A timeless work of art
Science fiction fans around the world are yearning for a bed in a Raumati South house.
It’s not just any bed, but a Tardis time travelling machine bed, built by Rosetta Rd man Jason Beca, and inspired by science fiction television show Dr Who.
The time travelling machine, which took Mr Beca 200 hours to build, folds down into a single bed, and was modelled on the Dr Who episode set in Christmas Eve 1869 with Charles Dickens.
Mr Beca built it for his eightyear-old son Nic, but decided to sell it and build his son a Star Wars Death Star bed instead.
The Tardis has a talking phone, made from a garden hose, a police light and a chain of LED lights on the roof with six different pulse settings.
It had received more than 70,000 hits and reached $7200 on Trade Me before Mr Beca withdrew the item, having struck a deal with Woman’s Day. The magazine will use it for a Christmas give-away promotion.
Mr Beca’s craftsmanship knows no boundaries. He can make and restore anything from old train sets to rocket-powered skateboards to a lamp made out of a Barbie doll with wings he attached from a dead hawk he found on the road.
He pulled the bird apart, which was ‘‘ a bit gruesome’’, attached the wings to the doll and replaced the doll’s legs with the bird’s claws.
Now she sits in a bird cage and can be lit up.
Creativity runs in Mr Beca’s blood. His father restored art and his grandfather designed and built the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
But Mr Beca, who left school at 13 and ‘‘ bummed’’ around, is entirely self-taught. He does not know how to explain his craftsmanship, only to say ‘‘it’s just a gift basically’’.
His talent emerged after a rocky patch in his life.
Eleven years ago he suffered a bad head injury and as a small child his son suffered serious epileptic fits, often ending up in hospital.
Mr Beca says he ‘‘couldn’t think, couldn’t sleep’’ and would come home and create stuff as a way of making sense of the world.
‘‘The only time I could concentrate was when I was doing this,’’ he says, gesturing around his workshop to various creations, including a half-finished Sir Howard Morrison miniature and a tiny car with bugs in it.
A stroke three years ago came as another setback.
Mr Beca says his brain sometimes just stops working, he loses focus, forgets where he is going, and loses his balance.
He reads, but forgets what he has read and does not wear a watch because he promptly forgets the time after checking it.
He attributes friend Sir Richard Taylor, from Weta, for helping him through his ‘‘darkest days’’.
He was like a ‘‘ sponge soaking up water’’ when Sir Richard showed him around the Weta workshops, and now has two models on display in the Weta foyer. Sir Richard has personally endorsed his work.
Mr Beca’s son was also a ‘‘push to get moving’’.
‘‘ He just comes up with the craziest things and he wants me to build them.’’
Nic won’t settle for a typical round train set, he wants an elaborate train set made in a week, laughs Mr Beca, who has restored bikes, trains and toys for people all around the world, including celebrities.
‘‘My cellphone looks like some sort of American chat show, it’s freaky,’’ he says of his contacts list.
He does not have a website, and the Tardis is the only piece he has auctioned.
Mr Beca is also a champion of good causes. He rallied the community together to get Otaki spina bifida sufferer Michael Conway a new lightweight wheelchair, has helped renovate a family home and organised a school raffle for Raumati Beach School.
Next on his to-do list is a jet engine motorbike and a rocket-fuelled car.
‘‘As soon as I’m well I’ll go full steam ahead.’’
Time travelling bed: Jason Beca with his Tardis Dr Who creation which folds out into a single bed.