building a life on land and sea


The island of Aotea is just 62 nautical miles from the city center of Auckland, New Zealand, and yet completely off the grid.  There are no utilities (water, electricity, trash collection) which means living or operating a business here requires a fair amount of self-reliance.

Lucky us, we were chatting up the cool Wharram catamaran next to us, and turns out they are locals!  Kiri grew up on the island and her partner Mark is originally from the mainland but moved to Aotea 15 years ago.  Together they have been slowly working towards building the dream life of living off the land and sea.

And when I say building, I mean using reclaimed materials they have hiked through the bush and hand-assembled.  Complete with teepees, a wood-burning hot tub, and a skate park.  Yes, I said skate park.

So, when they offered to take us on an adventure around the island and deep into their bush paradise, we couldn’t say no.

I am so excited to share this adventure with you.  Getting a glimpse into someone else’s journey and seeing their progress motivates and inspires me.  I hope it does the same for you.



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Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (20)

  • Neil Smith

    Hey guys hope you are well… loving your work and lifestyle still. Thought I would send you a link to a couple who are living a different life on boats but the photography is kinda cool… so a little light viewing for you when you get downtime meanwhile stay safe.

  • Hans Karreman

    Nice video. What a fantastic life style, I totally agree. How are the allergies Nikki, I was thinking about it as I watched you walking through the bush. Cheers

  • Alan Solomon

    Helloo Wynns.
    Thank you so much for another AWESOME video. Regarding your last question in this video. My answer is definitely yes. I would love to experience the freedom and live off-grid in that place. It would be more than an adventure for me.
    Regarding what one of your commentors mentioned above about Freedom. I have recently done a bit of research on my astrological history and freedom is all through my particular astrological research and history. It is inbred in me. I wonder when his birthday is?
    These two people are quite interesting and very adventurous, but I am a dog lover. Indy won me over with his smiling face in the back of that truck. I love the forest, especially rainforest and creeks, streams and most any flowing water so, I envision being at home. As always, thanks for this Online adventure. Stay safe and no troubled waters.

  • John S.

    What an amazing couple you introduce us to this week.

    This must have been a fun one to edit as you probably had so many excellent clips to choose from, but I like the ones you picked. Well done.

  • Ausbin Pippin

    Makes one wish that they were able to find a place like this to be able to live. Really appreciate them and you for sharing

  • Dave

    So cool. Very inspiring. What a cool tribe you guys have. I’d love a little more detail. Like are they squatting that land or do the own it? The forest seems dry. Is that time of year or drought issues? And how does Kiri balance her legal work and off the gridness? I’ll have to read about in their book! Tell them start writing it and let know when I can but it!

  • Ed Grant

    Well, at my age(75) I am way too accustomed to the modern conveniences to live that way! These kids are amazing and they have it set up pretty cool and comfortable. Love that they have water so nearby, but I would be concerned about its’ potability! Being a retired asphalt paving contractor, seeing this little out of the way island having paved roads! Sometime in the past there must have been a portable hot plant set up in order for them to be paved so nicely. Having one barged over from the mainland certainly is possible, but how or who paid for it? Government I suppose. Having you not show the road on tape, helped to insure they wouldn’t have any unwanted visitors too. They obviously like their little slice of paradise!

  • Debbie

    How do they get all of that stuff up there through the bush?

  • Jerod W Thompson

    I’m the guy that has brain cancer. What I would give to have what you both have worked your asses off! I can’t imagine how busy your lives must be. Americans would be a safer and better place to have you guys running it. Even it is in ocean …. You guys rock thank you for inspiring me for one more day…


  • Graeme Sweeney

    Wow, thank you for sharing this, all this was once my dream, now I live on a small island 60ºN, in a regular house, I keep myself to myself, and wonder at the beautiful ever changing views, I turned my back on the crazy city life, in favour for the freedom of the wilder places, your documentaries help me fire the flames of freedom I once had for myself, thank you.

    Yell, Shetland

  • Louis Bourque

    There place is not messy it what I call lived in. Love the videos keep it up

  • Steve

    Who are you kidding? You two have NEVER said no to an adventure. The fact that you put in the work to share them with us is mind boggling. Love you guys, and love what you do for your fans. (Hmm. Have I heard that before? Well, worth repeating.)

  • Jeff Herfkens

    You meet the nicest people with the Wynns

  • mary van

    You meet amazing people EVERYWHWERE you go! How do you find them?

    I heard that butt buster from the bridge. Ouch, that had to have hurt! I love the water but being tossed around in a wave that large has got to be a little scary! Glad that was not you 2 out there.

    Such a cool place, such cool people. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Love, love this video!

    • Steve

      Mary, how about you are you keeping a blog, or facebook page? Would love to read how you are doing what your kids have already learned.

      • Curious Minion

        You can follow Mary’s Insta account @Marys_Van. And there are several posts/videos with Mary on GWTW. Have you seen this one?
        Curious Minion

        • Steve

          Yeah, and I met her in Fredericksburg. Cool Lady. Thanks for the tip. Now I’ll have to figure out that Insta thingy.

  • John bates

    We love the story

  • Stephen Medcalf

    So enjoyed this one and love following the both of you. Keep on adventuring !

  • Hamish Dempster

    Very impressive. I wish I could find a peaceful place like this.

    Hamish Dempster



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