5 Jun 2015

Benneydale beckoning

From Country Life, 9:30 pm on 5 June 2015

t shirtGary Howe's motorbike cost four times as much as his house.

He paid just $8,000 for his home in the northern King Country town of Benneydale. And it came with the section next door.

The house was, however, burnt out and Gary has been working for 18 months to rebuild it.

Gary moved to Benneydale after living 30 years in Rotorua. He'd been riding around the country on his motorbike looking for the perfect spot to live for four years.

He says he's found it.

"I love it. It's the best thing that's ever happened. The people are friendly. They're helpful. They just come down and 'what can I do to help you' sort of thing. They're amazing people."

Gary was a project manager for a building company but says he became ground down and needed the peace and quiet Benneydale offers.

He says he's never been busier. He does some work at the local freezing works and spends much of his time showing  people living in the town how they can fix their homes without spending large amounts of money.

"It's good because someone comes up and says 'I've got a broken window', so you go down there and you fix it and the next thing you know you've got the daughter beside you with a hammer and giving you a hand....So I spend a lot of time teaching the little fellas.

Gary is one of a number former urbanites who are making a new life in Benneydale.

"Even though we haven't got a lot of  money, we're probably living better than we ever did in the cities," he says.

brian Isaacsmonica






Mechanic Brian Isaacs (above left) has lived in the town all his life. Monica Louis (above right) has made her home in Benneydale.







Isabelle Isaaco's backyard and patio - she aims to live her life through art.