Love that new seat

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

RESTOR­ING an old and run­down tram bench on their berm was a true labour of love for the Schn­abel fam­ily.

The wooden seat was in­stalled on the Cur­ran St side­walk by the pre­vi­ous ten­ants as a place for peo­ple to rest when walk­ing up the hill.

‘‘We felt that this was a lit­tle act of love to the community to have a bench, but the bench then fell into dis­re­pair and was van­dalised,’’ Ralf Schn­abel says.

‘‘So we de­cided to give it a new lease of life, but we wanted to give it a theme, which is the theme of love.’’

The fam­ily’s first chal­lenge was sourc­ing the 100-year-old hard­wood to fix the un­usual seat.

‘‘That was very dif­fi­cult. I can tell you it was very hard,’’ Dr Schn­abel says.

‘‘That was the big­gest act of love in restor­ing it,’’ his wife He­len jokes.

Fol­low­ing the repair job, the fam­ily began paint­ing the seat a ro­man­tic red and sto­ries started com­ing out of the wood­work.

‘‘It was in­ter­est­ing. While we worked on this bench so many peo­ple passed by and shared their own sto­ries of this bench,’’ Mr Schn­abel says.

Peo­ple spoke of hav­ing their first kiss there, or shar­ing a spe­cial mo­ment with their chil­dren. ‘‘It was so lovely,’’ he says. To carry the theme of love the Schn­abels have stuck plaques with ‘‘love’’ writ­ten in sev­eral lan­guages onto the bench.

They have also in­vited peo­ple to hang bells and mes­sages of love in a nearby tree.

The fam­ily have also put a semi-secret plaque in the ground to mark their sen­ti­ments.

‘‘It’s visible to those who stop to take a rest,’’ Mr Schn­abel says.

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