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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

Cheap Houses for New-comers

Cheap Houses for New-comers.

To the Editor of the New Zealander.

Mr. Editor,—A little practical experience will be worth a deal of theorising. I will therefore give my own case in the building of a "cheap habitation for a family," Although not a new-comer, I am comparatively a new settler in the Bush. I have for two years lived (not existed merely) in a split slab house, which cost roe £20, and in this same cottage or hut—myself, wife and family—in all six of us—have lived really comfortably; seeing at times not a few visitors, and scarcely a week elapsing without our mustering round a social, cheerful fire of an evening, 15 or 16 friends and neighbours.

Now, how to proceed:—Go into the Bush with your axes, maul, and wedges—Fell a Rimu, Totara, Kaikatea, or Kauri, as the case may be—cross-cut it into lengths of six or seven feet. Then, with your wedges, quarter these lengths, and split them into slabs of about ten or twelve inches wide and two inches in thickness; cut some good posts for the corners, stringers, wall plates, and also ridge pole, rafters, and divisions. This is all the stuff you require, and up to this point, excepting your own labour, has not cost you 1s. If you can get a few thousand shingles split in the neighbourhood at 10s. or 12s. per thousand, do so; and, if not, thatch with nikau and rushes—a good slab chimney, 6 feet wide and 4 deep, is quite desirable; it should be for about 4 feet high inside, piled up with stones. After a bit you can cut slabs, and put them down for a floor.

Now, if you are not able to do this yourself, there are plenty of men who will do it for £15 to £20.

If you are in the neighbourhood of a saw-pit, and get sawn slabs cheap, so much the better. Doors you can make of slabs, or palings, and a window or two can be purchased in Auckland very cheap. A week or ten days will suffice to ensconce you in a snug and comfortable, although not showy or elegant habitation.

My own was originally 20 feet by 12 feet, but has now page 75sundry additions, making in all, six rooms; and in this house, humble though it be, I shall be contented to live yet a little longer.

Above all I say to the new-comer, "Do not spend your little capital in aiming to put up a fine house, and thus impoverish yourself as many have done before, and perhaps never finished their houses. Build a good house when your farm will afford the means of your doing so; but a grand attempt at a fine house, with little to eat, or no comforts within, is a sorry look-out."

Old Practical.