our own gardens where we grow organic vegetables, as well as fruit and nut trees, using permacultural techniques. We aim to grow as much organic, healthy, food for ourselves and for distribution as possible.

Sustainably harvested firewood is used to provide heat, cook and heat water as it is truly renewable – we grow it much faster than it is consumed. Water is stored from rainfall and gravity fed from a nearby mountain spring.

Our buildings will be constructed with sustainability in mind: they will utilise passive solar gain; use long life, durable construction; and integrate indoor/outdoor design principles. Additionally, by allowing communal accommodation our ecological footprint is considerably lessened.

We try to embody many of the principles of eco-community living, living in a way that benefits the natural environment and gives our residents a positive social experience. By living in relatively small communities, which are 'human-scale', all members of the community can share resources and choose those that have been produced in a way that minimises the community's ecological footprint. We encourage our residential volunteers to stay for several weeks or months so that they can become fully involved in the community and not just be 'observers'.



Lowland coastal forest like the area around is vital to many New Zealand native species. This zone is warm year-round and is a rich source of food for the birds and reptiles that reside here. Our conservation efforts focus on protecting native species, through controlling plant and animal pests, and replanting vital lowland coastal forest plants like kaitikatea, puriri, pohutukawa, and harakeke (flax).

We are establishing a Native Tree Nursery and hope to have a herpatorium (lizards breeding house) in the future. A large pond will be created for freshwater eels and crayfish, and water birds like herons and pukekos.

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