Why I chose to leave Chch

Last updated 09:12 19/02/2013
Hugh Wilkinson's house
Hugh Wilkinson

MY NEW LIFE: I moved from Christchurch after the quakes to enjoy a life by the coast in Waikouaiti.

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For nine months after the February 22 quake I met family responsibilities, such as providing a home for a son and daughter-in-law till they were able to relocate to what is now their own home.

* Being a super annuitant my income did not depend on living in Christchurch.

* I did not have the skills to assist the recovery or rebuild but can still give financial support through Christchurch charities.

* I was also one of the lucky ones whose home was on sound ground and not seriously damaged, and easily sold in four days with one open home.

* For most of my life I dreamed of living closer to the coast and creating a garden with room for laying hens, a small orchard and lots of vegetables to eat, freeze and preserve for winter, with surplus to give away.

* Financially the move made common sense too. My home was sold at a price that after agent and lawyers' expenses the net amount was very close to the 2007 valuation that the Government was offering red-zoners.

Given the above I was able to pay off all debts, including mortgage, relocation expenses etc and buy the Waikouaiti property photographed freehold and have cash in the bank.

I now enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle with one dog, two sheep and four laying hens. The beach is just over a kilometre down the road and the township is the same distance away. There is plenty of seaweed, animal manure (thanks sheep and horses) to assist composting for the garden. Dunedin is a half hour's drive but I only go there once a fortnight to shop.

That is enough for now as it is time to take the dog for a walk along the beach and in the shallows.

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