Whangarei ecovillage Ahi Wai is still in its planning stages yet managed to pull off a "significant coup" by securing inspirational speaker Kosha Joubert to conduct a workshop there next week.
South African-born Joubert is executive director of the Global Ecovillage Network, or GEN, which is helping link 10,000-plus communities in 110 countries.
Joubert has been travelling the world visiting many of these communities and was conducting workshops in Auckland, "so when the opportunity arose to have her present in Whangārei, we jumped at it", says Ahi Wai's Shaun Davison.
"This is very timely. We have just resumed our monthly meetings and are now inviting people to join us. These will be the people who will eventually be members of our eco-neighbourhood."
Although the Regent project is still on the drawing board, Davison said it nevertheless epitomised Joubert's call to "design our own pathway to the future".
Joubert, who was "an angry youth" and an anti-apartheid protester, came to the conclusion that, not just South Africa, but the entire global culture was based on apartheid and with it came the horrors of climate change and species' extinctions.
She told a TEDx Geneva conference how she decided to travel and that her epiphany came when visiting her first ecovillage, of both black and white people, in Port St Johns in South Africa.
"There seems to be the belief that by simply being humans on this planet we need to be destructive," she told the TEDx audience.
The Port St Johns community, and the many ecovillages she visited later, persuaded her that people could go out of their comfort zones to live sustainably, in self-healing ways and in a safe environment — and help "regenerate" their surroundings. And that in turn helped her to feel she was "part of the solution, not the problem".
Joubert's presentation will be at Ahi Wai Eco neighbourhood, 13b Cross St, Regent, at 7pm on Monday, June 17. It's free to Ahi Wai members but a $10 koha is suggested for others.