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Get Involved

Find out about upcoming events,  training and volunteering opportunities in NZ and abroad.

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40 thoughts on “Get Involved

  1. HI there,

    Living on the gold coast, Australia but planning to be back in Bay Of Plenty in the next 3-6 months. Interested in workshops or working on building project or planning in various capacities.
    Will be looking at working towards designing and building earthship on my land.
    How have the councils been towards approval of works etc?
    Is there much interest in getting willing people to do work experience on building projects?
    Look forward to keeping up to date with relevant information here.

    Cheers

  2. Hi Slade,
    Where abouts in Bay of Plenty? I’m hopeful to start a project just outside Opotiki in about 2 years but would love to start working towards this goal now by learning with/from you! Would be so keen to see what we can collaborate on!

    Aschel

  3. Hello Everyone,
    I’m an Architecture student in Newcastle Aus interested if there are others locally keen on these workshops. It would be great if you would highlight your interest here. I’d love to help in NZ but am curious if any workshops would be possible in Aus??

    Benji

  4. Hello, I am also living in Australia in NSW and would be interested in being involved in the building of an Earthship (in Oz). I am looking to build an Earthship Hut to start with and then expanding that into a larger building (similar to the Groundhouse built in Brittany, France).

  5. I am currently in Perth Australia but will be in New Zealand next year and will absolutley want to be on hand to help with an earthship workshop. Sign me up!

  6. Saw the earthship being built on Grand designs, and didn’t realise how easily they can be built, (hard physical labour not withstanding). They are a wonderful way to use those old tires!
    I have been studying alternative building ideas for several years and found the earthship concept very compatible with my way of thinking!
    So am keen to be involved in the building of one here in NZ.

  7. Hi Guys, I also live in BOP (Mount Maunganui). I’m a civil/environmental engineer who is pashionate about sustainability and would be keen to be involved in in something in this area of NZ.

  8. Hi, myself & family also live in Tauranga.
    Could Brian explain a little further about his comment Earthship in NZ nears completion ?
    Thanks

  9. ….doubleclick on Brians name and link will take you to NZs first earthship Brian and his extended family has built in the Waikato.Long may this site live and inform.!!!!!!!!

  10. Hi, Have been living in Raglan for last two years after 10 in the UK. Busy painting the old 1930′s villa to sell and get 5 acres to build an earthship of a type on. Read loads of books, seen videos but keen to learn about what adaptations are needed to adhere to NZ building codes and to damp proof properly. Its wetter here than New Mexico. Was a panelbeater for 20 years and now an artist blacksmith/wanabe earthship builder.

  11. Hi Ash – I like your thinking! We have been starting to engage with DBH (Department of Building & Housing). There are a number of code areas that need to be satisfied. One being the wall structure and its damp properties (thanks to Leaky Buildings). There are also issues about treating rainwater for drinking and processing sewerage on site the way it is done with Earthships overseas. Earthships are properly damp proofed with a DPC laid in relation to the frost line and brought up the outside of the tyrewall and 1m of backfill, next to the rigid insulation. This keeps the thermal mass of the building nice and dry. Anecdotally it has been said that local building inspectors have insisted that a bag of cement goes into each tyre and/or rebar is driven through the stack of tyres. This is not actually necessary but the way to prove the Earthship’s performance against the code is to build a sample wall and undertake some empirical testing. What would help the cause would be if an Engineering School or Post-Grad decided to support this work. NZ’s requirements for seismic survivability would be higher than other parts of the world but no different to California for example. I know of a retro-fit in California that is constructing walls with a timber frame rectangle and then filling the wall-space with tyres. That way the conventional timber frame is structurally compliant and the tyres only provide thermal mass and are not load bearing. This approach ‘works’ but it is so wrong on so many levels too. I would like to think that in the new year we might be able to build some simple test structures in the Wellington region to allow some assessment to occur. It only needs some tyres, sledgehammers, spirit-levels, people and a little experience – and we can make it happen!

  12. very keen to give anyone ahand as i need the experience, no real skills just quick learning and hardwork on my behalf is offerd, surrounding BOP area ok
    ph 0277142948

  13. We have land in the Ureweras and are very keen on the idea of building earthships. My brother-in-law has put his name down to help with any earthship projects in the bay of plenty and I have offered to look into the other side of things, permits and such. Any information on the this process to do with earthships would be greatly appreciated, we have never built so are pretty much completely in the dark about the whole process.

  14. Hi,
    I’d be real keen to help out anyone in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia with building an earthship. Keep up the great work

  15. We are keen to help out, and learn as much as we can to build our own Earthship.
    Would be great to have a process to follow that fits NZ Building Codes, instead of fighting our way indiviually thru the red tape.

    It would be kinda amazing to get a patch of land for an Earthship Community (somewhere away from the Ocean and fault lines tho! )
    So much could be accomplished, like minded people trading produce, meat, sharing ideas and working on projects, true sustainability, no 9-5 or stress…bliss!

    Cheers

  16. Hi i was recently at a ‘ design your own eco home” weekend workshop, & concern was expressed about the possibility of leaching/off gassing of toxins from tyres into building envelope/\, any answers??

  17. Hi Willie – tyres do off gas when exposed to the air and UV light (that’s why tyre shops stink). However in an Earthship the tyre walls are well contained normally within an earth-based plaster. They are not exposed to the air nor UV light and do not off gas as a result. Off gassing is a chemical reaction and the air and light are needed for it to occur. There are earthships that have been lived in for over twenty years and there has been no reported problems of this nature.
    Equally, with the tyres contained within the walls; in the case of fire (as has already been observed) they are not exposed to the heat and oxygen and do not burn. Another thing to remember is that the majority of the wall is made of earth and that will not burn either.

  18. Hi there.

    With the current Christchurch earthquake bringing such things to people’s minds, I have a simple question: ‘Can an earthship be made compliant with NZ earthquake building codes?’…

  19. Yes Nathan – we believe so. The Gubbs Earthship in the Waikato has building compliance. There are key modifications to the standard Global Design that need to be made for NZ seismic conditions and regulations. It would be arguable that the standard design could “probably” meet the performance requirements, but without a proper NZ-based seismic test you need to err on the side of accepted design practices. The Gubbs used spaced rebar through the tyre-walls which worked well with their hydraulic ram building-process; this is the key change likely. I think this Earthquake has forced a serious rethink of most building practices.

  20. Hi, im looking for work on a earthship project or eco home build, hopefully nelson, im a qualified stone mason with heaps of experience with most areas of building construction, plumbing, electrical, solar, wind power etc.
    I even sell LED lighting products as a part time job.
    Have own tools for most jobs and live in a self contained house bus i converted myself.
    I can live on site if needed, im currently in otago on a stone project but looking to move up to nelson area late November 2010.
    I could be just the person you are looking for if you are planning project.

    Leave a message if your interested. Cheers Shaun

  21. Hi was at another gathering (straw bale this time) & the garbage warrior got discussed ..as it does the question that couldnt be answered was tyre walls thermal mass/thermal insulation? is there a thermal break between the tyres & the earth or is the rubber supposed to insulate?

  22. Hi Willie – Earthship walls are all about thermal mass, hence people often mistake Earthship walls for having massive R values when they don’t necessarily. The rammed earth tyres are giant thermal capacitors. Typical construction has 1m of rammed backfill behind the tyres with a damp proof course (DPC) and a rigid insultation which gives you thermal insulation from the big thermal heat sink that is ‘the ground”. The leakage of heat beyond the rigid insulation (the stuff I’ve seen is made by Corning) should be minimal but of course the ground is a limitless heat sink, so this insulation is crucial.

  23. Hi, I am a water treatment engineer living in Vancouver Canada, but originally from NZ and looking to move home in the new few years and potentialy build a earthship near Tauranga. “Admin” mentioned that they are having problems with getting approval for the use of rainwater as drinking water and the grey water recycling system. I can probably help with the drinking water issue (as i am a professional in the field and know others in NZ). I can probably provide useful input on the grey water recycling as well.

    Has anyone approached the universitys to look into the structural elements of the construction. I have some friends doing a pHD in structural engineering at Canterbury and I may be able to help arrange a 4th year project to look at this, and potentially other issues people may be encountering.

  24. David – thanks so much for your expertise in these matters. Yes and yes to both your offers. I’ve just got back from working in ChCh and there is much coming from that situation that will soon be very relevant to the Earthship debate and off-grid living. Let’s talk soon. There is a friend here in Wellington that is organising Architects and professionals to do pro-bono work for Christchurch, she is very pro the topics covered on this website and I think this is a moment in history not to be missed, once people have been allowed to heal.

  25. Hi, i’ve just recently heard about earthships and i think they are a great idea. There is a couple of questions i need answered.
    1) How is moving out of town and building on a piece of land where there was no building before, and living somewhere where you have to drive everywhere, enviromently friendly?
    2) How can Earthships be made to work in the suburbs, where they are really needed? Are there any examples around the world?

  26. Hi John – both excellent questions. I have previously written about the conundrum with affordable land and the need to drive to and from it. I agree with you that it rapidly becomes counter-productive. But equally I feel there is nothing wrong with building on a green field site as long as it is managed. I’m not a fan of ring fencing nature and putting up ‘No Humans’ signs; we can be great stewards of the environment and co-exist with nature for a positive outcome (use of permaculture etc). To your second point: there have previously been proposals in the US and Brighton in the UK to build Earthship developments. The New World Community in New Mexico is also an model of this. There’s also an assumption that suburban living is approrpiate (which it probably was when petrol was 50c/l). I think we are still on that journey to work out what works in mass developments and I don’t think its a pass/fail discussion. The best thing is to keep the debate alive.

  27. Hi Rob, thanks for your answers. It makes so much sense to me to build houses out of materials that are no longer needed and the dirt you dig out of the ground.
    I,ve been building houses for 30 years and always been abit uncomfortable with the amount of materials used and wasted, now i’m sold on the idea of Earthships. I’m just selling my house so will soon be in a position to buy a piece of land but i don’t want to move out of town and live on a lifestyle block (like most of the population), so for this type of building to make a difference it needs to work in town or the suburbs which means smaller sections.
    I visited Brian and Karen Gubbs earthship, very inspiring and lovely people.
    This is a great website. Thanks.

  28. Hi there,

    Me and my partners long term goal is to build ourselves our own earthship. We have been fascinated with this concept for months now and want to learn as much as possible. Volunteering to help others would be a great way to learn the skills we need. We would love to help out where we can!

    We look forward to hearing from you

    Regards

    Bianca

  29. Hi,

    We have 90 acres of bush just outside Hunterville and want to build at least one earthship. The design process scares me more than the building. Dealing with architects, councils, etc and seeing precious $$ and time eaten up…. maybe not such a biggy for those already in the construction industry but for those of us on the outside… it is daunting.

    Also, I have wondered about building a stand-alone tyre water-tank, set in the ground the side of the hill. Water then could be gravity fed. This tank would also be spring-fed. Yes, a large header tank, with water from a much smaller house tank being pumped up. Any thoughts?

    We are considering a smaller building with minimal indoor plumbing, a bucket compost system, and possibly no electricity other than LED lighting. Reasons: 1) we want (need) to keep costs down. & 2) regardless of cost, we are looking for a modest dwelling.

    I’ve visted the Grubb’s earthship and was very impressed. One of the things that really captured my imagination was their cool-room.

    Like many others here I am keen to be involved in whatever way I can. Will keep an eye on the site.

    Regards
    John

  30. John
    John

    Couple of thoughts.

    Challenge with a stand alone tyre water tank will making it water tight. and structurally sound. Water tight can be achieved by lining with a PE liner but this is not a simple task. I would recommend contacting Timber tank enterprises as this is something they go through this regularly with their timber tank designs. Structural stability scan be achieved a number of ways. You will also need to design a animal proof roof (more challenging than it sounds, rats and possums are very innovative…). As for using spring water, i would recommend you be very carefull with this. Some springs are great and some are terrible. If you would like to get in touch to discuss further send me an email at davidtaylor3@live.com and we can arrange to have a chat.

    Dave

  31. Hello, I am available in CC area to help out on projects. I am on the HelpX and CouchSurfing networks (Human-Alive) or on HelpX (Neil Stevenson) .

    0220 647 600

  32. Hi, Im Vicki and I live in tauranga. Great to see so many like minded people in the area! I too am very interested in this concept and am hoping to buy a piece of land in the next year or so to build my own earthship. I would really like to talk with anyone who has built one, or would love to help out with construction!

  33. Hi, Lydia and René here. Lydia already built and now owns a beautiful rammed earth house in the BOI, which is currently rented. Let us know if you want to buy one ;-)
    We are now living in Torbay on AKL North Shore. After finding http://www.earthship.com and this website here we decided to liquidate our AKL home and start a project to build our own Earthship.
    We are both happy to help on any current earth building site. Lydia is a practicing midwife and I have a solid mechanical engineering background and work currently as raw food and vegan chef at Wise Cicada in Auckland – where we also teach raw food classes on Tue nights.
    Just in case that is of relevance for building and Earthship ;-)
    Looking forward to building a strong Earthship community here in NZ.
    0275551622

  34. Hi.

    so happy that there is finally more momentum in the change of attitudes in the the way of building mentality. having worked on conventional building sites since a kid ( dad being a builder ) i gradually lost the inspiration to do my apprenticeship because of the lack of imagination and the waste produced also how its so male dominated and the lunch time conversations were about fishing car racing golf and hunting which i was never into. Its really nice to see the photos of earth building projects in the process being more gender friendly. If there is any projects in the wellington region i would be keen to get involved.

    contact: intergalacticstarsurfer@gmail.com

  35. Hi all, here’s another earthship enthusiastic volunteer who’d love to be involved in any of the earthsip projects anywhere in NZ or Australia. Unfortunately no experience, but have strong interest in this topic. Please let me know if you get to know about volunteering opportunities.
    0220462447.

  36. Hi, Iwoulkd love to get involved with building an earthship, I am a landscaper so I have building skills as far as landscaping goes, which is actually pretty broad. I’m fit and a hard worker also. I’m livimg in Auckland so please get in touch if there are any projects happening here or in the area, I would love to get involved and learn more. My number is 0223617270

  37. Living on the Sunshine Coast Qld, prior to returning home later this year. Planning on living up north of Whangarei, and would gladly join in a working group. Have a small working group on the Sunshine Coast learning and testing different processes.

  38. I would also be happy to volunteer some time and effort in the Bay of plenty especially as I have a house that probably needs to be torn down and land to build on aswell 0274521993 am living in Auckland at the moment

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