Is it a boat or is it a house?

It has a kitchen, a fireplace, a lounge and a bedroom. But it also has a captain's deck with a steering wheel, even though it's on land, not sea. And now a government department has to decide exactly what it is.

Last year the Dunedin City Council issued Aramoana man Just Doi with a notice to fix because it considered the dwelling he was building and living in was a building, not a boat and therefore consent was required.

Doi started building the structure on another property in Aramoana about 10 years ago. He was also issued a notice to fix by the council at the time.



But now he has applied to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to determine whether the structure is indeed a boat or is really a building.

Any ruling will be legally binding. But if the structure is ruled to be a boat, Doi will be given a "reasonable" amount of time to make it seaworthy.

Doi is adamant the structure - which cost him about $50,000 - is a boat and he wants the council to leave him alone so he can complete it.

The self described "ageing hippie" admits he has no formal naval architectural training but is confident the structure will float once finished.

House or boat? Photo / ODT
House or boat? Photo / ODT

"I don't have a television so I spend my nights learning this stuff and I'm pretty confident I've got all my calculations correct and the naval architect MBIE sent down will agree with me that it's a boat."

Inside is a full kitchen, or galley as he describes it, a shower, fireplace, a staircase, a lounge and a bedroom.

It also has temporary windows. Doi said they would make way for the port side of the vessel, a captain's deck with steering wheel and a plan to line the completed hull with concrete.

MBIE determinations manager Katie Gordon said the ministry was considering whether the structure was a boat or building and as the determination was a quasi-judicial process, she could not comment further until assessments had been completed.

The structure had become something of a tourist attraction in the coastal town, Doi said, and curious onlookers supported his cause.

"They all say of course it's a boat. Just look at it."