News and Events

Clutha Students’ Hui Builds more than Knowledge

March 28, 2024

A teacher at the recent Ecological Building student Hui captures some of the activity, fun and engagement from students attending from 5 Clutha District schools.

This workshop was one of a series of Ecological Building hui Enviroschools has been running around the region.

Some of the feedback from the Clutha students reflecting through a “head, hands and heart” approach:


  • ‘Eco houses are made from straw and mud and water. 50% of landfill comes from building supplies/ the construction industry.’
  • ‘PET bottles can be recycled into insulation.’
  • ‘You can make lots of different things only using 3-4 ingredients.’
  • ‘FUN!’
  • ‘I learnt something new.’
  • ‘It was useful information for building houses and other structures.’
  • ‘It was fun building things with clay.’

Experimenting with the wattle and daub method of building.


  • ‘We will hopefully build the models!’
  • ‘Weaving.’ (wattle daub activity)
  • ‘We will share the skills we learnt to build a hut in the trees and teach them to others at school’ – (Waiwera South School student)
  • ‘Share our models with others.’
  • ‘We are excited to make our Lilliput library.’


  • ‘Excited, Crazy, Interested.’
  • ‘Good! Learnt lots.’
  • ‘We liked the model building and going through the stations because it was fun making things and playing with the mud.’
  • ‘Happy, enjoying, involved, good.’
  • ‘I enjoyed the adobe bricks.’
  • ‘I enjoyed it.’

How is Ecological Building integrated into whole school life?

Waitahuna School was already looking at building a Lilliput Library at their school, and this has inspired them to drive forward with the idea and consider other building materials and techniques they could incorporate into the design and build so the structure can be more environmentally friendly and to reuse resources that were otherwise destined for landfill and using resources that are less process and more natural.

The seniors of Waiwera South School are now looking to build a hut in the school trees, involving the whole school and sharing different natural building techniques -wanting to reuse a lot of scrap/waste material to repurpose it and give it a new life.

Using the mud bricks.

The students of Clutha Valley Primary School were already engaged in retrofitting an old mai mai into a school garden shed. Since the hui they have reconsidered some construction techniques and want to incorporate some of the natural building techniques they learnt at the hui, using more clay and straw materials. A potential new door could be constructed using the wattle and daub method learnt at the hui. Other students from Clutha Valley Primary School want to make new recycling/compost/rubbish bins from natural materials, potentially adobe bricks.

Facilitator, Scott Martin, commented, “I now look forward to seeing some entries into the Ōtākou Enviroschools 2024 Ecological Building Challenge from the Clutha District!”

At one stage near the end of the hui, during the model building activity stage, facilitators looked around at the teachers and students at their stations and could not see one person who was not completely engaged and immersed in what they were creating and discussing. It was uplifting and inspiring to see this level of enthusiasm amongst the variety of schools who attended the event from all parts of the Clutha District.

Mud brick mixing.