Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
What fascinating networking. That's so NZ.
That house was and is a legend. Thanks for the story. I knew Michael as a one of the wider group of student political types on campus in the early '80's. He was very together even then and it won't surprise any from student days that he is excelling in a vital leadership role.
Others from that wider group included Shale Chambers, Kevin Hague, Eugenie Sage and many others. They were all looking to do the right thing for others and had a grasp on the bigger picture even in their teens. Public service is under acknowledged generally and Michael started early. Thank you Michael.
Oh boy, I grew up in the house across the road, 43 St Georges Rd. We lived there from the mid 70s until around 1987. I never knew you lived there Russell, or Fane Flaws, or Bruno Lawrence but I do remember the house being busy (and noisy), a bus being parked in its circle driveway (was it the Blerta bus?) and have vague memories of that incident with the bambino. There used to be a lot of Saturday night parties there, and my Dad was known to put speakers on our porch Sunday morning with loud classical music blasting out in return. Me and my brothers went inside a few times, but I can’t recall much. Ol Odyssey House next door was similarly large but better maintained with majestic gardens, and down the back in the gully was what seemed a very mythical type spot(to a young boy) with little paths and bridges around water fountains etc that were no longer running.
Anyone who’s read Simon Grigg’s ‘How Bizarre’ might recall St Georges Rd popping up there too, as both Simon and Pauly coincidentally lived in neighbouring properties if i recall right, and Simon would wave to the then very young Pauly playing in his backyard.
Russell Brown, in reply to
Oh boy, I grew up in the house across the road, 43 St Georges Rd.
Oh wow! And we crossed over and all.
Odyssey House next door was similarly large but better maintained with majestic gardens, and down the back in the gully was what seemed a very mythical type spot(to a young boy) with little paths and bridges around water fountains etc that were no longer running.
One or two of the Odyssey House clients used to pop over when I lived at 42. I also have a memory of several of us preparing to to do a line in one of the bedrooms and looking out and seeing an OH client looking out from the window opposite, grinning and giving us the thumbs up :-)
I’ve deleted several comments that weren’t relevant to the post. I don’t have the patience I used to, clearly.
Meanwhile, I asked how lockdown at going at The Big House and resident Marc de Boer reported back:
The Lockdown is going great we have organised the hell out of everything meetings at the strangest times like Saturday night.
We have an organised fun schedule. Yoga and meditation in the big room most days. There has been lots of various big house gatherings. As usual we at the big house are some of the luckiest people in Auckland.
A Dry, in reply to
Great read, thanks for sharing. Lived in Auckland at the time but on the shore. Was vaguely aware of the house & in reading your article I realise I know a number of former citizens of the big house!
Hugh Wilson, in reply to
Interesting old photo of St Stephens ave there - the Bishops (?) spot on the left is still there, as are those big old houses on the right and possibly that Norfolk Pine too. The Church obv got in early and secured all the good land around Parnell, indeed the land at 43 St Georges rd was owned by the Church (is the term leasehold or similar?), which always struck me as a peculiar scenario.
Was doing some random paleontology, and found that there's an article about this place in the final Craccum of 1982. (you'll probably need to download it, as the web interface is a bit random about rendering).
Thank you for this great article, I really enjoyed reading it. I also lived at the Big House in 2013. Even if it was only for 6 months. I met amazing people, some of whom have become dearest friends for life. What a beautiful and unique experience.
I wrote a couple of articles about it back then on my own blog, https://hopskipdive.com/2013/03/12/the-big-house/ and https://hopskipdive.com/2013/03/19/the-big-house-burlesque-fundraising-party/ and . I am actually very chuffed that one of my pictures has been used for this article! Thank you so much for the crit :)
Post your response…
This topic is closed.