'Working with poo' has its upsides

18:52, Jan 10 2013
Dean Black
HERE TO HELP: Waikato rebuild worker Dean Black hopes to buy a farm one day.

In Christchurch, thousands of people are working hard each day to piece our city back together. They are our unsung heroes. In the fifth of a six-part series, The Press meets Downer subcontractor Dean Black.

Christchurch is a far cry from home for subcontractor Dean Black.

Hailing from the tiny Waikato town of Mercer, the 25-year-old arrived in Christchurch after the June 2011 aftershocks.

He is now involved with replacing "anything underground that's ruined", which often means working on wastewater pipes and going home stinking of sewage.

"It's not the most appealing job to some. It was bad at the start, but now I don't really think anything of it," he said.

Black, who co-owns Waikato-based TDM Construction with his brother, moved to Christchurch with a few employees as contractors for Downer.

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Despite the downside of "working with poo", Black said the only disadvantage of his job was "not being able to get a tan in summer" after the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) introduced personal protection equipment guidelines.

However, being treated to tea and biscuits by residents while working on a project usually made up for it.

"I find it rewarding. A lot of the locals are so positive after everything that's happened," he said.

"Most of the time when you're out the front of their house at 7am, you'd think they'd get annoyed. If you were in Auckland, they'd tell you to p... off, but I think down here, it's a sign of going forward."

Black has not ruled out settling in Christchurch permanently.

"The good things about Christchurch from an outsider coming in is that Christchurch is really patriotic and really different from where I come from. Everyone's just proud of the region," he said. "I'll probably be down here for a while. I've always liked the South Island, and it's a good opportunity to be part of history."

Black has a clear vision for the future. "I'll stick it out for a good few years, and then I can get a farm and won't have to smell like poos any more."

The Press