When Christchurch's Daniel Gray went to spend Christmas with his girlfriend's family in Canada, his hostess set him a task that has turned heads around the world.
His girlfriend's mother, Brigid Burton, got him to build an igloo using hundreds of coloured iceblocks she has been preparing for months.
Gray and his girlfriend Kathleen Starrie were in Edmonton for five weeks and Starrie's mother hit on the project as a way of keeping him occupied - and as a pre-nuptial test.
"(I said) to Dan, you know if you want my daughter's hand you have to complete this, and he did it!" Burton told the Global Edmonton.
According to the newspaper, Burton had been collecting milk cartons since October, filling them with coloured water, and freezing them so she had hundreds of coloured blocks of ice for the project.
When Gray arrived and was told how he would be spending most of his Canadian holiday, he took up the challenge with aplomb and passed with flying colours.
"My girlfriend's mother had a brilliant idea of building an igloo and thought it would keep me busy, away from her daughter in some respect," Gray told the Global Edmonton.
More than 150 hours were spent planning and building the igloo which would match the workmanship of some Inuits.
All up, more than 500 blocks of ice were used. Pictures of the igloo in development can be seen here.
When faced with the problem of keeping the bricks together, Gray applied some Kiwi ingenuity - he mixed snow and water into what he called "snowcret".
Most of the work was carried out over a vicious five-day cold snap experienced when temperatures in Edmonton plummeted to -25 degrees Celsius.
"We kind of prepared well and went to the store and got some toe warmers and hand warmers and all of that, and just dressed warmly," Gray said.
"We'd only work for about two hours maximum at a time, and then go inside and warm up.
"The reason that she's given, since she decided it was such a big job, was that she would allow me to marry her daughter, so I guess I've accomplished that," Gray said.
The pair have been together for nearly four years, but are in no rush to walk down the aisle.
"It's a way down the track at this point," said Gray.
"We're still young, I feel."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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