A tight-knit town shattered by a giant earthquake is selling houses at no profit in an innovative bid to attract families back to the rebuilding community.
Waiau, deep in North Canterbury's picturesque rolling hills, was at the epicentre of the magnitude-7.8 November 2016 quake.
With a population of just 300, it lost a third of its housing stock - more than 30 homes - along with its historic pub, swimming pool, playcentre, church and damage to other key buildings, including the bowling club and Scouts den. Its school roll plummeted from 51 to 32.
Since then, the rural township has struggled to recover, with many families suddenly homeless and being forced to move away. Surrounding farmland took a hit, with paddocks torn into wide crevasses or transformed into lakes overnight, and suddenly workers couldn't be paid and they also drifted elsewhere.
Bare sections where damaged homes have been razed to the ground are dotted around the town.
Damage from the massive November 14, 2016 ground shaking are still visible, with piles of bricks and rubble stacked outside some still-standing properties, while other dangerously decrepit and leaning structures are fenced off.
But now, more than four years after the devastating event, locals have set up a trust to try and attract people back to the area.
The Hurunui Community Development Trust is building new homes which will be sold to families who want to make their futures in Waiau.
And they have the backing of an Australian IT tycoon who has built a high-tech factory and private racetrack outside town where he's making race cars as fast as Formula 1 cars for mega-rich "gentlemen drivers".
David Dicker, owner and founder of Dicker Data, which has an annual turnover in excess of A$1 billion ($1.08b) and employs some 400 people, moved to the district in 2005.
Dicker was approached by the trust last week and quickly got on board.
He is funding the first house to be built, on a prime site located opposite the primary school, where the town's Presbyterian church building once stood.
The land was recently gifted to the trust by Hurunui District Council and building work will soon begin.
"I've been living here for 15 years, so you feel you should do something and I'm in a position where I can help," Dicker told the Weekend Herald.
He understands as well as anyone the need to attract people to the area.
"We'll need more people in the future," Dicker says.
"A lot of my guys commute here from near Christchurch every day and I know I'd rather live in Waiau than Christchurch."
The Hurunui Community Development Trust was born after a series of community meetings following the calamitous quakes.
After garnering ideas from locals on what direction the town needs to take in its recovery, a sub-group was formed to deal with jobs and housing.
The idea to try and build new homes and sell them at cost-price to attract people back to the area followed from there.
"We want families who are willing to be part of our community," says trustee and spokeswoman Rebekah Kelly.
"We feel this is an opportunity that people will be very interested in."
And the call isn't limited to locals, or former townsfolk forced out after the quakes.
Anyone from across the country, is more than welcome to apply to buy one of the new homes, if they show a commitment to the future of Waiau.
"We've come up with a win-win for our community and those who want to get on the property ladder," says trust chairwoman and local farmer Cheryl Barbara.
Waiau is the "quintessential rural" Kiwi town, says Kelly, where "everyone knows one another, and that's a good thing".
The landscape offers people freedom, the trust says, to get on the property ladder, explore the outdoors, try new things.
They've got a brand new swimming pool after raising more than $2 million to replace the old pool destroyed in the quake.
And there is the meandering Waiau River, nearby Mt Lyford ski field, walking tracks, bike trails, a camping ground and stunning countryside.
"Kids are never bored here," Kelly says.
The trust is still working through potential funding models, but they could include mixed equity schemes tailored to meet individual circumstances.
They hope to build at least 10 properties over the next 15 years.
But Kelly says they won't be limiting themselves to that number.
"We'll do as many as we can."
Local tradies, including builders, will also get first chance to do the work.
The first house, funded by Dicker, will be a "safe, dry and warm" kit-set property.
Building is set to get under way in June, with a completion date by the end of the year.
A final decision on who gets an opportunity to buy lies with the trust, which is being supported by Hurunui District Council chief executive Hamish Dobbie.
But project manager Emma Duncan says ideally they want to attract families to the community.
"We're looking for those who want to be involved in community groups, have skills that will help the community's businesses grow and will enjoy the country lifestyle that Waiau offers," she says.
And while the trust is in its infancy, word is already spreading and Kelly hopes the idea can catch on.
"If Waiau can make it happen here, then we should be able to roll it out elsewhere," she says.
"We've already had interest from other areas wanting to do the same thing."