Building a dream
ARUHE (www.aruhe.nz) cottage, or studio as I sometimes call it, was trucked up to Whanarua Bay from Gisborne as four shed walls. The walls were reassembled onto a platform that touched ground at the entrance and was perched on poles way above the ground at the front where the cottage would have a view of the ocean. It was reassembled as a slightly bigger building with new aluminium framed windows and bi-fold doors. A dividing wall bisected the open space, creating a hallway, separating the bathroom from the bedroom and living space.
The walls are filled with wool insulation and the floor boards that I assisted in putting down, are made from compressed, and sustainable bamboo. I have a belief in conservation and Ian had an infinitely sensible approach to saving money.
Ian Whitley was a very generous friend who loved Motuaruhe and Whanarua Bay. He was the brains, the vigour, the project manager, purchasing manager, concrete layer, builder. and much much more. Ian came up from Gisborne at weekends and at holiday time brought with him his young family…..as “indentured” labour! The studio went up over a three year period.
Everyone involved (friends, family and anyone else who could be persuaded to join us) worked hard on it, digging holes for the piles and poles, putting on a roof, interior wallboard, painting, putting down the bamboo flooring, measuring up windows and choosing doors, furnishings and bathroom units. It was a happy time and the studio was really taking shape. It was, and is, light, airy and open.
Willing and generous friends joined me to strip the paint from the vast decks all constructed from recycled timber. It was a great combination although I have to say that the wool insulation was not cheap and turned out to be a great rodent attraction: wonderful nest building material. Well we live and learn.
Even the timber that forms the small bridge guests cross to get to the cottage is made from old Jarrah cross bars from the wooden power poles that have been replaced by concrete ones.
It was to be the BnB I thought two of us were creating but it didn’t get that far. An almost fully functional self-contained studio with no guests……..
I waited eight years for the dream to become real and in those eight years I worked at changing the thoughts that created my feelings. It’s not easy to erase the past but we cannot let it dominate our future – the function of our dreams is to create our future. When I finally bought Motuaruhe, I could get on with doing that and I got to work creating the sort of place I would like to stay in, with the facilities I would consider important.
I had never thought of myself as “good with people”. I was the one hiding in the kitchen, looking after the food, whilst my (ex)partner charmed our friends with wit and good cheer. I relied on my partner's out-going nature and to some degree felt inhibited by it. I was surprised to find I was wrong about myself. On my own, I discovered a loneliness I'd never felt. I like my own company and this was new to me and to overcome those feelings I would smile at strangers or start up conversations in the supermarket queue. I arranged small "events" and with my sister, sister-in-law and various friends of theirs, went to lots of concerts. We had fun and over a glass bottle of wine and/or dinner we talked endlessly. It was all very good for my wounded soul and in the process and almost by osmosis, a new, more confident me emerged. People I'd known a long time, became friends.
I have never considered Motuaruhe mine; I am merely its caretaker, and I believe that part of my role as kaitiaki is to share Moturauhe with others. And I love that. It’s so easy and I am so pleased to do whatever I can to make a couple’s holiday enjoyable; a family’s getaway relaxed and comfortable, or to offer a newly married couple the peace they need. Of course single folk looking for a natural setting to recharge the batteries or perhaps, a place to work, are welcome too. It's a real buzz to see my guests leave with smiles.