June 7, 2014 Loading Docs

From poverty to the penthouse: Homeless who are living like kings in mansions and hotels abandoned since Christchurch earthquake

daily-mail-logo-vector1A group of homeless people are living like kings after taking up residency in abandoned mansions and luxury hotels in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake three years ago.

The earthquake killed 185 people and severely damaged the New Zealand city in February 2011.

But the homeless population who previously slept on the banks of rivers and on the streets say the devastating natural disaster was the best thing that could have happened to them.

‘After living on the street for 20 years, we’re now tasting what it’s like to live like kings. We’re sleeping in fancy sheets, drinking champagne and living in mansions… and we’re f****** loving it,’ one the men said. 

‘We felt like the poor have come rich overnight.’

Their new and luxurious living opportunities are the subject of a three-minute Loading Docs documentary titled Living Like Kings.

The men were filmed proudly showing the abandoned houses where they now squat and taking advantage of the ‘posh’ facilities.

One of the men took great delight in using exercise equipment while another popped a bottle of champagne.

Many of the houses still have furniture from previous tenants who were forced to flee the earthquake and failed to return because of structural damage.

Filmmaker Zoe McIntosh was motivated to make Living like Kings after hearing about the group of men squatting in mansions post earthquake.

‘I loved the immediate contrast within that scenario and was curious to know whether in fact there were any other positive stories that came out of the devastating disaster of the Christchurch Earthquake,’ she said.

‘The biggest pleasure was meeting the characters in Living like Kings. They’re such a kind-hearted and generous group of people.

‘They had so many more interesting stories and facets to their personalities that I couldn’t include within the three minutes.’

via The Daily Mail