Entries by Theresa Sjoquist


Light-earth sanctuary

  Earth building is cheaper than conventional building – but only if you do it yourself, says Sam Southward. He built four light-earth constructions at the delightfully named Absurdistan Community near Kaiwaka.  Sam was happy to chat and share what it takes to build in light-earth. Sam (74) and his partner, Prasado Straub, have lived […]


Recipe for an eco kitchen

Custom-made kitchen cabinetry using natural materials may be more expensive up-front, but it’s healthier, long lasting, and won’t end up clogging our landfills like cheaper products. A chat with West Auckland craftsman cabinetmaker Roland Zander about his business, Natural Kitchens, brought up a number of things to consider in creating more sustainable kitchens.    In […]


Sweet spice – Vanilla from Tonga

Photos: Copyright Heilala Vanilla On 31 December 2001 the island of Vava’u in Tonga was struck by Cyclone Waka. In winds of 190 km per hour, tree trunks snapped, houses were reduced to matchsticks, and crops destroyed. From that destruction however grew something sweet. This is the story of Heilala Vanilla. Today Heilala Vanilla is […]


Low-tech Living in a light-earth house

  No fridge, the laundry by hand, and wheelbarrowing composted humanure around are not everyone’s lifestyle cup of tea, but for Wolfgang Hiepe and his wife, Sabine Drueckler-Hiepe, it’s a good lifestyle. Learn why they’ve prioritised resilience and independence over convenience. Wolfgang and Sabine emigrated from Germany in 1987, full of verve and the pioneering […]

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Beauty and the Feast

A passion for our natural heritage, an imaginative artistic vision, and some determined scrounge-hounding has resulted in the destination café that is Eutopia, in Northland’s Kaiwaka. Here’s to checking the coffee and finding out what’s behind the scenes. First opened in 2001, Eutopia Café had fallen into disrepair when Marijke Valkenburg and her husband Robert […]