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    Earthen Oven Workshop

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    Event description


    Join us for some hands-on earth-building experience while we learn to build a mud oven together in Ōtaki on June 8th and 9th weekend.

    This two-day workshop will be 80% practical learning- getting your hands and feet into that delicious mud as we sculp the earthen oven and 20% theory learning- morning discussions, visual diagrams, Q&A and note-taking. We aim to accommodate all learning styles! 

    Mud ovens are a great opportunity to introduce you to the fundamentals of natural construction, practicing the principals needed for building a house but just on a smaller scale. This will be an intimate and fun chance to learn alongside other passionate weirdos in the beautiful Ōtaki gorge! You’ll leave knowing how to build your own!


    • Using earth, straw and sand as building materials
    • Soil and material selection
    • Design and set-out of a cob oven
    • How to make natural insulation and thermal mass


    My name is Iza Lakapati. I first experienced the joy of earth-building at 18 while spending six months living in a traditionally crafted mud house in a rural Malawian village. This is where I found my love for living in community and living in harmony with nature. Upon returning to Aotearoa, I completed a Bachelor of Architectural Studies at Victoria University of Wellington with electives in Biology Conservation and Design for Sustainability. Since graduating, I have trained under seven different teachers including internationally- acclaimed earth-builders Athena Steen and Verena Maeder. I have contributed to over 10 natural-construction projects ranging from simple clay-painting existing walls to the more recent completion of a co-designed and co-constructed 28m2 strawbale roundhouse. I have co-hosted or facilitated teaching eight educational workshops from two days to two-month building immersive workshops.

    Beyond the undeniable environmental and health benefits, there is also a deeper cultural shift that I believe natural building contributes to. It invites us to engage with deeper understandings of our belonging in the natural world, responsible stewardship of the land, decolonisation of the construction industry, and reconnection to our community. 

    I am now fundraising to study a Master’s of Sustainable Architecture at the Centre of Alternative Technology, a Welsh institute with over 50 years of experience in sustainable practice. I am hosting these workshops to share this knowledge before I leave Aotearoa for some years, and also to fundraise for the costs of living and studying abroad. Check out my fundraiser here:

    You can see more of my work here:


    The workshop fees will contribute to helping make this dream happen. The cost is a sliding scale of $50-$100 per day. This is a two-day weekend workshop.

    Earth building has bought me a lot of joy in my life and I have benefited greatly from people being flexible so if money is a barrier for you, please contact me and we can find a solution ♥️

    No refunds.


    Ōtaki Gorge Rd, exact address emailed after ticket is purchased.
    Contact me if you need a pickup from the Ōtaki train station each morning and evening.
    No accommodation on the land but there are two campgrounds nearby.

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