Aidanfield has city's least-deprived street

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014
Kay family
Kirk Hargreaves

GOAL-SETTERS: Adrian and Tammy Kay with their daughters Eden, 7, and sister Bethany 11, at Clip 'n' Climb.

Coppinger Tce, Aidanfield
Joseph Johnson
WELL-OFF: Coppinger Tce, Aidanfield.

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The Kay family believe their Christchurch home was destined to belong to them.

Adrian Kay saw a photograph of the 260sqm house in Aidanfield and said to his wife, Tammy, it was going to be their family home.

It seemed unlikely at the time, but they made it happen.

"I said: 'Yeah, right. That is way out of our house price range'," said Tammy Kay.

"But it was destined to be our home."

The house where the South African couple live with their two children, Eden, 7, and Bethany, 11, is the least-deprived street in Christchurch, according to new research.

The Otago University research considers income, internet access, car and home ownership, qualifications and employment. Households in the least-deprived block in Christchurch had a median personal income of $47,500.

The street, in the southwestern suburb of Aidanfield near Halswell, is part of a subdivision built about 10 years ago. A strip of well-maintained parkland links the street to a landscaped river behind the houses.

The entrance to the street is marked by white rustic-looking fences. An echo of the orchard that once stood on this site.

The berms are lush and spongy, like perfectly trimmed rectangles of moss.

The houses along this street look surprisingly modest, although there are a couple of palatial homes. One has a triple garage and a large balcony overlooking the park. Another has white faux columns and a life-size porcelain dog on the doorstep.

Tammy and Adrian moved to the street because they wanted somewhere safe to raise their children.

"It's more for the kids that this area nice. It has big parks and quiet streets. The kids have free rein," said Adrian Kay.

Adrian Kay likes to set ambitious targets for himself and his family. He calls them "big, hairy audacious goals, or Behags for short".

The house was a Behag. Running his own kitchen installation company while holding down a fulltime job was a Behag. Leaving his secure job to run the business full time was a Behag.

The couple's ambitions make for a busy life. On a Thursday evening they can be found spending time with their two children, getting tea ready, letting the two labradors, Coco and Toby, in from the garden and watching House Rules.

Eden shows off her cartwheels in the hallway, while Bethany talks to the labradors in a language of her own making. Two short haired cats, Penny and Ally, and four fish in the garden pond round out the menagerie.

Once the children have gone to bed, with a labrador at the foot of each bed, Adrian and Tammy have to wrap presents for Eden's 7th birthday the next day.

Adrian Kay often works into the night in the home office. The next day they had a stall at the Home Show, where Adrian Kay expected to spend eight or nine hours on his feet selling kitchens.

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"We have always wanted to run our own business and after the quakes we were scratching our heads about how to contribute to the rebuild. It was a franchise and the Christchurch franchise was available.

"In that first year, it was full stick. I was working 80 hours a week.

"But it is about being able to control your own destiny. It is great being able to be a part of the rebuild of our great city somehow. It is pretty much seven days a week."

They try to share this work ethic with their children.

"I always say to our girls: 'You never get anything without hard work'," said Tammy Kay.

When the couple are not working hard they try to take short breaks in Hanmer or head out on the pleasure boat that sits wrapped on the front driveway.

Bethany is into netball and attends Middleton Grange school, while Eden is a budding gymnast and attends Halswell Primary School.

Adrian and Tammy are both from South Africa, but met in Christchurch.

Tammy moved here 20 years ago and Adrian a year before that. Adrian studied at the University of Canterbury and trained as an electrical engineer, while Tammy was a medical receptionist.

They have both lived in Halswell during their time in New Zealand and have family nearby. Tammy was surprised that their street is ranked the least-deprived in Christchurch.

"It is good, hard-working people here. The neighbours are all hard workers."

Click here for an interactive graphic detailing more about how we live in Christchurch.

- The Press

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