We got enough good iron and quite a few studs from old buildings bought for a song, showing again that a quiet search about the district saves pounds in construction costs. The chimney blocks were bought, since the moulds for these are a standard pattern, and it was not worth while to improvise on the chimney.
Floors were put down after spraying the second grade timber with mettalix and power spirit. Once a family moved in, work proceeded at a faster pace. The finish of the inside of a typical house took 2 years. Enough money had to be earned to keep the pot boiling and time was limited when workers could give a few days to building. Ceilings were lined with hardboard, partitions were placed where the plan showed, the H.W. service, sink, hand basin, and shower were installed, and a concrete tank built to catch rain water. Drainage for the waste water was carried out to a sump, with herring-bone soakage pits for the spreading of the effluent.
Can you envisage our slow and hesitant progress? As time moved on we became more confident in our ability to cope with new problems. The boys sometimes took a job on wohk which was like ours, and soon learned sufficient to manage our own difficulties. We were often dismayed. Today we can sit in the sun on the front porch and help others to solve the problems which gave us food for thought.
* * *
Legislation was passed last year about the savings accounts held by the Department of Maori Affairs for intending home-owners. It is not uncommon for contributions to a savings account to be made by persons other than the one for whom the account is kept (for instance, by other members of the family). The legislation lays down that in such cases, the money is still held for the person in whose name the account is kept and that it is to be used as he directs. It would be an impossible task to distribute the money to all who contributed and it should now be clearly understood that the Department of Maori Affairs has no such responsibility.
* * *
The New Zealand Worker's Union, at their annual conference last June, decided to leave unfilled the position on their management committee fallen vacant through the death of Mr R. Tutaki. The Union hopes that a Maori representative will be found to take his place on the executive next year.