The walls of a retired Foxton couple's home were laced with methamphetamine at concentrations up to 112 times above what is considered safe. Now the walls sparkle with a community's love.
There were times in late 2013 when Ceridwen and Derek Hooper just stood in their driveway and cried, unable to enter without a gas mask the Norbiton St house they had just bought.
All trace of the class A drug is now gone and the house has been transformed. Newly-laid carpet, tiles, lino, stripped and painted walls and fences - essentially a fully renovated home - are the product of thousands of dollars' worth of donated materials and thousands of hours of donated time.
After the Hoopers' plight was highlighted by SBR Plastering owner Kris Harding, more than 50 people from around the lower North Island offered them a helping hand.
"It's been a long journey but we've come out the other side and just look at what we've ended up with," Mrs Hooper told the Manawatu Standard. "It's amazing.
"Our little grandson, he's 6 months old, and we can have him here now. He can sit on the carpet and play."
Ministry of Health official guidelines state that the safe indoor limit for methamphetamine on surfaces is 0.5 micrograms per 100cm2.
At the time it was tested by Envirocheck some walls in the Hoopers' home were measured at 56 micrograms per 100cm2 - the highest reading the company had recorded. Almost every room had traces of the drug, so the Hoopers stored many of their belongings in the garage and lived in their motor home in the driveway while the house was stripped. The methamphetamine left no obvious signs, just a musty smell like the windows had not been opened in months, Mrs Hooper said.
Both Mr Hooper, 66, and Mrs Hooper, 65, believe they could have been out of the house for years had they not called Mr Harding for a quote on some gibbing. "Words can't describe what he has done for us," Mrs Hooper said.
Mr Harding said he could not charge the Hoopers for the work, and had a feeling the community would get in behind a doing-up of the house if someone started calling for it.
- Manawatu Standard
Should Manawatu's earthquake-prone buildings be yellow-stickered?Related story: Council won't use earthquake-risk stickers