From the red zone to Dunsandel

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 12:19 31/01/2014
Jen Hay
JOSEPH JOHNSON

MOVING OUT: Jen Hay and her daughter Polly Haywood look on as their house gets shifted from 336 Avonside Drive in the red zone.

Jen hay and David Haywood
Don Scott
MOVING ON: Jen Hay and David Haywood with their children Bob and Polly were not happy with the government's offer on their red-zoned home on Avonside Drive, so they shifted the house to Dunsandel.

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There were times when David Haywood first shifted out to Dunsandel that he would walk outside in the evening and expect to hear the sound of the Avon River.

It was not surprising - he hauled his house from there.

In early 2012 the Haywoods' Edwardian villa was split in two and taken almost 50 kilometres from their red-zoned Avonside section to a new site in rural Canterbury.

The shift represented one of the largest within the Christchurch area - only 2 per cent of those who moved from the red zone went further than 30km.

The villa, a part of Christchurch history, was comparatively undamaged after the earthquake but insurance would not have covered a rebuild. Haywood said he felt some responsibility to preserve its history.

So he, his wife and two children loaded it on a truck and shifted to Dunsandel.

"We have really fallen on our feet," Haywood said. "I think it's the nicest of the little towns - any smaller would be too small and any bigger would be too big."

There was a great school for his 6-year-old boy and plenty of space for his 2-year-old girl. The only issue was the distance to work for his wife, who works at the University of Canterbury.

But he feels it was the right move.

"In Christchurch, people tended to be a little less community-spirited. I think we feel more at home with the strong sense of community in Dunsandel."

Haywood also did not want to go through another natural disaster so, as an engineer, he researched soil types and sea-level heights to mitigate against future incidents.

In keeping the same house, Haywood has not been bothered by memories of Avonside's earthquake devastation, but there have been moments which were mildly disorienting.

"There have been a couple of times early on when I went outside at night and was expecting to hear the river but it wasn't there."

Now Haywood is restoring the home to what it looked like when it was built in 1913, "with a few modifications, like an indoor lavatory".

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- The Press

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