Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Grand Designs in Christchurch's earthquake zone

Andrei and Abby Martin have demolished their damaged cottage and built a prototype earthquake-proof home in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
Andrei and Abby Martin have demolished their damaged cottage and built a prototype earthquake-proof home in Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

A Kiwi suffering from the same rare cancer which struck down Apple founder Steve Jobs will reveal the dream home he has built in the Christchurch earthquake zone on hit TV show Grand Designs NZ.

Andrei and Abby Martin are determined to stay in South Brighton with daughter Alice, 6, despite ongoing earthquakes and their house being built on a destabilised sand dune.

They demolished their damaged cottage and built a prototype, earthquake-proof home that can withstand shakes and create its own power.

Andrei is determined his home will 'give back' to his community, who not only helped each other during the quakes, but raised money to fund an experimental treatment for a rare terminal cancer he has been living with for the past four years.

The builder has a neuroendocrine tumour or NET - the rare cancer that killed Jobs.

He travels to Melbourne to get check-ups and for treatment but he is presently working full-time and living life to the full.

The Martin's 1930s cottage was badly damaged in the big 2011 quake. But instead of moving away they have replaced it with a four-bedroom house which has two separate living areas, with a floating glass link between them.

"There are sinkholes and sand under the house but we wanted to stay put because we have lived at the same place for the past nine years," he said. "The key part is the house is self sufficient and we can produce enough power and water for the neighbours in an emergency."

The Martin's home will feature on Grand Designs NZ next Sunday.

Meanwhile, tonight's instalment of the show features another Christchurch couple, who have constructed a two-storey home from 20 shipping containers.

Engineer and construction project manager David Fitzmaurice, originally from England, moved to Christchurch with his wife Joyce Wee to work on the reconstruction of the city after the devastating earthquakes.

Grand Designs NZ is screened on Sunday nights at 8.30pm on TV3.

- Herald on Sunday

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