'We're going there for adventure': Family in off-grid house in Auckland head for Cromwell hut
Author: Colleen Hawkes
A slice of rural life near the city - Jessie Chalmers and Andrew Duncan are listing their architectural off-grid home in Auckland. They built their off-grid architectural dream home in Auckland, but now this family are heading for a merino farm with "a couple of huts". Jessie Chalmers, Andrew Duncan and their three sons, Kea, 8, Kahu, 5, and Sol, 23 months, have an enviable lifestyle on a picturesque property in Swanson. Their homeschooled children roam free, building tree huts, collecting eggs, and careering down the driveway – and in April there will be a fourth baby boy joining the family. But now that the family has their home exactly as they want it, they’re off to start over on a 242ha property they own in Cromwell, which is currently leased for merino sheep grazing. The couple say if they can’t make the accommodation work, they will rent, but they want to spend at least a year on the land, through all the seasons, before they build a new house. And yes, it will be another sustainable home. Their Swanson house, which they have listed for sale, is completely off-grid – a decision partly prompted by the cost of running a power cable from the road to the house. But they also liked the idea of being completely independent of the national grid, saying there are six to eight power outages a year in Swanson, and more in the “loop” that services the street and Bethells Beach.