Rail building graffitied by John Banks, er, intentionally

Thanks to some nifty creative minds and hard working hands, Datamine is now the proud new tenant of a formally derelict railway station in Parnell. The company has taken out a lease from OnTrack which will run for up to 36 years.

The restored heritage building was officially opened by Auckland Mayor John Banks, who ‘tagged’ the building alongside local artist Otis Frizzell, who developed a special graffiti piece to christen the building and act as a reminder about its derelict past.

Of the companies choice of premises, Datamine founder Paul O’Connor says, “New Zealand’s oldest suburb has been the site for many heritage building demolitions in place of urban eyesores. I hope our move into this site will inspire other companies to realise that big business doesn’t have to mean big ugly buildings.”

Not that restoration work is ever easy, of course. OnTrack’s Mark Baylis partnered with Datamine and remembers some not so pleasant details from their initial meetings.

“The floor was covered in cat manure and the stench from the wild cats was overwhelming. The view through the window was totally obscured by 12 years of graffiti on both the inside and outside and Paul and I could not keep still due to the constant itching and scratching from fleas biting us as we discussed the finer points of the building layout and finishes for the proposed refurbishment.

“The easy route would have been to discard the building project altogether and look for some Queen Street office accommodation,” says Baylis.

As part of the opening ceremony, an original 1950s steam train gave rides alongside the building on the  track it had run along when the building was a working signal box. The train theme ran through the party with guests being issued boarding passes and then needing to get their tickets clipped by riding the train. Stops on the train journey included Siberia (a marquee out back with chilled Russian vodka shots), getting on the Shinkansen (a sushi and sake room) and experiencing the Overlander, with a selection of railway‐style pies.

Who knew moving premises could be so fun?

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