Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

22 May 2010

The Deserted Cottage

All over rural New Zealand deserted cottages like this one moulder in paddocks, quietly disintegrating, their elements slowly merging into the ground upon which they stand. This one, north of Kaikoura on the north-east coast of the South Island was probably occupied as recently as ten or twenty years ago. Apart from the section of wall to the left its boards are still in reasonable condition, its window frames and glass are largely intact, its roof iron is quite good (despite a small garden growing in its front gutter). It's probably worse for wear on the hidden side because the bit we can see, facing east and north, gets sun whereas the back of the house might be damp and lichen encrusted.

With a lot of money and good intentions it might be restored - just.

One wonders about its history; how many generations grew up here? When were children's voices last heard in its rooms and the garden? What happened to the occupants: did they prosper and build a new house nearby, or did the cottage die with its dying dynasty?

Pictorially it's a gem of dilapidation but there's probably a sad story lurking in the background.


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By Don Donovan