Chch houses become models before demolition
A Christchurch man is helping those who have been forced to leave their quake-damaged homes to create a lasting memory, before they're demolished.
Richard Gardiner makes models of houses and it's been keeping him very busy.
It's common in Christchurch – hundreds of Cantabrians have been forced to say goodbye to their family homes. But retired art teacher Mr Gardiner has found a way to keep the memory alive, creating models of homes that are due to be demolished.
And while he's made models of other Canterbury landmarks, such as the Lyttelton police station and the Oxford Terrace church, he says the models of people's homes are the most rewarding.
“Because those are people's homes, where they've invested their time and they've turned this building from a house into a home,” says Mr Gardiner. “They've got memories associated with that.”
One model Mr Gardiner has recently completed is the 103-year-old home of the Rivers. They lived in their home for 34 years before the February earthquake forced them to move out and the made the house uninhabitable. It's a home their family created three decades of memories in.
“We've had weddings here,” say Liz and Ian Rivers. “We've had lots of functions out on the lawn – 21sts, Christmas functions – 34 years – a lot of memories.”
The Rivers' house is due to be demolished in a few months, so their daughter surprised them with a model.
Mr Gardiner says he's privileged to be able to preserve the memories.
“Whether it's a grand home or a humble home, to me it makes little difference; the interesting thing is being involved in people's lives as they go through this period of dealing with the loss of a house.”
Mr Gardiner already has enough work to last him at least six months, and with more and more houses being demolished, there's no doubt he'll have plenty more work to come.