When you walk into Alexander and Lidia’s newly built Housing New Zealand home in Auckland you are struck with colour and charm—history books adorn the bookcase, still-life objects are scattered throughout the living room, and their art hangs proudly.
Just like their past that has taken them on a journey across the world from Ukraine to New Zealand, their home is very unique.
The pair met at an art school in their home country of Ukraine, and now find themselves in Birkdale, Auckland after immigrating to be near their daughter who married a kiwi.
After nearly 10 years living at Greys Ave—a well-known Housing New Zealand site in central Auckland—they left city life earlier this year to move into their warm, dry home in the North Shore.
They say their Housing New Zealand home is the perfect place for them to create.
For Alexander this often means going out and exploring nature around the Auckland region and then coming home and painting with his own colours and memory.
A lot of his work is inspired by architecture in Europe, and much of it has religious themes—some of which he was commissioned to paint for exhibition in the Christchurch Cathedral.
Their daughter, Margarita, who also lives in Auckland and is an artist, says her mother is often off on adventures to climb up mountains with her easel painting different landscapes from observation.
Margarita jokes saying, "with my parents passion for art, and being surrounded by artists from an early age, it was very difficult for me not to become an artist."
The trio say that New Zealand is an inspiring place to be an artist.
Some of their favourite scenes are Waiheke Island and Whangaroa Harbour, which are now special places for their whanau.
Alexander says, "Europe is so different, there is so much history and wonderful architecture to draw or paint. I needed to live in New Zealand for some time to understand how to paint it,"
"To quote a classical writer—I don’t know what song I will sing but the song is forming."
Housing New Zealand Community Development Manager, Karen, and Community Development Coordinator Jodie, were welcomed into Alexander and Lidia’s home when they were collecting feedback from tenants about their new homes and neighbourhood.
Jodie says, "We had the most fantastic time hearing the couples interesting journey that brought them to be Housing New Zealand tenants,"
"Housing New Zealand helps to house people from all different walks of life, just like Lidia and Alexander who have lived a rich and creative life all around the world."