My father built that whale.

We’ve still got plans for it, Dad himself actually built it.

They stuffed the whale. The council had the plans; it could’ve been lifted out in one piece. But they basically demolished it and just made another one the same. I don’t quite know why.

I don’t know how long it’s been there. Even before my time. Dad had a very big building company, he was very well known. He had 40 odd guys at one stage; he was the second biggest in Christchurch.

But yeah – one of the last things he wanted was a photo by his whale before he died.

Should’ve drowned him in it. He was a prick. To mum. He ruled by his fist and when he couldn’t knock her anymore, he just put her down. Everyone loved him, but no-one knew him.

I had his building company; I bought him out. It was never what I wanted; it was to keep him happy. So I shut it down, sold everything up, went caregiving for a while.

And then, yeah got back into the building trade and now we’ve got 14, 15 guys. And all we do is property maintenance.

It’s changed so much. We were involved in the EQC repairs with Fletchers and what we’ve seen done was criminal; it was just criminal. Christchurch in 20 years is going to be a disaster zone. You talk to some of the old school engineers; they’ll tell you, gluing concrete doesn’t work.

People say oh it’s just about all over; it’s not. That’s what I said to my son, I said you’re going to be doing this until you die.

The tradesmen ship has gone out of it because it arrives on a truck. Someone comes and puts a floor slab down. Builders stand up the walls which are all a to a, b to b, c to d. We used to start from a pack of timber. That’s the art that’s lost. I am proud of the outside of my place, because it’s all done old school. Weatherboard scribes, facings.

But I love the building trade, I wouldn’t do anything else.

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