New Full-time Aikido Dojo in Silverdale, Auckland, New Zealand..

At last. it is done. After nearly 9 months of hard graft the dojo is finally finished, and the remarkable thing is, it actually looks like our original drawings!

As I said during the opening ceremony, all building projects go over time and over budget, and this did both magnificently. We ran out of money by about month 6, when the council made their 4th ridiculous addition to “what we had to do to meet compliance”.
Truthfully, there were times when we felt like giving up on the whole project.
Interestingly enough, during some of the most stressful times when we were in heated face-to-face disputes with office-bound Bureaucrats, who clearly didn’t see what we were trying to achieve (and more importantly didn’t want to) and flatly refused to budge a millimetre from the letter of the law (even though common sense dictated that what they were asking was not only unnecessary, it was ridiculous) it was by staying as relaxed as possible and centred, that got us results.
At one point we had a whole day of correspondence with one department insisting we planted a row of trees to ‘block the view of the new building from the road”. The dojo is down a slope, behind a block of 30m high bamboo, and virtually invisible apart from the front metre or so of the roof. None of these guys had actually inspected the site, and were just reading from the planning rule-book. I could understand it if we were in a city area where our building would overlook or have an impact on neighbouring properties, but we are on a 5 acres plot and you’d have to climb on a fence post to even wave to the nearest neighbour.
Change the particular rule being referred to, and repeat on a monthly basis, and you get an idea of what we were up against.
So eventually – it was done. I have personally thanked all the people that helped many times already, but they deserve public credit. Firstly to my wonderful wife and daughter who suffered nearly a year of being skint as literally every penny we had poured into the build – I promise we’ll have a decent holiday next year :0)
Secondly, to the fantastic members of our little organisation – who gave up days and days of free time to pull down walls, dig holes, wheel barrows, paint, sweep, carry and everything else that needed doing – truly without you guys this simple wouldn’t have happened.
Now our dream has become reality – we have a beautiful full-time dojo, on our own land, with 110 sq metres of top class matting, changing rooms and even a washroom. As we speak we are moving a sofa and comfy chairs into the “watching” area and an apple mac so that we can start streaming live classes via the web (watch this space)
. There is even a beer fridge (hey, this IS New Zealand…)
The kamiza (kamidana) was beautifully crafted by a local chippy using driftwood from the nearby beach and finishes off the place wonderfully. We were very lucky to have sensei Frank Burlingham, 5th dan, visiting from the UK and he kindly officiated at the opening and honoured us by sharing some of his Aikido with us. Even with 26 on the mat there was plenty of space, and everyone enjoyed the night, including the celebratory saki afterwards…
We have space now for a couple if live-in students, and plan to start running a ukedeshi scheme in the next few months.


9 Responses to New Full-time Aikido Dojo in Silverdale, Auckland, New Zealand..

  1. Congradulations. Beautiful dojo.

  2. Congratulations on the new dojo. I wish the best for your endeavour. I found your blog last year as part of my planning in moving to NZ. Unfortunately circumstances had me settling in Palmerston North. Would love to visit your dojo when I am in Auckland.

  3. Thank you Bob – And Wirianto, you are always welcome to visit should you ever be in Auckland.

  4. Nick P. says:

    Though following this blog from afar (via AikiWeb), and never having met, congratulations are in order. Job well done.-Nick Pittson, Canada

  5. Sean Ashby says:

    Felicitations! That's quite an achievement! What a wonderful feeling to have a place all your own.

  6. Thanks Sean. After 20 years of trying, to finally be able to walk out of my front door an into the dojo is amazing!

  7. Sean says:

    Well done and a great achievement! We're doing the bureaucrat rounds for our new dojo at the moment and know the pain all to well.Great to see such a good result. Good training to everyone there.

  8. Good luck with the project Sean… keep telling yourself how good it will be not to have to take up and put down mats!!!

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