Off The Grid GBI Event 2016

OTG 2016 photosGreat Barrier Island was a hive of activity as a group of people interested in alternative energy systems descended on the island to talk to the experts who have lived off the grid and also to learn about the latest developments in the alternative energy sector.

This year we took the event to Auckland, a large crowd turned out at Auckland Bowling Club to hear about wind turbines, Vector spoke to us about their latest energy storage solutions and it was exciting to hear that the reason they could not attend Friday nights discussion at Claris was due to a clash with the NZ launch of their Tesla Powerwall.

The interest in electric vehicles continues and it was a thrill to have a Tesla at the Auckland event and to have 2 vehicles on island for people to test drive. We have had one part time resident purchase a car and a number of people teetering on the edge of purchase on island – watch this space! We are examining a number of different avenues to install charging stations on the island and we will keep you updated with developments.

The turnout on Friday night at Claris was terrific and we listened to a lot of information from a range of very interesting speakers including industry experts, consumers, advocates and academics. The conversation around the bar afterwards was fascinating I am always amused by the perception that industry suppliers have as to what our needs would be versus the systems we actually live comfortably with.

The weather gods were extremely kind and the property tour headed off on Saturday morning from Claris airport with blue skies and sunshine. We examined a variety of different systems in some stunning locations. At Kaitoke school we had an opportunity to learn more about electric vehicles and Rendt volunteered to test drive an electric bike which we rode (actually I think just sat on!) travelling to Tryphena before rejoining us at the golf club. We had a fantastic gourmet lunch at the golf club courtesy of Trish and Tim. The scene was picture perfect golden sunshine and the newly solar golf club looking fantastic.

On Saturday evening we had a series of dinner parties in exclusive locations around the island, these intimate evenings gave an opportunity for the property tour attendees to reflect on what we had seen and learned over the course of the day. The food which was all prepared by our fabulous on island caterers was delicious and it is rumoured that some of the parties went on until the early hours of the morning!

On Sunday we had a great Buzz at Tryphena club where people set up their stalls and promoted their wares. It was fantastic to see us celebrating the successes that we have had with handling of waste on the island, recycling, upcycling, reusing and sharing. Tiddles was a very popular winner of the raffle and we will talk further to her about her plans for her new power system.

It was a very busy weekend and our visitors left happy and vowing to return. I for one was very proud to showcase our island reminding myself of how lucky we all are to live in this incredibly special place. My thanks as always to all the people I met along the way for their support and encouragement. Off the Grid is an AoteaOra initiative and is sponsored and fully supported by Great Barrier Island local board.

Where to from here? We have workshops, scholarships, charging stations, conferences and a host of other things planned. If you have any feedback, ideas, or suggestions, I would love to hear them. You can contact me on 182, or by email

Orla Cumisky



The Off The Grid GBI 2016 Programme

Auckland Bowling Club


12th May 2016 – Auckland Bowling Club, Parnell, 7pm

Come along to hear our panel of experts discuss the present solutions that are on offer for people who wish to live off the grid. This evening is open to the public, there is no cover charge, and light refreshments will be provided.

Claris Sports and Social Club


13th May 2016 – Great Barrier Island Sports & Social Club Inc

On Friday we will have an on Island launch and welcome our speakers and guests to the Island. Our panel of experts will inform us of the latest developments in their specialist areas. Afterwards we will adjourn to the Claris Club where the real debate shall commence.

A property on the Property Tour


14th May 2016 – Property Tour

On Saturday we will be on the road visiting a range of properties and inspecting their power systems. Tickets for the Property Tour are $90. Space is limited and each ticket holder will be invited to a dinner party at some of the most amazing homes on the island. These award winning architectural master pieces are tucked away in some of Great Barrier’s remotest locations and it is a thrill to be able to offer access to them for our visitors. Book now!

Barrier Social Club


15th May 2016 – Barrier Social Club, Great Barrier Island, Midday – 3pm

Field day with trade stalls and an opportunity to learn about some local sustainability initiatives.


Off The Grid GBI 2015 Video Highlights

The Off the Grid GBI Alternative Energy Event is an AoteaOra Community Trust initiative.
The trust was established in 2012 with the objective of facilitating, researching, and promoting more sustainable living on Great Barrier Island.

This weekend long event is supported and sponsored by the Great Barrier Island Local Board.
  • Great Barrier Local Board Logo
  • AoteaOra logo