We are Mark, Jilanne and Eli Holder and we live off-the-grid in Charleston on the West Coast of New Zealand.
How Holder’s Hideaway Came About
Mark, a South African, has always wanted to live in the wilderness and have his own piece of land that he could grow food, hunt, fish and live a sustainable life. We searched the whole world over and finally decided to settle in New Zealand, where Jilanne is from and where Eli was born.
After 3 years living in Matamata, NZ, in the North Island of New Zealand we saw the perfect off-grid hideaway on Trade Me. We packed up the family – Eli was 2 at the time and our cat and moved down to the South Island. Mark is a huge fan of Josh James, The Kiwi Bushman and watched a lot of his YouTube videos so he knew that the West Coast was where he wanted to be. We looked at properties in the Far North of New Zealand but then decided to head to the West Coast.
The past year has not been without struggles. Even as little as 3 months ago we thought owning our own property would never happen. It was meant for other people but not for us. But it’s amazing how when the stars align, EVERYTHING falls into place.
We arrived in Westport on October 27th 2017 with the intention of buying our home within 6 months. We took over the house on October 31st, 2018. It took a bit longer than we intended but here we are.
Living off the grid
Our home was previously a holiday home and most of the appliances are for an RV or motorhome. It is 100% off the grid. We have a tiny TV, 3 tiny solar panels, and a 10,000 litre water tank.
We have to be careful when charging our phones and even having showers. You don’t realise that everytime you turn on a tap or flush the toilet you are using power to run the water pump. We turn everything off when we aren’t using it – even the Wifi!
Our washing machine isn’t hooked up yet because we don’t have the power capacity to run it. We will be upgrading our solar power system but until then I have been doing laundry at the laundromat until our generator arrives.
Our hot water, tiny RV fridge, and tiny oven all run on gas. When we upgrade our solar panel system we will be able to run our big fridge and freezer. For now though, we are doing fine with what we have. We are lucky that it’s coming into summer so it’s lighter for longer in the evenings so we still make power and we don’t really need the lights on.
This is an adventure and one we have been planning for a long time. It’s exactly how we imagined it would be. We still have a lot of work to do.
First we need to put up an outside shed so we can get rid of the last few boxes – our house will feel like a home and not like a storage locker!
Then the real work will begin – growing food and becoming real homesteaders at Holder’s Hideaway!