Living where you work has its perks

Imag­ine living rent­free just a stone’s throw from Corn­wall Park, St He­liers beach or the Sky Tower. Well, it could be a pos­si­bil­ity – if you change your job. Re­porter Lau­ren Pri­est­ley hit the streets to find out about three lucky Auck­lan­ders’ hous­ing work

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Farmer Peter Maxwell is living on what could be the only in­ner-city work­ing farm world­wide. His is a his­toric post. Corn­wall Park has had an­i­mals on it since the 1800s, which makes Maxwell the lat­est in a long line of farm­ers.

The farm cottage is in­cluded in the Corn­wall Park land ti­tle which is val­ued at $48.5 mil­lion.

There are about 600 ewes and 50 cat­tle on the 125-hectare com­mer­cial farm so it is a ne­ces­sity to live on site, Maxwell says.

‘‘Be­cause of se­cu­rity is­sues with the stock and such, it’s manda­tory. You can’t live out in One­hunga or away from the farm.

‘‘If some­thing gets on to Green­lane Rd you can’t get stuck in traf­fic, you have to be there.’’

Other benefits of hav­ing the farm cottage over­look­ing the park in­clude the lack of com­mute and abil­ity to pop home for lunch, he says.

And the view isn’t too bad ei­ther, his wife An­gela says.

The cou­ple moved to Corn­wall Park in 2007 af­ter man­ag­ing a se­ries of re­mote farms ‘‘in the sticks’’, she says.

‘‘Peo­ple we know come here and say: ‘ What a lovely place to live, it’s a slice of the coun­try in the city’. And it is good.

‘‘Now the su­per­mar­ket is only five min­utes down the road. It’s things like that. When you live in the coun­try you have to think ahead.’’

Rev­erend Matt Bruns of St Philip’s Angli­can Church in St He­liers agrees living where you work is a real plus.

Bruns and his young fam­ily moved to the vicarage in Fe­bru­ary.

The house, on Tuhi­mata St, backs on to the church and is just min­utes from the beach. It has a cap­i­tal value of $3.9 mil­lion.

But the re­al­ity is that the house is not theirs to keep, Bruns says.

‘‘I haven’t got into this job so I can have a house. At the end of the day we can’t leave and take the house with us. It’s not a se­cret perk.

‘‘We wouldn’t be here un­less we felt we should be here: In this role, in this time, in this place.’’

Living on site has benefits but also comes with a chal­lenge or two, the fam­ily man says.

The house means Bruns can be an ac­tive part of the com­mu­nity and be on hand when the job be­comes 24/7 but it can also make the work all-con­sum­ing, he says.

‘‘It’s not just about serv­ing the needs of the peo­ple in­side the walls ... and it’s true that no one can choose when a cri­sis hits. They don’t say: ‘I’m only go­ing to need help be­fore 5.30’.

‘‘It’s a con­stant ten­sion, a wrestling match, to main­tain that work-life bal­ance. It’s tricky not to bring work home with you be­cause I’m work­ing in my home.’’

And that’s a sen­ti­ment that also res­onates with Auck­land Uni­ver­sity stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion Felic­ity Jan­so­nius.

The 26-year-old has never had a job where she doesn’t live at work, she says.

She is the res­i­dent manager at Huia Res­i­dence, a 321-stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion build­ing on Grafton Rd and lives across the road in an­other uni­ver­sity hall.

The close prox­im­ity to work is the big­gest ad­van­tage – but there is a flip­side, Jan­so­nius says.

‘‘It’s just a 24-hour job. If I get a phone call late in the evening I can just pop in. It’s all hands on deck when a call comes.

‘‘My job doesn’t feel like work so the chal­lenge is re­flect­ing a good work-life bal­ance to my staff. It makes it hard to say: ‘ Do as I do’ when I’m here all hours.’’


An­gela and Peter Maxwell love living in the farm house at Corn­wall Park.

Rev­erend Matt Bruns says hous­ing is a bonus – but it’s not for­ever.

Felic­ity Jan­so­nius says living on site makes life easy.

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