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.