Kaitiakitanga. We are guardians of the land.

solarcity is proud to support Marae DIY –
together we're helping communities throughout New Zealand live a more sustainable future.

We're proud to be part of Māori Television’s latest season of Marae DIY.

As programme sponsors, solarcity have provided five marae across New Zealand with solarZero service to provide clean, sustainable solar energy to the communities who are served by each Marae.

This partnership recognises that both Māori and non-Māori peoples of New Zealand aspire to return mana to our land, and bring our people back to the ways of kaitiakitanga by combining tradition with modern technology to protect our environment.

Here's an exclusive sneak peak at Marae DIY 2019

Marae DIY 2019, Māori TV

We’re proud to be part of Marae DIY’s new season: series 15, premiering on Māori TV, Thursday 24 October. The show runs over 7 weeks and showcases the five Marae who have had new solarZero systems installed to access the power of the sun to their meeting houses.

Tune in to see how solarZero has brought the benefits of the sun’s energy to remote communities in New Zealand.

Working with Iwi

Our team worked with five Hapū across New Zealand, and by providing access to solar energy to each Marae we demonstrated how kaitiakitanga can be achieved as a community.

In the days leading up to the big reveal, we learned the responsibility whanau feel toward the whenua, and that by working together, discussing ideas and issues, we can all work together towards a better future.

Stay connected and learn more

Marae DIY – Behind the Scenes with Kahn Denton

Marae DIY – Behind the Scenes with Kahn Denton

Kahn, of Tainui descent from Taharoa, is the Iwi Partnerships Manager and Marae Community Project lead here at solarcity. He works closely with Iwi to educate about the benefits of bringing solar power to their Marae, as part of their shared value of Kaitiakitanga (we are guardians of this land). The ‘Marae Community Project’ is an initiative led by Kahn to provide access to solar energy to help small Māori communities save money by switching their homes to clean solar energy.  The Marae Community Project The Marae Community Project was launched by solarcity in September 2018 with the installation of a solarZero system at Whangaehu - a marae near Ratana. Kahn consulted with the Whangaehu marae committee over six months to determine the needs and challenges the marae had with their existing power supply. As part of the project, we gifted the solarZero service to the Marae - meaning for the next 20 years the solar power produced from the solarZero system would be provided for their use at no cost. The solarZero service monthly fee for the system would have been $105 +gst, and over the 20 year service contract this gift represents a value of $28,980. Kahn believes the Marae Community Project will help towards the goal to shift Aotearoa to 100% renewable energy, and solar is a perfect way that communities can help make this change a reality.  Kahn’s motivation Kahn’s young daughter is his motivation for him to be part of this change that will make a difference for her and the next generation. “My main reason for joining solarcity was to be part of getting every Marae in NZ access this free energy from the sun. It’s not only about getting solarZero systems on roofs, it’s more about training and upskilling the rangitahi, and keeping within the kaupapa of our people, so that we show the rangitahi, that this is for them, and we can pass on this practice to the next generation.” Growing the project Following on from the project launch at Whangaehu, the next step in the project was for us to partner with Marae DIY’s new series to transform Marae around NZ, by consulting and educating the Marae committee and whanau about moving to solar energy to power their meeting houses, and other buildings on their Marae sites. Over a period of three months, Kahn conducted site visits, where he visited each Marae and assessed their suitability for solar, spent time with the Marae committee members to educate and inform them about the benefits of solar, and then worked with the solarcity team to design the solarZero systems that would best match their needs. Once the committee were in agreement, Kahn and members of solarcity’s installation team spent several days at each of the five Marae who were able to have solar, installing the solarZero systems - a combination of solar panels on roofs, technical systems to convert the solar energy to electricity, and smart batteries to store and exchange power to/from the grid.   Kahn and the team became fully integrated with the Marae DIY project team and the communities who came to lend a hand to transform their Marae, even tending to gardens, painting, sweeping and cleaning up the sites.    Highlights Kahn says the highlights of rolling out the Marae Community Project to another five marae have been educating Maori across the country about climate change and how they can reduce their carbon footprint, meeting and spending time with the people, and hearing the local stories of the land and what it means to the communities. During his time working with each Marae, they talked together about the small changes that each person can make - and that even if they think its minimal, collectively if all Marae make a small change together it's a big change.  “I didn’t actually realise there was a massive problem until I started at solarcity. Everyone says ‘global warming’s happening’. It’s not all about solar, but solar is a vehicle to be able to educate our people on what’s actually happening, and what we can do to make a difference. We should be at the forefront - this is our whenua, we need to do something about it.” Challenges Kahn says the challenges of the project were the long days and the back-to-back, fast-paced schedule of each Marae DIY project. For example, after completing a four-day long Marae project in Taheke (Far North), there was a six hour drive the following day to start the process all over again at the next Marae in Tauranga. With many of the Marae being in remote locations, internet connection was either patchy or non-existent. The solarZero system tech requires broadband for monitoring and management of the power supply, so alternative solutions are being explored to enable this function. At one of the Marae the wiring was found to be too old in parts of the buildings and the design had to be altered to accommodate this. To learn more about Kahn and solarcity’s involvement with Marae DIY, follow us on Facebook.
What Kaitiakitanga means to me

What Kaitiakitanga means to me

Kaitiakitanga is a core value here at solarcity, and one of the reasons we decided to help out with Marae DIY. We asked some of our team what Kaitiakitanga meant for them. Here’s what they had to say.  “For me Kaitiakitanga means we are caretakers or stewards of our environment. We have inherited the planet from our ancestors, and we need to pass it onto the next generation in better shape than we have received it.  "The generation before me didn't realise the full impact of fossil fuels and global warming. If we leave it to the next generation, it might be too late to avoid runaway climate change. That is why I take pride in being part of the only generation who has a shot at avoiding catastrophe. I am proud of doing my bit in tackling our climate emergency by being part of the solarZero movement.” Chris, solar specialist “For me, I am grateful to be living on such an amazing planet and doing everything under my control and ability to make our world a beautiful and an amazing place to live. The most important responsibility for me is to leave this world a better place to live for future generations." Adi, solar advisor “To me, it is all about protecting and being responsible, often in our busy lives we forget everyone around us, we forget about protecting others and making this planet a liveable place for everyone. To me it is about making the responsible decision, the right decision to be more giving, to re-use, recycle, to conserve and to use sustainable energy. Kaitiakitanga is all about being the protector or the guardian, to me, it is all about doing your part and giving back. I’m doing my part by helping get solar panels on roofs, each solarZero customer is a step closer to a more sustainable future.” Ria, solar compliance specialist "I'm proud to be a part of solarcity where we get to live the values of Kaitiakitanga by helping our customers be part of a new energy community that's better for everyone." Derek, Sales "I chose to represent a company that wanted to make a difference.  As a mum of two it was important for me to do my part and set a good example for this new generation.  Actually, I can flip this around now, as its their questions, the beliefs and their demand for action that motivates me to create this movement and change the perception of our country.  We each have a responsibility to do something.  So this is my time to act -  I love where we live and I want my grandkids to enjoy it." Maryanne, Marketing “Kaitiakitanga is a value of our business that aligns strongly to my own. I have two little boys that I want to be able to enjoy the outdoor experiences that I did as a child. Coming from the country, from a long line of farmers, and benefiting from the fruits of Aotearoa, we all as tangata whenua have a role to play in protecting, nourishing and developing our land to ensure that we do so in a way that is sustainable that long after us is left for others to enjoy. We are facing a significant challenge with the heating of the earth as a result of the increase in greenhouse gasses and therefore creating changes in our climate. We all must do our bit to be guardians of our land, kaitiakitanga, to ensure it survives long beyond our own individual physical being.” Pip, business analyst To find out how solarcity is embodying kaitiakitanga and helping New Zealand communities, follow us on Facebook.
solarZero powered Marae

solarZero powered Marae

Earlier this year we had the privilege to work with several Marae across New Zealand, installing our solarZero system as part of their Marae DIY with a focus on Kaitiakitanga. Each of the Marae featured in the videos below now run on sustainable energy. With solarZero they are reducing their power bills and protecting the environment by harnessing the power of the sun. Taita Marae (Marae DIY ep.4) solarcity’s Iwi Partnerships Manager, Kahn Denton, explains why moving to a more sustainable energy source is an important step for the whanau at Taita Marae.  The solarZero system installed on the roof of their wharekai produces 3,392kWh of energy per year, contributing 67,840kWh of energy and saving the Marae an estimated $26,200 on their energy bill over the next 20 years. The system will also help prevent 6,784kg of carbon from entering the atmosphere. Learn more about Kahn’s motivation for this project. Ōruawharo Marae (Marae DIY ep. 3) The wharekai at Ōruawharo Marae, Wellsford, was brought into a more sustainable future with the installation of solarZero on its roof.  The solarZero system produces 2,462kWh of energy per year, contributing 49,240kWh of energy and saving the Marae an estimated $20,000 on their energy bill over the next 20 years. The system will also help prevent 4,924kg of carbon from entering the atmosphere.  Taheke Marae (Marae DIY ep. 2) Starting its life as a community hall 100 years, the wharemoe at Taheke Marae, Hokianga, has been brought into the 21st century with the installation of a solarZero system to run the building on solar energy. The solarZero system produces 3,504kWh of energy per year, contributing 70,080kWh of energy and saving the Marae an estimated $43,600 on their energy bill over the next 20 years. The system will also help prevent 7,008kg of carbon from entering the atmosphere. Find out more about our involvement with Marae DIY and our commitment to Kaitiakitanga here.

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We believe in Kaitiakitanga - the Māori principle of guardianship. It's a constant reminder to look after our land and people for the generations to follow. Climate change threatens us all. Now's the time to act, before it's too late. This is our nuclear-free moment. We're also disturbed by our country's energy network. Dirty power is the norm and prices keep rising creating poverty. The system is broken. But there's a better way. And it starts by harnessing the abundant energy of the sun and sharing it's power.