Monday, December 21, 2009

The building site becomes a home!

On Saturday our mission was to complete the house ready for the opening. A VERY motivated crew descended onto the site. The shed was completed and Ken came with his spray gun and painted it at least three times. The post for the back gate was installed.

Alex came and went through the interior of the house doing all sorts of jobs. He quietly worked away fitting wardrobe door handles, easing doors, screwing on door stops, mirrors and any other jobs he saw that needed doing. He was awesome!

Ron the landscaper set to sorting out the planting. His whole family and other volunteers ripped into it, transforming the section from barren earth to a beautiful garden. Grass seed was even planted. (They haven't invented instant growing grass so we could not have that up by Sunday) Ron has made a great impact on this build and he has been enjoyed by those who have worked with him.

Les and Ray the plumbers had put in many hours during the week. Les had to attend a family funeral so Ray was here working away connecting all the fittings. We upset his working day when he discovered that one of us had put a screw through a pipe.  The water had to be turned off, and Ray quietly and patiently set about fixing it.

Ken the electrician also had been at work during the week and all the lights and plugs were working as they should.

Chairman Colin was trying his hand at a number of things and put up curtain rails busily. Richard was to finish them off later in the day. 

A band of women hit sewing machines and irons and sorted out curtains. Elizabeth was there early in the morning and was still sewing into the night. When she finished sewing she picked up a vacuum cleaner and started cleaning. 

People cleaned up the site and at lunch time Richard took a trailer load to the tip. The trailer and a van was filled again by the end of the day.

Richard was water blasting the paths at nearly 10 p.m. (poor neighbours!) The evening meal was some fish and chips, and Ken & Diane called by during the night with chocolate treats. 

All in all it was a terrific day's work. The last workers left just after 10 p.m. Richard was back on the job at 8 Sunday morning to do some touch up painting. (Rumour has it that Richard went to the movies after the dedication on Sunday and slept through most of the first half of the film!)

Thank you... thank you ... thank you. If you have hammered one nail, swept up one bit of dust, or helped dig one hole or done anything to help this build, we want to say thank you. Your help is appreciated. We have done so well to finish this big house so quickly. It has been a good build, with a great deal of friendship, joy and yet motivated work on site.

Sunday Dedication

On Sunday we arrived up at the house with the wind blowing and rain threatening. (It seems to be a Dunedin Habitat Dedication day weather habit??) We at first gathered in the lounge but were ushered out again. Mike and a team of mates performed a stunning Maori challenge, with Mike looking awesome. Chairman Colin picked up the leaf offered and led us into the house to the strains of Maori singing. It was so moving. Colin welcomed all and thanked those who had helped. Mike and Christine responded and there was no doubting their real appreciation for the work done. Let it go on record that Christine cried... she who always has an answer was speechless... briefly. :-) They were presented with a key, a framed photo of the family with the governor general, flowers, a Bible and Dave led in a prayer of blessing for both house and family. We then got into the food. People had brought cakes, sandwiches had been bought but my favourite was the hangi food the family provided. It helped to make the event something special. The local paper was there to report and photograph. It was a special time of celebration marking a job well done.

Special thanks must go to Richard who has been building committee convener, liaising with trades people, ensuring materials were ordered and generally guiding the project along. Martin also has played a special part with his advice and guidance.

We are so pleased that before Christmas this building project, this house has now become a home. We do pray God's blessing on the family as they settle in and continue to share the love they have with each other and others. Mike, Christine and the family have worked hard for this home. We say congratulations..... enjoy. We loved working with you.

Photos: Chronologically from bottom to the top.

(a) Mike and his party begin proceedings.

(b) Mike brings his challenge.

(c) Mike with door key in hand speaks to the crowd. (First in Maori then in English)

(d) Christine receives the Cerebos/Gregs box of goodies and flowers.

(e) Jeff helps Mike dish up the hangi kai.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday night...

During the week the kitchen units have gone in, the carpet and vinyl have been laid, some plumbing connections made and electrical work completed. On Thursday evening four intrepid building volunteers constructed a beautiful big garden shed. There are some finishing touches still to be done, but it was an efficient and enjoyable night's work. It was Martin's last effort on site, he heads toward Australia tomorrow. 

Photos: Chronologically from bottom to top.

(1) The The rafters being measured and cut. Richard has stolen yet another pencil of Dave's!

(2) Richard and Paul adding rafters to the frame.

(3) As Richard says, "Job done!" It is getting dark and Richard and Martin stand with the nearly finished shed.

(4) Ray the plumber was there too finishing off plumbing fittings.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday 12th December

Building Committee convenor submitted this report about Today's work.

As noted below, we just had enough concrete for the slab and Colin / Allan's pavers. Managed also to sneak a pad and post for the letterbox and also rear access from clothesline area to park.

Good effort today, shed slab down, pavers, letterbox post etc.
Wardrobe shelving in, store shelving in, vanities in, door handles fitted.
Found out what was required for fitting mirrors. All in all a good day.
Home straight now.

Harvey Meldrum is sorted to fit the shower doors and screens.
Carpet Court people are booked for carpet and vinyl.
Grahame Hastie, Kitchen guy has kitchen under control.
Plumbing inspectors are confident.
Ken Foote has electrics well in hand.
Paths and paved area will need washed down and hard broom to clean up.
Some planting next saturday. If anyone has some native plants, feel free to bring them along.
Any questions or panic attacks pending, please contact me.


Joking and tongue in cheek aside, we plan to have a bit of a session on Thursday night, hopefully erect a shed and curtain tracks if required.


It was a good day in spite of having to think up creative ways to use concrete. As well as work on Ashmore Street top soil was spread at Shona's house.

Very well done everyone!


(1) Hammerhead Shark design now embedded in the paving stone by the letterbox.

(2) Lunch time laughter

(3) Who said Richard doesn't work ... here he is seen in this rare photograph.

(4) Elizabeth working hard, she doesn't only make amazing shortbread.

(5) Paul getting stuck into a wardrobe.

Very Top photo: Shona says, "Top soil at last!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The House Dedication looms... woo hoo!

The house is to be officially opened and dedicated on:-

Sunday 20th December


It will be a VERY special time.

  • There has been a group of people nearly every Saturday on site who have become friends. It will be special for them.
  • There will be special Maori aspects to our time together which will be very moving to experience.
  • Mike, Christine and family have worked exceptionally hard for this day and it will be good to see them achieve their goal.
  • Habitat openings are special events even if you have been involved for just one day or in another part of Habitat work.

If you can, be there. If you can't maybe you would like to send a greeting. (You could do so by leaving a comment on the blog.)

The painters have finished, the joinery is on site, curtains are purchased... we are on the very last straight of the journey. We start the finishing touches on the inside of the house on Saturday. We had a great day last Saturday... you have only two Saturdays left to enjoy the atmosphere of the working bee.

See you there.

Photo: Remember the start... it's a different place now... soon to be a home!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday 5th December

On Saturday we had the best weather of the whole build. Our mission was to put the posts and rails for the side fence in and do the boxing for the shed floor. We had a great day with incredible team work. There were a mob mixing concrete, others digging holes and others setting the posts in place. Ron the landscaper was there with his machinery and an auger to dig our holes for us. Noel and Allan got stuck into the shed floor. 

It was great to see such commitment to the task with people filling in where ever they were needed. Around 20 posts went in, then the rails were attached. In spite of many people working and the lines getting touched, the posts looked very straight at the end of the day. 

Dave "Rogo" is an American student who is headed home for Christmas. Saturday was his last day on the job. Dave has been on the job nearly every Saturday. He has ridden his bike up the hill to Halfway Bush. He has quietly worked away, learning heaps and being a great workmate. At lunch time it was very moving when Mike made an appropriate speech and presented Dave with a painted stone. The designs on the stone spoke of Dave's personality, his work and his contribution to the house and the family. There was also a card to go with the stone. We with Mike and family say a big "thank you" to Dave for his work, for his company and companionship on the build. He promises to be on our next build. 

We had a great day with a great "feel" to it. Ron the landscaper is an awesome guy who gave us heaps. Richard and Ron did a great job in leading us. The neighbour invited us to take some of his beer, so a few of us finished the day with a quiet one sitting in the lounge.

Photos: From the bottom to the top.

(a) The early posts going in with the team work starting.

(b) Dave gets a warm hug from Christine as the presentation is made.

(c) & (d) The both sides of the decorated rock. The hammerhead shark can be seen on one side.

(e) Dave celebrates something right near the end of the job with only one rail to go.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday 28th November report..

Our generous landscaper arrived with his expertise and machinery and laid out the gardens. People wheeled soil and gravel all around the section. The rotary hoe got a good workout, but nearly towed Jeff next door. Clothes line poles were established, gates hung and the inside of the house cleaned again.  It was good to see Dave back with us after his tramping adventures and Greg and Nadine and the dogs. Elizabeth brought her much appreciated short bread, and chairman Colin had trouble with his gearbox after towing the rotary hoe trailer. We enjoyed yet another day on site. When we finish the house we will miss our Saturday friends! ... but our target date is the house dedication on December 20th! We will make it.... hopefully the painters will attack it this week.... fingers crossed.


(1) Dave praying... "Lord stop these people wheeling wheelbarrows past me!" ... no he's really building the back door step.

(2) Allan and young Dave "hanging about" - installing the clothesline pole.

(3) Council staff leaning on their tools during working time! --- no sorry... chairman Colin and Allan deep in discussion about ... I'm sure it was work related! They are hiding behind the digger which did so much work during the day.

(4) Jeff dealing to invading plant life under the watchful eyes of foreman Christine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Prepaint clean up and fences...

On Saturday 12 people joined in for a good day. The inside of the house was cleaned out ready for the painters to make a start. The boxing was removed from the great paths and two fences were erected ready to receive Richard's well made gates. Even though the weather turned cooler and wet, the tough crew kept going and completed the tasks. Well done. We have set the opening date as 20th December... we will do it! 

The most intelligent event of the day? We were just about to pour concrete for the last post on the front fence. The posts and rails were all set up. Someone asked the question, "What about the trailer?" We had the trailer on the wrong side of the fence. Once the fence was built we would never have got it out onto the road.


Mike and Christine with Martin at the end of the day.

Noel and Mike dig fence post holes... Funny way of measuring the depth Noel!

Mike, Jane and Christine (with the nail gun) put on the palings.

The trailer behind the fence??? Oh well, you can't be expected to work and think too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The end is nigh!

There are discussions underway to have the dedication/opening of the house just before Christmas. There is a target in site. Tomorrow there will be cleaning up getting ready for painting. There will also be fences and gates to do.

The paths are done and shower linings are in. Watch out! The end is nigh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Saturday 14th

A whole lot of sanding and finishing off was done inside. The boxing was done for paths and patio. 

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week day work.

There has been progress on the house during the week. The drains have gone in, the main wires to the house have been installed and the section has been roughly shaped. Mike has been working away on the gib stopping and we hope it will be ready for painting in around a week.

Generous Builders.

Richard rang around some of his builder mates and with Dave, Martin and Richard there was a heap of skirting and gib went on on Thursday night. There is still the skirting in the main room to do and a couple of little bits of Gib. 

On Saturday...

We will finish off what needs to be done inside and also box up the outside patio and paths. 

If the weather is doubtful ring 4774848 and see if there is a cancellation on the answer phone.

Its looking good.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

All the Gib up!

On Saturday we finished putting all the gib on the walls and Mike was well underway with the stopping. We cut the hedge, two loads of rubbish and a big load of pallets were taken away. Christine fixed a hole in the fence, the temporary drain was opened up and water to the kitchen container disconnected so that the container could be moved. Some skirting board was installed. Derek worked on the bathroom walls to straighten them up to fit the bath, and Ray removed concrete for the bath waste. 

It felt like we have turned the corner toward the home straight. The new Dunedin Habitat Chairman, Colin McLeod, came to make sure we were all working. During this week ditches for the drains will be dug, some earth moving will happen and Mike is taking a day off to do gib-stopping. 

Thanks to all who were there this week. There is a determined group who want to make sure the house is well occupied by Christmas. We will do it! 


  1. Derek does the ceiling in a bathroom.
  2. Excess gib-board gets loaded to go away... I knew 182 sheets were too many!
  3. Colin McLeod and Christine wreck an old fence.
  4. The pallets get taken back on Paul's very handy truck. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Near the end of the gibbing...

Saturday saw a good group of people doing the remaining bits of gibbing. Walls were covered in the laundry area, a couple of bathrooms and nearly all the ceilings were completed. It has been quite a big job to get all the gib done, but we should finish this week. What we had done was passed by the building inspectors during the week. A visit to the house on Monday showed that Mike had been at work on the Gib Stopping. We are getting there! It is starting to feel like a long process, but we have done so well. We'll keep up the good work. 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A nice day all around...

There were not as many on site today with it being Labour Weekend, but those who were had a good day. We finished gibbing hall walls and wardrobe ceilings and a bedroom ceiling. Nearly all the walls in the main living area were completed. Some extra top up painting was done outside and a "person hole" framed out. There was a nice "feel" to the day with some new people among the faithful "old hands". We even had Richard there.


(1) Christine is now a non-smoker and Don returned from lunch with a bunch of flowers to congratulate her.

(2) The house without scaffold looks quite neat. Notice our picnic lunch setting.

(3) Don, Derek (A new builder bloke!) and Mike making like they are working.

(4) The ladies sort out some painting blues.

(5) Noel came all the way from America to play with Gib ... or "Drywall" as he calls it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

AGM Update and Labour weekend.

Habitat for Humanity Dunedin had its Annual General Meeting last night. There were some changes in personnel. Jock Watson a founding Director has come back on as a director. Paul McManus and David Brown have come off the Directors role. Paul Clements finished his stint as chairman of Habitat and Colin McLeod was elected to the position. Paul remains to give service as a director and we thank him for his time leading us. There was a report about the Christmas Carol play being prepared to start on November 25th. School Groups have booked to go. Proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity Dunedin. Watch this space for more details. They are looking for a large artificial Christmas tree to use as part of the props for the play.

For those still around at Labour weekend, interested and wanting something to do, we are still gibbing up at the house at Ashmore Street. From 9 a.m. till whenever. See you there.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gib, Gib and more Gib!

At the beginning of the day there were not great crowds in, but the team soon built up in number and people were all over the house screwing up Gib. Walls in bedrooms and halls were almost completed. Quite a few of the ceilings were done and people were busy in wardrobes covering the walls. We ran out of screws in late in the afternoon and decided to call it quits. 

The scaffold was down revealing a surprisingly neat looking finish to the weather board. Christine was running around taking a fresh look at her house, but also touching up the paint job. Mike started the Gib stopping. Carolyn Richardson provided a great lunch for us which we enjoyed in the lounge/dinning room of the house. Once again no photos. (unless Christine emails me her ones) I reckon by this time next weekend we will have fixed all the Gib on the walls.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gibbing Fun...

We made great progress today didn't we? Everyone worked hard, almost everyone was learning and we ended up with a good deal well done. We even started to put up the ceiling in one room. The three new ladies worked so well on their room and it looks good. ... they earned their title, "The Gibbing Queens." We appreciated the food from Elva and Daisy and there was a good spirit all round. Thank you everyone! We were so busy no photos got taken... sorry. 

See you all again next week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Gib this Saturday...

I have studied the "GIB Site Guide" (102 pages of it!) from cover to cover. (One mysteriously arrived in the mail??? I found out that Building Committee convener Richard arranged for it.) We will rip into more GIB fixing this Saturday.

The plan... do all the brace line bits... work through the bedrooms one by one... do the living area then tackle bathrooms.

Then probably next Saturday tackle ceilings.

Sounds easy!

Cya there.

P.S. Did you know that at the ULearn Conference in Christchurch (1700 computer geek-education type people there) they are collecting money for the Habitat for Humanity relief work in Samoa. The organisers came to our Jane (she works for them) with questions about Habitat and she arranged for them to be answered. By Wednesday night they had raised $800 with two days to go. The ripples of our work go wider than we often think.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October 3rd Workday report

A cold morning saw 182 sheets of Gib board delivered on site. With bad weather threatening our job was to get all 182 sheets in doors and stacked in logical piles. This we did before morning tea time. There was a continuous flow of people backwards and forwards carrying one sheet at a time, with Martin directing traffic. We did it and we did it well!

Then some finished some more paint outside, others finished the scribers while all the rest began to learn how to install the wall board. We now have 175 sheets yet to go on the walls. A good day, but much harder to see the progress. 

Next week we will knock a big hole in getting the internal walls covered. Thanks to all who turned up on this cooler spring day.


  1. No they are not praying... just making sure it is done right! Who is looking in the window?
  2. The old and the young consult on the next tasks.
  3. Dave worked in the cold outside finishing the scribers.
  4. The last sheet of Gib disappears inside. Morning tea time now!