Craig: All of us here at GridFree have agreed that we think you'd be a great person for our giveaway. So congratulations! You are the winner of our
giveaway this year.
Rob: I'm trying not to cry.
Craig: You can cry!
Craig: Have you got anybody there with you?
Rob: Yeah, my wife she's sitting next to me, trying not to cry too.
Craig: Oh, that's fantastic. We'd really like to get involved with you and come down and install one of our kits and transform the way you guys are living. We'd really like to help.
Last year to celebrate and give back to our growing GridFree community we gave away a Bach Kit to Leah in Pipiwai. After seeing so many deserving entries and the impact it had on Leah's life, we decided we had to do it again! This year, the winner was Rob Moke, and we're at his place to install his brand new Bach Kit and hear the wonderful story of what brought Rob and his wife, Shantelle, back to their whānau whenua.
Craig: Kia ora, Rob.
Rob: Kia ora.
Craig: Congratulations on your win.
Rob: Oh, thanks eh. I've been looking forward to this but um, Tēnā nau mai, haere mai me haere atu tāua ki te tiro nē. (Well, welcome/greetings, let us both have a look around the place.) We'll go have a look around.
Craig: Yeah, I'm keen.
Kia ora, ko Rob Moke tōku ingoa, kei konei mātou i te pito o te motu, Kaitieke. Nā reira, koinā tāku. (Hello, my name is Rob Moke, here we are in the centre point of the area, namely Kaitieke. So, that's me.)
Kia ora, my names Rob Moke and, ah, my wife and I, my daughter, my little family, we're down here in the big smoke of Kaitieke. Living on my wife's whenua. Winning this was so awesome, getting that phone call from you and then when you said that we had won it, man, I bawled my eyes out. I was terrible, I was a bloody mess. Yeah my wife and I, we were sitting in the truck
and we just couldn't get over it. We were so blimmin' happy, high fiving each other, looking like a pair of bloody idiots. But you know, who cares, it was bloody awesome! Winning this was just answers to our prayers, yeah, it just made our night eh. We were so over the moon.
Craig: So I saw this car in the photos you sent through and there was a black and white photo when it was a complete car.
Rob: That photo was taken just up there where the bike and trailer is, so it's always been on the whenua and my father in law used to get taken to school in this. Also, I found out having a talk with my wife's, one of her uncles, they used to use this in four wheel drive, and try driving over the river and all sorts and go through the mud. So it was multipurpose. Yeah.
Craig: It could do with a little bit of bog and some paintwork. Be back on the road soon.
Rob: And a heap of hope! We use this as a focal point for photos for family photos.
Craig: Yeah. I love the story. I love the fact that the car has always been on this whenua eh.
Daughter, playing in the car: Gotta put the radio on.
Rob: After having a good chat with my wife, we wanted to come back. This is where she grew up, it's one of her forever homes. This is where her Papa helped to raise her. She absolutely adored him. She loved him. You know, there's not enough words in the world to express how much she loved him. Sadly, he passed away on the whenua and my wife wanted to walk in the very same footsteps as her Papa. He was well known for hunting. He loved to provide for his whānau when there was a tangihanga (funeral) and stuff on, he always made sure that they had kai, the biggest thing was kai. If you could feed a person's puku (tummy) then you made them happy. And once you made them happy, then they were either friends or whānau for life.
So just walking in the same footsteps as her Papa. She absolutely adored him, and that's what we're hoping to do for our daughter. So my wife wants to go up there into the hills, walk the same places that he walked. We want to put up a little memorial so we can shoot up there, reminisce about him and let whānau
know that although he fell, he was picked up, brought home, and interred into the whenua down here. And we want that same kind of lifestyle for our daughter. Go up into the hills do hunting, provide for the whānau. Manaaki Manuhiri, Manaaki Tangata. (Showing hospitality to all.)
So the inspiring thing about coming back here was the whenua and the whare. The whare, that's like the ūkaipō (source of life). It's like the womb of the whenua. It's where you're warmed, it's where you're sheltered, and it's where you feel most comfortable. And that's that house to my wife. That's where her Papa was, that's where her Nanny was, her Kuikui, Nanny Winifred. And this is her forever home.
It's been rundown for so many years. You know, we felt so mamae (hurt) for the place. It was real awesome coming back. But it was sad, too, knowing that,
you know, it was neglected, not, you know, because everybody chose to. It's just everybody's so busy. So we took it upon ourselves to come back, breathe life back into the place. And we're hoping, fingers crossed, going to be housing our mokopuna (grandchildren) in the future. That's what we wanted. Somewhere to come home to, somewhere to feel loved. And that's exactly what we've got
and that's exactly what we're giving back.
Yeah, so this is home. This is Nanny Winnie. So she was up in the old house, whānau purchased this house, brought it down here in the early to mid eighties, but she kept on going back up to the old house. She just couldn't help it. But um, yeah, it's been here since the mid eighties, looking a bit rough at the moment. But you know, like everything you just got to take good care of it and then hopefully bring it back to its original state, what it used to be in.
We had to replace the roof, so as you can see, it leaked pretty bad. So we took off the iron and then we found out that a lot of the wood needed to be replaced too, but we did all that. Now the next step, bringing the ceiling down and then redo it all over again.
Craig: Yeah, yeah, that's good now that the roof doesn't leak that's a start eh? And the fireplace was here?
Rob: Yep, in here originally was the lounge. My wife's Papa had a seat over there, I think, a couch. And this is where they spent most of their time. Yeah, slowly but surely getting there.
Craig: Yeah, awesome.
Rob: So what we do on a day to day, I've got 18 hours of the day where I can put my 100% back into the whenua ensuring that the whenua is well looked after. Because we all know if you look after the whenua, the whenua will look after you. So we've got kai up in the hills, we've got kai down here in the river, so the whenua will provide.
So our urupā (cemetery) has something special to us because they were the ones that, you know, worked on the whenua. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here today. So, you know, we have to acknowledge them and give them the respect that they're, you know, that they are due. We love our whānau so much. They made sacrifices so that we can be here. We'll make sacrifices so when our daughter has her tamariki (children), our mokopuna (grandchildren), they can do the same thing that we're doing right now, you know, just enjoying the place and just how can you not? It's so beautiful.
We had to adapt to the place or else we’d fail. Yeah, living off-grid wasn't easy,
but if it was easy then everyone would be doing it. It's the simple things. It's very rewarding. We've come full circle. We still got a lot to learn. It was bloody hard. Yeah. I won't kid myself it was hard. Yeah, so this is the old house and this is where Nanny Winnie lived, the majority of her life, and Koro Bill.
So this was the lounge and just in there was the main bedroom. Where Koro Bill and Nanny Winnie were, and they entertained so many people here. We've had whānau come back, especially pākehā whānau too that they used to work for
and they remember coming here socialising with Koro Bill and Nanny Winnie
and they're so happy that it's still here.
Craig And this would have been built before the turn of the century.
Craig: In the 1800s or something like that? Native timber?
Rob: Yeah been a long time. Lot of history, sentimental value. So this is the kitchen dining area, but right over here, this was the cooking area. So Nanny Winnie, she made some beautiful meals, we've got a lot of whānau still around today, even when they were young and they remember her for her cooking. And they were, they couldn't believe some of the stuff she used to pull out.
Craig: All cooked on the fire there, right?
Rob: Yep. Open fire. So once again, you know, so much sentimental value. We really want to fix it up, but yeah, I'm not too sure.
So some of my whānau asked me, you know, why did I enter the giveaway? Well, you know, it's pretty straightforward. We needed something and the biggest thing was communication. So with, with my health condition - I need to make sure that, you know, we have a way to reach emergency services when we desperately need it. There's been a couple of times where it's come close, this gave us the opportunity to fill that need, you know, find the solution to, you know, an issue that we had. So we're quite fortunate.
Best reasons for going off-grid especially solar is, yeah, heaps of people will say freedom. I wouldn't have it any other way. This is just too cool, you know, you've got nothing else to worry about. And you know, Tamanuiterā (The Sun), Ngā hīhī o Tamanuiterā (The rays of sunshine). You know one of our tīpuna (ancestors),
he's looking after us. You know, we come down through, you know, different channels. So you got Tāne Mahuta, Tāne-nui-a-rangi, Tāne-te-wānanga,
Tāne-te-wehewehe all that kind of stuff, and Tamanuiterā is one of our gods, he's looking after us, providing energy for us.
That's our neighbour's property. Yeah, so they came down last couple of weeks
and put up the barbeque table.
Craig: Picnic right by the river eh.
Rob: So we're hoping at some stage we're all going to be camping down there and yeah, have a real good get together. Yeah, but um so just over there on the bank there, when the water is lower, you can walk across there and that's where we used to bathe and you know, swim and all that kind of stuff.
Craig: Oh it would have been cold.
Rob: Oh, freezing.
Craig: Comes off the mountains!
Rob: So one of the proudest moments that I've had down here, was successfully bringing my wife back. Seeing the look on her face when we moved into the whare, she had replaced the roof, her and our uncle. That was a proud moment for her. But just um, seeing her smile eh, yeah, it's really hard to talk about. Like um, I'm trying not to have a bit of a tangiweto (cry) and stuff, but na just bringing my wife back to where she wants to be.
We um, lost her grandmother just before we moved back down here. And so she lost her forever home in Hastings. And then just knowing that um we've moved back here, the same place where, her Papa raised her Dad, and just seeing her smile, cry with happiness, and then being at home and knowing that we're never going to leave because this is home now, one of those happy moments and definitely that seeing her smile, knowing that she's back.
Kua hoki mai e ia ki te whenua, kua hoki mai anō e ia ki te kāinga, ki tōna tūrangawaewae. (She's returned to the land, she's also come back to her home, to where she belongs.) So yeah, back here for good, where she should be.
Winning the Bach Kit, it's changed my life already. It's brought a smile to my face, especially for my wife, too. Yeah I've said it's the simple things and because of this we get that simple thing again. So yeah being able to plug in our phone, charge our phone and, you know, wi-fi so we can still keep in touch. It's a life changer if anything happens to my wife and I down here, our daughter, you know, we can reach out. So having the Bach Kit yeah, it's definitely a life changer, keeping us in contact with the right people. And yeah, we... words just can't express that.
Yeah, because you can't rewind time, you just can't rewind time. That's all it is, so having something like this, you know, to being able to communicate with our whānau yeah, it's definitely a big changer.