Arriving in New Zealand Xmas 1973
Arrived in NZ Just before Xmas 1973, managed to borrow a Honda 90 motor cycle and begin the search for land. The next three years took me up and down the country in a protracted search pattern. Self professed Buddhists met along the way were contacted and urged to support the formation of an incorporated society called The New Zealand Dharma Centre Inc.
This entity was formed and registered (with the required 15 signing members) in order to qualify for Crown land under the ill-fated Ohu scheme.
We even managed to bring the Ven Sazaki Roshi in to look at a back block in Taranaki we'd applied for, and that evening faced up to a hall full of angry locals.
Roshi concluded it was not appropriate to place a Buddhist temple on land that was under contention, and after an hour or so of our answering questions the crowd turned on the Lands and Surveys Dept. officer in attendance, for putting us into such an unworkable situation.
Early in 1976, a letter arrived from Ven. Lama Karma Thinley, giving detailed guidelines for the sort of land to look for. It needed to be near the city, near a good road, not too cold, and should be located in the mountains, or with a view of the sea or some other large body of water.
At the beginning of February I was shown a block of 31 acres off White Hills road, Kaukapakapa. Unformed access would be possible to develop along a 'paper road'; no power and no year round streams on the property, but distant views of the Hauraki Gulf from the ridge tops and an ARA bus stop within walking distance made it worth considering.
Not an ideal piece of land from the point of view of my desire to make a new form of Dharma centre with a self sufficient rural economic base, but there was enough potential to favour consideration. Negotiations for purchase involved my making an offer subject to approval for community use of agricultural land by the Rodney County Council, approval by the Lands and Surveys Dept. and the acceptance of my application for New Zealand citizenship.
Land purchased. Conditional Use application approved by Rodney County Council. Preliminary work on road construction, site clearing and the collection of building materials from demolition sites both locally and in Auckland, and the felling and milling of macrocarpa trees donated by a neighbour, occupied most of the remainder of 1976. A building permit was applied for and granted in January 1977, and construction began right away
The interesting result of this activity was that once there was a daily construction program in place, various people who had previously expressed interest in the project began to show up and check it out. Some of them even began to get involved, and some of those did so on a regular, long term basis. No financial support was forthcoming, but with the help of a sizeable family loan and a lot of part time work and business transactions, I was able to pay for the necessary materials and services.