Huia Road Horse Club isn't your typical horse club. It's not a pony club or riding school - it's a community-driven organization where people come together to learn about animal care, community spirit, and environmental stewardship.
At the club, members have the chance to care for the horses, whether they own one or not. By sharing the workload and the rewards, they create a close-knit community where everyone learns about horse handling and land maintenance. For those who dream of owning a horse, it's the perfect place to learn about the responsibilities before taking the plunge.
But the Huia Road Horse Club is much more than just a place for horse lovers.It's a group of people who care about the environment and the wider community. And boy, do they do a lot of positive things!
Stewards of the Land
Huia Road Horse Club is big on land preservation. They've done a lot of weed management, land restoration, planted a lot of trees, done a lot of stream fencing and, of course, invested in a composting toilet!
The club runs events and puts on a lot of pony rides, spreading joy and laughter in the community. There are monthly pony rides at the club, rides at the local kindy, and charity rides for various other outfits and fundraisers. "Most of the children in this area have probably had at least one pony ride in their lives!" laughs Louise.
Hard Times But Fun Times
When the community is in need, Huia Road Horse Club heeds the call. "Currently, we're planning an event for people who have been displaced from their homes by the flooding - it's going to be a fun day on the farm with an Easter egg hunt, a water slide, some pony stuff and games for the kids."
Faith in the Garden
The club has a garden where they grow flowers for various organizations. "We used to give the flowers away to the Quakers who gave posies to Mount Eden Prison on Christmas Day. We did that for 2-3 years. Covid messed with that a little bit, so those years we gave the flowers away to people in the community here - people who've been good to us or people who were sad."
Speaking of Covid, when the pandemic hit, the club made sure that their horses were always in a paddock where people could see them, recognizing the positive impact of nature and animals on mental health.
Getting People Back on Track
Huia Road Horse Club looks after community workers from the Department of Corrections, providing them with outdoor work and a chance to give back to society while enjoying the benefits of being surrounded by nature and animals.
"We care for horses and for people, and keep the land in good order for the whole community. We do things for other people and it's quite a lot of hard work," says Louise.
Want to get involved and make a difference in your community? Huia Road Horse Club is always looking for people to join the cause! Volunteer your time and experience the joy of giving back.
Clivus Multrum CM8 at Huia Road Horse Club
The club's dedication to preserving the environment is nothing short of impressive, and their addition of a composting toilet takes the cake. The Clivus Multrum CM8 composting toilet is a game-changer for the club - both financially and ecologically.
Gone are the days of the costly Portaloo, which required frequent trips to be trucked off.
Louise, one of the club members, had the idea of installing a composting toilet after using a similar one at Whatipu Campground. Club member Diana had also used composting toilets in the past and always thought them to be "pretty impressive".
The idea fit into their ecological ethos and they figured out that investing in a composting toilet would save them money in the long run. Louise estimates that the money they're saving on not having to hire a Portaloo will pay off the composting toilet in 8 years - after that, it's free! And the composting toilet will serve the club for years to come.
"We do a lot of environmental initiatives and a composting toilet just seemed logical. We are effectively off-grid with no power. The sewer wasn't in the right places for us and we weren't allowed to do a longdrop as it can leach into the environment. So, the Waitakere Ranges Local Board consented the composting toilet and gave us the funding for it as an eco-friendly solution," says Louise.
The toilet's solar-powered fan and wind-driven vent make it a reliable and efficient system.
The toilet gets continuous part-time use with some peak loading on event days - Diana and Louise say they we were worried about overuse but this hasn't happened.
"We've had the toilet for over 3 years and it hasn't given us any grief. We've had no complaints from visitors and overall people have been most impressed! If you go places like this, it's often a longdrop which does smell - people possibly expect it to be like that, but its a whole lot more pleasant," notes Louise.
Diana jokes that her son, whom she lovingly labels "a bit of a germaphobe", was worried the first time he had to use the toilet but afterwards said that "it's actually really nice!"
Maintenance is a breeze, and everybody pitches in. According to Diana "it is actually impressive how little time is spent on maintenance!" The compost is raked once a month, and after three years the toilet still hasn't needed emptying. When it does, the compost will be used to plant some lovely lemon and feijoa trees.
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