Patience and precision is what's it's taken to move and reconstruct the historically significant beehive kilns created by potter Mirek Smišek.
The delicate project is taking place because the two kilns, located in Te Horo, are in the direct line of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway construction.
Despite only being moved about 20m to the eastern side where they are being reinstated, each 2.5m high by 2m in diameter kiln has to be carefully removed and reconstructed brick by brick.
Used over a 40-year period by Smišek, the kilns are believed to be made from 4000 second-hand bricks brought over from the Nelson area, Golden Bay and Tākaka.
While they are not registered on the New Zealand Heritage list, the kilns have significant value as the only known beehive kilns in New Zealand.
Spearheaded by the NZ Transport Agency and expressway contractor Fletcher Construction, a rebuild team of potter Duncan Shearer and Rick and Jamie Mead of The Brothers Mead Block and Brick Laying have been tasked with the job of reconstruction them.
The team have painstakingly pieced the huge kilns back together using the original bricks wherever possible.
Rick said it was like a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, with some of the damaged bricks having to be glued back together piece by piece so they could be reused.
Thanks to their expertise, the first of the kilns has been reconstructed and it's hoped the second one will be completed before Christmas, leaving only the chimney to go.
Mirek Smišek Arts Trust member Susi White said she's very excited to finally see the beehive kilns reinstated, as they are integral to Ōtaki's history.
However, for Susi the job doesn't end when the last brick is slotted into place.
There's still the important task of raising the capital for the multi-use arts facility, where the kilns are planned to be a central feature.
"We are still only funding and planning as we do not have access or ownership of the site so we as a trust are organising for the future."
The trust is holding a fundraising Loll in Lavender, a family picnic and concert at Lavender Creek Farm in Te Horo on February 7 from 2-7pm.
"It promises to be a great day out – there'll be live bands, including Mana Blues, and plenty of other entertainment to add to the ambience."
All proceeds from the $20 booking fee (16 years old and under are free) will be going toward the Mirek Smišek Art Centre.
For further information about the fundraiser or trust email email@example.com.