New life given to native timber

30 SEP, 2019 | Tāmaki News

Native timber from a former state house in Tāmaki Regeneration’s (TRC’s) Derna-Tobruk development in Panmure has been repurposed as part of a beautiful new floor.

Warren Hurst from Eco Demo, in partnership with TRC’s demolition contractor Union Demolition, carefully removed timber from the house. Warren says it is fantastic to see the wood become part of a new build in Auckland. Often it is difficult to find out where the recycled wood ends up. But in this case the flooring manufacturer who bought the timber was able to follow it through to its new home. “Once milled and refinished, the wood became a very high-end new floor. I think this is a real success story and it is great to see,” Warren says.
“Much of the native timber in the old state houses is beautiful heart timber with lovely grain. “These timbers came out of New Zealand native forests and seeing them wasted is a tragedy. They are genuinely beautiful timbers and seeing them reused and put back into houses is really quite emotional.” Using sustainable building practices is an important part of TRC’s development programme – and that is continuing now the organisation is partnering with HLC to manage relationships with developers.
Most of the native timber found in former Tāmaki state houses is matai, tawa and rimu.
Recycling materials from demolished houses is another important factor, with contractor Union Demolition taking waste from demolished houses to recycling and waste services company Green Gorilla.
Green Gorilla diverts approximately 85 per cent of that waste from landfill. This includes recycling items like steel and cardboard. Some building materials are also repurposed and turned into fertiliser or woodchip for fuel at Golden Bay Cement in Whangarei. Other materials are being used to rehabilitate a former coal mine in Huntly and turn it back into green pasture.
Concrete from TRC demolition sites is recycled at an Auckland quarry. It is crushed and processed for use in basecourse, driveways, drainage and compacted fill for building sites.
TRC regeneration and placemaking general manager Joanna Brain says houses are also occasionally relocated, depending on suitability.
“Most state houses in the area are cold, damp houses that are past their use-by-date. We’re replacing them with new warm, dry homes. “There are several state housing types in Tāmaki with features that are indicative of the era they were designed. “In certain cases, these features are worth preserving for future generations.”