Revisiting Leah in Pipiwai

Revisiting Leah in Pipiwai

Last year to celebrate our growing off-grid community, we decided to give away one of our most popular kits, the Bach Kit. We had a lot of entries and the winner was Leah, here in Pīpīwai. We're back almost a year later to see how she's getting on.
Steve's Passive Tiny House Reading Revisiting Leah in Pipiwai 6 minutes Next Travelling K's Off-Grid Cabin


"Last year to celebrate our growing off-grid community, we decided to give away one of our most popular kits, the Bach Kit. We had a lot of entries and the winner was Leah, here in Pīpīwai. We're back almost a year later to see how she's getting on."

"Kia ora! Welcome back Craig, awesome."

"Good to see you."

"You too."

"How have you been surviving with this Northland weather?"

"Well, bit rainy, bit muddy. But that's how it is."

"How is the solar going?"

"It's awesome."

"Mind if we check the place out?"

"Come on, I'll show you around.

I found the GridFree giveaway because I belong to the GridFree group. And I saw it and I thought, man, I'm applying for that because I need it.

Well, come through we've got the fridge and freezer in here now, um much better than carting all the kai over and listening to it at night time.

"Yeah, I turn mine off at night for the same reason eh."

"Yeah, it's been wonderful. And now our freezers full and our fridge is full."

"Oh, it's full alright!"

"And it's got lots of ice cream."

"Because I remember when we talked last time, you said you guys always had to go into Whangārei?"


"Backwards and forwards and the food would only keep for like a day or so, so you're tripping backwards and forwards."

"Have you cut that down?"

"Way! It's like unreal like, we might shop once every three weeks now besides milk and bread, you know? Yeah, it's just so helpful. And buying in bulk, it just wastes less money. Yeah. Yeah, it's awesome."

"Fantastic. Wonderful."

"And I get home, like, nine o'clock at night from in town, working 12 hour shifts and then I can go into my cabin, and turn the lights on. It is like, wow, it's so awesome. Yeah, it just takes such a load off. That makes a huge difference
especially in the middle and winter, you know, because it can get really sad out here. Life before the Bach was pretty solemn. Last winter was pretty hundy um, no power at all, dark, cold, wet, the mud. We struggled to keep kai, it was hard yards. This winter it's amazing to come home from mahi and I have lights. To other people it might not seem like much but um just having the fact of turning the light on and it's been just such a blessing.

So we have some plans. We are actually going to move the cabin. And these gardens back. And we're going to have a house in here. It's very exciting.

"So are you going to buy a house, moved on or you're going to get one built?"

"Well, um. The niece across over there she's gotten some funding for Māori to come back on the whenua."


"And so we're going through that process.


"It's very exciting. Like to have a real house. I'm just like, wow. So hopefully before Christmas, we might actually have it here. But we have to get all this ready because I want that view. The hubby wanted to put it up there but I was like, na. Who wants to look at the road and everyone else?

"No, you want to look at the whenua, eh?"

"Yes. And we just lucky we're blessed to have it all."

"And how has the solar been going over the winter months?"

"Wonderful. But we don't run too much off it, like I said, just the fridge and freezer and a toaster occasionally, and the lights in the cabin. But it's been just a blessing. Absolute blessing to have lights, fridge and a freezer."

"Speaking of solar, let's go check it out. I'm keen to see how it's running and how the batteries are doing."

"Everything looks A-okay. Been running awesome.

When I found out I won the giveaway, when Rachel rang me, I just screamed the whole place down. I was so excited. The Bach Kit has helped so, so very much. We now have a freezer full of kai buy in bulk, have a fridge, I have lights, can charge my phones without flattening all the car batteries, saved a lot on petrol. It has made our life so much better."

"So there it is! Ah it's still going strong."

"It is. It's awesome."

"Yeah those batteries will go for years. You'll get a good run out of those."


"So, if you're going to move this cabin, all this has to move, eh?"

"Yeah. But what we would like to do is move it and put it on the house. And add to it. So that was what I was going to talk to you about."

"Oh, right, great. Yeah. Well we can chat about that."

"So we want to be fully like gridfree with washing machine and everything. So we need to add to the system."

"Yeah, this system, you can grow some more on it. The one thing is that if you add batteries, sometimes adding new batteries with old batteries, they, they don't mix together too well. We can have a conversation about how that works."

"We'll just move the whole lot over there, to start off with because we need to put the house on piles."

"Yeah. You'll still be running this kit for another 12 months."

"Yeah. So I might need to move the fridge and freezer back in the cabin."

"But the great thing is those panels are attached to this building. So you just move those panels with it. Just disconnect the panels from this shed, move the building, and then move the shed. And you'll be fine."

"So that's, that's the mission! All before Christmas.

Having the solar Bach Kit from the GridFree people has been amazing and life-changing. It's allowed us to have our whānau come back here. We have whānau coming from Australia and it has allowed us to save money or not spend so much going into town every three days to purchase kai. It has allowed us to have a semi-normal life with lights and a fridge. It has been a wonderful experience. Thank you so much GridFree! You rock!"

"Thank you to everyone in our amazing off grid community for supporting us. We can't wait to meet our next winner."