Ecological initiatives at Sudarshanaloka

Wood pigeon

Sudarshanaloka comprises 240 acres of regenerating bush, the heart of the Tararu valley, that runs inland from sea to hills flanked by the Tararu and Ohio streams. The Retreat Centre is off grid regarding water, electricity and sanitation so that we are presented with the opportunity to develop ecologically sustainable utilities.

This has been an ongoing process since the purchase of the land in 1993. Evolving from the innovative and novel to our current effective ecological systems integrating rainwater, stream, wood fire, solar and gas. The lower retreat house, community dwellings and solitary facilities all now have functional up to date sustainable water, heating and power. As our expertise and funding improves, so does our ability to install efficient functional eco systems for the benefit of the community and retreatants.

This is a very exciting and interesting aspect of our work here at Sudarshanaloka sifting the chaff from the wheat of new technologies in consultation with colleagues in the wider community as to how best get this stuff to work. We are doing well in this area.

Our water supply is from rain water and a small spring fed stream on our land that we hold in various storage tanks. This last summer we upgraded our water lines, taps, valves and water collection so that we now have a very efficient water harvesting system with excellent water quality control and distribution to the various buildings.
Our dwellings all have efficient solar power varying from lighting only to water heating and inverters for 240 volt to run appliances, charge batteries etc. Currently we grade our huts in terms of energy use relative to need and requirement.

The buildings also now all have efficient wood stoves ranging from small heat only to larger with wet backs. We are also well into ‘Fire up the Dharma’ which is a project to install wood fired radiators in the lower house to heat the place in winter which should be completed by May 2023. We presently have about 80 pine trees around Mandalavara hut, which is about 30 years supply of firewood for all our stoves. So that if for every two we cut down we plant two, appropriately, then that gives us a continuous cycle of firewood indefinitely moving to the future.
There is still much to do ecologically, especially regarding sewage, sanitation and pest control. However if you are interested in ecology and renewables then Sudarshanaloka is the place for you where we are a living functioning example of what can be done, with plenty more to do.

Together with Waikato Regional Council, we are committed to protecting kauri at Sudarshanaloka from Kauri Die-back (KDB) Disease. Please help us to do this by using the boot cleaning station in the car-park as soon as you arrive, and others when you come across them.

Join the community

Keep up to date with our newsletter