News that Hanover Finance’s Mark Hotchin is struggling to find the money to pay contractors to finish his $50 million palace has galvanised the Orakei community into action.
Last week a team of volunteers went onto the property to help with the landscaping and building work. And on Saturday morning Jim Mora and the crew from Mucking In arrived to help finish the building project.
Local man David Polescratcher said that Mr Hotchin was a fine man who deserved the help he was getting.
“I remember the helping hand he and his friends at Hanover gave my dear late Mum. Thanks to the rock-solid first ranking secured debentures Hanover offered her, she was able to invest her life savings with peace of mind.
“Of course she lost almost everything when it turned out that the foundations of Hanover were built from straw, and the stress of it all probably killed her. But for just a few months she was happy and secure.
“Now it’s time I gave something back in return.”
In addition to supplying labour, local residents went door to door asking for donations.
Mother of two and local Lions member Ena Slythe said she was happy to give her time to such a worthy cause.
“The papers have a lot of negative stuff about Mark,” she said. “Some of it’s plain disgusting. But people don’t always see the good he’s done.
“I know of a couple of European luxury car dealers he’s saved from bankruptcy, thanks to his taste in fast cars.
“And the Hanover collapse has pumped a lot of money into the economy and helped a lot of people, especially in the Orakei and Remuera areas. Mostly the lawyers. But lawyers are people too. Most of them live around here.”
Late on Sunday the Mucking In crew were working frantically to finish the house. However, they were handed a repriebe when Hotchin failed to return from his trip away.
“Apparently he’s on Hawaii”, said the show’s host Jim Mora. “Between you and me, it’s a good thing too. We had some serious trouble finding diamond-encrusted taps to match the toilets in the seventeen bathrooms. And the downstairs is a mess still. When we tried to fill the underground pool with champagne on Saturday, it overflowed and we had a real mess to sort out.
“Still, we had a pretty merry night afterwards.”
Mr Mora admitted the job had been bigger than they anticipated.
“We hadn’t dealt with a moat before on the show. The kitchen tiling also caused us problems, because the building specs said the grouting had to be mixed using gold dust and the ground-down bones of the poor. Thankfully we whipped down to Placemakers and the boys down there sorted it out for us.”
There was no word tonight on when Mr Hotchin was due to return to New Zealand.
“It must be tough for him,” said Mr Polescratcher. “And I can see the attraction of Hawaii, because nobody will know him there. But when he returns here he can be sure of a warm welcome from a local community that just wants to say ‘thanks Mark for all you’ve done.'”