Saturday, May 29, 2010

The work continues

The back of the house at the end of last weekend

The extension part is starting to take shape

As is the new en suite

The old living room without ceiling

Not much left of the kitchen

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More demolition and some construction

The deck after cleaning out underneath

What is left of the deck and new piles

Helen having a go at the jackhammer

After several hours of work

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Demolition continues...

We have spent most nights for the last few weeks continuing the demolition.... No furniture or carpets are left in the house and we have dismantled the modular kitchen - which we will reuse but in a slightly different configuration.

Kitchen before

Kitchen after - only the cupboards with water or gas pipes left!

Gib on the inside walls is down - you can see from one end of the house to the other... Still more to go, but the builder starts today!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Noho Marae Papawai, Greytown

Through work we are encouraged to go visit a Maori marae (meeting place) for a few days to learn more about the culture and language and maori issues. It is also a chance for our organisation to explain to maori iwi (tribal groups) what we do, and how the maori research group can help to solve some of their environmental issues.

So after three years of being in New Zealand I finally got to one of these Noho Marae sessions over near Greytown at a marae called Papawai (headwaters). This marae is very old and historical as is used to be the site of the Maori parliament.

The marae is very traditional with lots of beautiful maori carvings around the entrance and marae.

Papawai Marae

Some of the beautiful carving

Inside they have lots of very old pictures and photographs of all the deceased members of the iwi on the wall, arranged in their hapu (families). It was a little bit weird sleeping in the marae surrounded by all these pictures looking down on you.

Sleeping inside the marae with all the deceased members surrounding us!

Behind the marae is a stream that has a lot of eels living in it. They used to eat these - but now they are just pets and they feed them with left overs from the marae and surrounding houses. So there are lots of eels and a few of them are very large! Not sure I would want to swim in the stream!

Feeding the eels

During our stay we learn about the maori history of the area, we went on a guided hikoi (visit) with some of the maori elders to some of the significant sites around the area. We saw a few middens, pa sites (old fortresses) and some burial grounds. We also learn some maori and lots of waiata's (songs), and we learn about all the traditional formal greetings (powhiri).

The motely group with several of the Maori elders who explained the history and took us on a hikoi (visit) around the local area.

I learnt a lot. It was really interesting to learn about the history and the maori environmental issues. They were very well informed and organised with a lot of ideas of what they wanted to see done and changed.

It was also a nice change from work for a few days.... looking at the more practical side of environmental science rather than my esoteric long term climate stuff!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

House demolition begins

For those of you who don't know we have been planning to renovate our house for the last year. Finally after a number of iterations of ideas and architect drawings we are ready to start, and have a builder lined up to start in mid-May (all things going to plan).

However before the builder can start we have to remove all the furniture, carpets, demolish some walls, remove the deck, dismantle the kitchen and dig out some dirt from the back yard, so that we can put in a new retaining wall. Just a small amount of work! Apologies if we are a little antisocial and not very communicative for the next few months - we will be rather busy.

The cats are really not sure what to make of it all at the moment. Mifi is very keen to help and makes sure she keeps a close eye on everything and checks out every cupboard and box as it is emptied and filled, or just sits on whatever you want to move. Safi is just bemused and a little unhappy when yet another one of his hiding spots is removed. Fortunately our lovely next door neighbour is renting us her house during the scheduled 3 months of building (we hope it is only 3 months), so we can keep a close eye on everything and the cats just have to shift next door and can maintain their territory (very important for Safi!).

Mifi helping roll up the carpet from the hall

Back of the house looking north - before

And after a day of work with the pick-axe

We will post a few pictures of progress.