By Noel Ackerman.
Last month Steve, Kris and I had the pleasure of doing an off grid install and house wiring on Puangiangi Island, off the north east coast of D Urville Island on the South Island side of Cook Straight.
To get there we drove to French Pass which is an hour and a half from the main Blenheim/Nelson road and then had an hours ride on a barge.
We were accompanied by Barry Dent, the island owner, and Peter Gaze. Barry bought the island last year with the intention of turning the island back into a bird sanctuary specifically for seabirds.
The island was farmed and inhabited by Ross Webber for 46 years until he sold it in 2004. The home that Ross built for himself had a single approximately 90 watt solar panel that charged a battery and ran a couple of lights. It is believed that Ross did not leave the island for the last 17 years that he lived there.
Getting all that gear up the rough track to the site was a real mission!
We installed twelve 190 watt panels and eight 250 amp hour batteries. We also completely wired the home with lights, power points, etc.
While working we were having to shut the doors to all buildings otherwise Wekas would come in, take things and run away with them. As they provide a similar threat to the nesting sea birds they are being trapped and transported back to the mainland. When we left we caught 6 of them and released them into bush not far from French Pass.