Free time means a chance to repair dying boots, get a replacement air mattress, catch up on some blogging and get into the workshop.
While I'm typing away on my cellphone and uploading blogs on Petra's computer (thanks Petra), Whiona is in a borrowed pair of overalls turning an old copper wetback into a usable piece of kitchenware.
OK. It's got nothing to do with Te Araroa, but in a way Christchurch's Rekindle project and its side shoot Whole House Reuse come from the same spirit.
They are all about taking a closer look at what surrounds us and taking the time to become part of the places we live.
Whole House Reuse (WHR) is a massive undertaking. This is how the project works:
A house that was munted in the Christchurch Earthquakes and destined for the dump, has been completely and carefully dismantled. All of the materials taken from the property were carefully catalogued and sent around the city, the country, and the world to be remade into usable things, not decorations.
Tim McGurk and his partner Emma*, own a rekindled 1970s Catholic church in Christchurch. Its open plan design makes it the perfect place for a workshop and the perfect place to store what's left of the house materials.
Tim reckons there's "only" about 10 percent of the demolition material left unconsigned, but it's all at his place. In stacks. On tables. In shipping containers. Waiting to be made into things.
While I'm there, there is a constant flow of helpers and supporters moving through the workshop. They walk and work amongst piles of half finished projects, plans, tools and hundreds of very random things that sit waiting to be transformed from probable landfill into possible treasures.
As I leave to grab some lunch, Tim and his brother Liam are running a large length of corrugated iron through a roller. It's noisy and physical work.
When I get back a few hours later the old roofing has become a boat. Yep. A boat.
Kate McIntyre, the project's manager and an old art school friend of Emma, has a calm demeanor as she carefully goes through a pile of wood inside an enormous shipping container. For her the project is about respect.
Respect for the materials, the history of the house, the families that shaped the house. Respect for the energy, time and thought that's going into making something special from a disaster.
Stuff that would otherwise be crushed and buried is getting the chance to become useful again. Looking around at some of the things that are coming out of the workshop I see more than respect.
I see some really cool things that I'd like to own...especially those chairs that "Opa" was putting together.
The final exhibition of the Whole House Reuse project: 5th June – 23rd August at Canterbury Museum
* Sorry I've run out of time and can't get your last name Emma...oh oh...perhaps your name is Emily...aaaagh...blogging on the run is a dangerous game!
This blog post was made possible with the kind support of the McGurk and Wylaars family. Thanks guys.