Whole House Reuse involved the entire material of a single home, otherwise destined for waste, being deconstructed and transformed into beautiful and purposeful artefacts. Founded by Juliet Arnott and catalysed by Kate McIntyre, this project took over 3 years and resulted in nearly 400 objects being created by reusing every single piece of 19 Admirals Way, a 1920’s weatherboard home in New Brighton, Christchurch, which was scheduled for demolition in 2013. This project demonstrates the power of shared resourcefulness; that change can happen when people work together to creatively address undervalued resources.

Over 250 people from around New Zealand and the world invented ways of reusing these resources and the result was a huge collection of objects from a delicately carved taonga puoro by master carver Brian Flintoff, to a finely crafted backyard studio by artist Nic Moon and architectural designer Lyn Russell. This collection showcased original works by some of the country’s finest designers and craftspeople, school children, students, retired experts, and community organisations like Kilmarnock Enterprises. 

The project culminated in an exhibition in the Special Exhibitions Hall at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand for 3 months from early June 2015. Over 120,000 people visited the exhibition and we were amazed at how many of these visitors have talked about the degree of emotion in their experience of the exhibit. People particularly described the impact of seeing such a large volume and diversity of careful and creative work made from materials so often forgotten and discarded. We are thankful to Canterbury Museum for making this possible, and feel deeply heartened that this project has touched and inspired people through its resourcefulness. 

We could not have begun this project, or printed the beautiful book without the unfailing support of the Sustainable Initiatives Fund & Creative New Zealand.

The website is slowly being updated to show all of the work made from the home – this is a big job but we look forward to achieving this milestone.