ADVENTURE

‘We’re going there for adventure’: Family in off-grid house in Auckland head for Cromwell hut

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.

“We’re going there for adventure,” Duncan says. “There are a couple of huts on the property, which we may be able to join up to make a temporary home. It’s pretty rugged, but it will be good for the boys to experience a different way of living. Not everyone gets to live in a house like this one here.”

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“A lot of my friends say the boys are South Island boys in disguise,” Chalmers says. “They are really excited.”

Andrew Duncan, Jessie Chalmers and Kea, 8, Kahu, 5 and Sol 23 months, are swapping a charmed life with an off-grid house in semi-rural Swanson for a couple of huts on a merino farm in Cromwell.

Abigail Dougherty/Stufff

Andrew Duncan, Jessie Chalmers and Kea, 8, Kahu, 5 and Sol 23 months, are swapping a charmed life with an off-grid house in semi-rural Swanson for a couple of huts on a merino farm in Cromwell.

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

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