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Building A Yurt In New Zealand

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Old 05-02-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
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Default Building a yurt in New Zealand

Kia ora!

I was wondering if anyone is building a ger/yurt in New Zealand. We seem to have a few suppliers here but I'd like to hear from someone who has actually put one up and lived in it in our damp climate. I am thinking of getting one, as big as I can find, to use as a permanent family home but I have a few worries specific to our environment.

I am mainly concerned with:

1) noise (and other problems) from our harsh winter wind (I have a 3 year old who doesn't sleep well)
2) mould (the exact thing I am running from in rented accommodation)

I am also interested in hearing about any potential problems with council approval for the dwelling although I realise this varies due to location.

So, if anyone has any NZ-based experience who could enlighten me, I'd be very grateful.

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Old 05-03-2013, 01:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Are you in the South Island, or North? The climate here in the Pacific Northwest is pretty much identical to that of the South Island, so you can read posts about the problems, and remedies people here have had, and solved.
Woody, late of Christchurch.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Thanks for your reply, Woodyrock. We are in the North Island. Yes, I think our climate is similar, too, except that we don't get snow here and also suffer from gusty gales (which you may get, I'm not sure??) and a tonne of rain...but of course that is Pacific Northwesty too, right I have been reading those posts with interest and have learnt a lot. The only thing is that the materials we have available to us are different so I'm hoping to marry that info with some from an experienced local.

Now I'm thinking I should have put this in the 'Yurt Living' stream, but I'll just wait and see if I get lucky with any Kiwi replies here first.
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

on the wind side, an authentic yurt would do a great job, as the whole package if well tight won't flap in the wind. They're also naturally aerodynamic.
Mold could be a problem depending on the yurt's qualty or if not taken care of or installed in an unventilated humid area (leaning onto a bush for example), although usually a yurt (ger) that's lived in (breathed, heated) resist really well to any mold.
Also, we often suggest not going to big, but rather connect smaller yurts together, is is usually cheaper, easier on maintenance,

heating

, etc...
That's for the Mongolian side :-)
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Thanks for the info, GroovyYurts, and sorry for the late reply. I feel better about the wind issue now although I really hope to find someone living in a yurt here that I could ask about the mould situation.

I do like the idea of having more than one yurt. My master plan would be to begin with one big (the biggest we can get here seems to be 9 metres) yurt to live in until we could afford to add a second and I was thinking that that was the cheapest way to do it since I assumed I'd have to buy a wood stove (and wood) for each in order to keep everything dry re: the mould issue, but I've just been looking at some pics of conjoined yurts. Now I'm wondering, because you mentioned about it being easier to heat a smaller yurt, if it would be possible to heat conjoined yurts with just one stove, perhaps with a fan to blow the heat from one to the other. Have you heard of anyone doing this successfully?
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

I am thinking you would need a wood stove in each yurt myself, but smaller yurt, smaller stove.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

I've seen an elegant system once where they were running a water pipe through the stove and connected it to an old cast iron radiator that was in the second room.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Thanks for the replies! That radiator situation sounds great. I've got some thinking to do but we are going to scout out some possible sections (lots? properties? land?) next weekend to see what is possible so I'm sure I'll show up on some thread or another again soon. Cheers
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:32 AM   #9
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Hi Kiwi yurty, I and my family are also working on building yurts in New Zealand (Auckland), so just wondering if you were successful in your yurty endeavors? We're currently working on what to insulate with, so would love to hear what you used if so?
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Old 05-27-2014, 01:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Building a yurt in New Zealand

Kia Ora! We are on a similar journey, currently in the process of building a rather large deck for a 20 foot (6m) diameter yurt on the West Coast, South Island of NZ. We bought this yurt from Colorado Yurt Co a couple years back, new, due to the very wet and cool climate here which we felt would likely not be conducive to most locally available canvas or traditional yurts. The yurt has a big wind loading hardware package,

insulation

for walls and roof, and is sitting in a box awaiting erection!

Our situation: We own 22 acres of beautiful elevated off-grid regenerating native bush and this project is a fairly major undertaking for us - it will be our primary dwelling space for the next several years at least. At some stage we may extend onto the yurt deck by incorporating it into a house but for now this will be us. Our plan, which is very dynamic, shall we say, is to construct this

yurt platform

to building code but not involve council at the moment.

The deck will have not only the ger but also a covered, partially closed adjacent pavilion for outdoor living space. As well there will be an attached kitchen (separate from the yurt), current thoughts being either to convert a shipping container into a kitchen and putting that on piles abutting the deck and pavilion, or building a de novo permanent timber structure to hold kitchen, shower/composting toilet and possibly an additional small room. power (eventually) will be from a combination of stand-alone PV solar panel array and a micro hydro undershot water wheel from the low head, high flow creek which flows through our land.

at this stage we have not applied for building consent due to our fear that the local council will reject a consent for a yurt as a habitable structure, despite having all the engineering stamps from North America already available. This council is notoriously old school from what we have heard and can be quite difficult. We are also contemplating using some very grunty old hardwood jarrah bridge beams and large native timber piles to construct the outdoor pavilion - which ideally needs an engineers stamp, yet we again are nervous that the council won't approve such a project - and we are frankly anxious to approach a locally registered structural engineer in case they are obligated to report to the council what we are doing. so kind of at a sticky crossroads at the moment....decking nearly completed, area for raised ger footprint is next on construction list followed by getting the yurt itself up, with larger projects of kitchen and outdoor pavilion looming in the not-t00-distant future. we've heard that Tasman council has recently approved a yurt for habitation, but the consent process was long, difficult and expensive for those folks.

the local code DOES in fact require that all permanent OR temporary structures mandate a building consent - this means the yurt technically requires one. we're not interested in additional high costs, delays, engineers reports or refusal of consent etc etc if we can avoid it! but we also don't want to be evicted either...so fingers crossed we can fly under the radar, build everything to code to appease ourselves of sufficient structural integrity, and hence also avoid being told to take it down if the council does approach us at some stage. to be honest this situation may change in the near future if we decide the risk is too great. But hopefully we come to a decision we are comfortable with and can crack on with building our beautiful little yurt home soon.

Anyone know of a structural engineer who loves working with hardwood timbers and alternative living projects so we can at least get that part sorted? South Island preferable as we would obviously be obligated to pay for travel costs. Any other thoughts re: council consents? Cheers!

Last edited by Jafo; 05-27-2014 at 05:52 PM.
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