On the first floor of Tauranga City Council's main administration building, it's still Christmas 2014.
Shiny, festive decorations still hang from the leaky ceiling and calendars marking December still adorn the stained and dilapidated walls.
It's a sight few people have seen. Now that plans for a major civic rebuild have been approved, even fewer people will see the state of this toxic time capsule before the council building is demolished next year.
The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend was invited inside to get one of the last glimpses.
The former office floor has been sealed off for seven years due to the discovery of black mould. The Stachybotrys became the catalyst for sick staff, evacuation and an eventual overhaul of the city's entire civic space.
As we cross a skywalk into the first floor of the council building, a subtle musty smell permeating the masks we wear is the first indication something isn't right. The wide expanse of the vacant office space, broken bits of wall and timber on the ground and lack of lighting are the next.
The carpet that once grew mushrooms has been ripped up and removed but threads still attached to skirting remain here and there. Grey, waterstained concrete from underneath adds to the bleak atmosphere.
At various points, colourful tinsel decorations hang from the ceiling - some look sadder than others.
Senior projects manager Richard Conning scans his old workspace and gravitates towards one of the places he used to sit. He then walks to a corner office a few metres away.
"I remember this corner. This is where Marie lost three computers in six years just from it raining inside."
Conning has worked for the council for about 13 years. He looks up at where missing ceiling panels reveal bundles of unused wiring. Above the window panes, sheets of dark, dusty mould sit atop faded pink blinds. A cloud of dark matter puffs out as one of the blinds is touched.
"If you were away for the weekend and rain was coming you had to move stuff away from the windows if you didn't want it ruined," Conning says.
The centre of the floor became the most desirable workspace because of the leaks coming through the walls and windows, Conning says.
Towards the northeastern corner, someone has scrawled warnings on the wall with an arrow indicating another corner office, the worst-affected part of the floor.
Inside, a slab of insulation stained with black mould leans up against a wall. In some parts, the paintwork has bubbled and in other parts it has come away entirely, revealing mouldy broken concrete.
"I'm pretty sure it's in there where the mushrooms were growing. This was the space we moved to just before [the evacuation]," Conning says.
About 330 of the council's 520 staff were moved after tests confirmed the presence of toxic black mould and Chrysosporium fungi. In recent years, clusters of staff have been relocated to office spaces on Devonport Rd, Spring St and more recently Cameron Rd.
Back on Willow St, Conning looks around his old workspace and takes it all in.
"When you get told why you need to move out, there was pretty understandable concern about people for their own health, what effects the experience of black mould made on them."
Conning says he developed a persistent cough "having moved into this particular part of the building".
After evacuating, there was a realisation "that the effects on people's health were real", he says.
Conning says his cough cleared up within days of evacuating.
"It's not okay to be in a place like that but you don't know what you don't know until it's brought to light," he says.
"I don't really know the timeframe from when people started getting sick to when it became acknowledged but it was a while. People were having their computers rained on inside. It went on a long time."
Staff member Cathy Davidson also remembers "window seats weren't sought-after".
"When it rained and it was windy, you'd have to pull [your] desk back from [the] window so that your paperwork didn't get wet."
Davidson says one of the rooms had big paint bubbles and "when the surface was finally removed to investigate properly, the walls were just full of mould".
Another staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, recalls putting buckets under the windows when it rained, "making sure that the water running down the inside of the building did not hit any electricals".
The man developed an immunocompromised condition during this time.
He remembers having a severe reaction "where my entire face when beetroot red and I had to go to A&E".
"The doctor agreed that it may have been a result of an immune system reaction to the mould but that this was difficult to prove either way."
One of those buckets is still here today, sitting in a room where paint has peeled from the wall and venetian blinds hang askew.
But things are changing.
The council's remaining Willow St-based staff are moving to a satellite office space on Cameron Rd, and the council's customer service centre and the library are relocating to He Puna Manawa (formerly Goddards Shopping Centre) before the tired and beleaguered administration building is demolished in April.
Initial plans for civic redevelopment that would see a civic whare, museum, hotel, conference centre and library established in the Willow St to Durham St location were adopted earlier this month. A detailed financial plan with further design details is expected to be considered by the city commission early next year.
A final decision on the project's delivery is expected to be made by June 30. It is possible the entire project could be completed within 10 years.
Chief executive Marty Grenfell says, "I just feel this is a real opportunity, a point in time, for this city and organisation that we have the opportunity over the next five to six years to be part of something special and to put in place the foundation blocks for this city that will last decades, for generations in fact."
"And everyone that's part of that, in my view, will be able to look back ... and say 'yes, that's the tipping point for the city'."
Grenfell says rather than feeling excited about the future of the city's civic space, he and everyone involved in the process has a "responsibility to get this right".
One of the first steps in this journey was saying goodbye to that dilapidated first floor of the council's administration building - one Christmas decoration at a time.