A few steps closer to the earth
Paekakariki’s informal community education classes, ChillEd, kicked off last week with a hands-on demonstration on how to build a house out of tyres.
It is the second time the skillsharing classes have run, this time featuring 19 subjects, including long-line fishing, yoga, seaweeds of the coast, building rain barrels and harvesting greywater.
On Monday night eight people gathered in Paekakariki man Steve Bright’s backyard to learn about earthships, which are environmentally-friendly houses, typically made with an external wall of tyres rammed with earth, built into a hillside.
The gathering started with cups of tea and coffee, introductions and a discussion about what participants knew of earthships, which ranged from next-tonothing to quite a lot.
Mr Bright, who worked on an earthship in England, demonstrated how to fill the tyres with dirt and pound it so the dirt was tightly compacted.
He then passed over his tools for people to practise filling and packing the tyres themselves, which took about 20 to 30 minutes for each tyre.
Sam Buchanan, one of ChillEd’s organisers, said the series was relatively easy to put together.
‘‘Everybody has something they can teach and something they need to learn. It’s just a matter of getting the latter together with the former.’’
Mr Buchanan said the classes were cheap, close to where people live and practical. Tutors are mostly locals who have volunteered their time.
A lot of the classes have sustainability themes such as building a raised garden, introductory permaculture and making a bio-digester to liquefy weeds and turn them into a mineral-rich fertiliser.
Mr Buchanan said the first series last winter was a great success.
‘‘We’re running the home brewing workshop again due to popular demand.’’
Some lessons have limited numbers or set fees, but most are koha and do not require booking. Contact 905 5685.
Hands-on: A practical lesson in building an earthship.