“I’m Tuahiwi and Arowhenua.
“I was born in Christchurch, but I started from the bottom of the South Island when I was a young fella. Mum and Dad had farms in Cromwell, Wanaka, Tarras. When Mum and Dad retired, they retired to Timaru. I worked for a building firm in Timaru for years. I worked mostly up here and ah, got a wee farm down in Timaru, my house burned down so I thought I might as well come up here to work.
I moved here fourteen years ago, but I’ve worked in Christchurch for the last 30 years. Well I I worked for the firm that built The stadium, the AMI stadium That’s now gone. Yeah, We did a lot of work up here. I got shipped up here, there were about half a dozen of us. We had a house up here, but you worked with the guys all day you didn’t want to stay with them all night as well! I can go around Christchurch and say I built the foundations of that. The old Courthouse, did all that up.
Since the earthquakes, I repaired heaps and heaps of houses in Christchurch, the last 10 – 11 years.
When the building started getting going, it was the Cowboys came in. Robbed everybody of their money, you had to go back and fix peoples’ houses. That really cheesed me off. A cobber and mine – we were partners – while we were doing one house we got a guy in to do some piling. He took good piles out and put old piles in and took them away. Cowboys!
I go round the suburbs and other places and I see a big change. Where I live I can go one block – I’m only two streets over from the Avon – there’s nothing where it used to be suburbs. I went out to the beach this morning, to New Brighton. All that was houses, it’s gone. The biggest change is the people, people are totally different, I’ve seen it over the years. They’re not as trustworthy as they used to be.
Now I’m retired, doing as little as possible. Doing my gardens, growing my plants and mowing my lawns. I go to the beach, yeah, I just like travelling around. I’m happy being up here. When I leave they can carry me back to Temuka and bury me there! But I won’t be leaving here for a long time.”