Our innovative response to needing a place to call home.



Lower Hutt


June 2012 - October 2014


Architect: DGSE Wellington
Builder: Practical Building Solutions


The Free Store has never had a lot of money. Certainly not enough to pay inner-city commercial rent! We figured that we didn't need a large space to operate from since we don't ever store food - each day it comes in and each day it goes out. What we really needed was a simple, beautiful, pragmatic solution. One day we saw thousands of shipping containers on Wellington's waterfront and thought "surely there must be one lying around that isn't being used?" We met with Rebecca McKinnon, a local architect, and sold her the vision. Her firm agreed to design a functional purpose-built space for us and to also to deal with local Council requirements such as building and resource consents pro bono. After sourcing a 20-ft shipping container we secured the support of 20+ local businesses who jumped on board to donate all the materials and labour required. With the dedicated support of a local builder, his team and a plethora of volunteers we spent the next few years chipping away at this project every Friday.


PlasterboardElephant Plasterboard
Plaster SuppliesGIB
Recycled Rubber FlooringJacobsen
Flooring InstallerTinakori Flooring
Flooring UnderlayLook Floors
InsulationForman Building Systems
FlashingsGeneral Sheetmetal Ltd.
FastenersFortress Fasteners
Stainless Steel Powdercoated SignMetco Engineering
Interior PaintingRemnant Painters & Decorators
Lockbox Solution: Beveridge Locksmiths

Container SupplierSpaceWise
Plywood Shelving & BenchtopsMitre 10 MEGA Petone
EngineerKevin O'Connor & Associates
Container TransportCroft Combined Carriers
Lighting SolutionsMoth Light
uPVC JoineryAdvanced uPVC Windows NZ
Joinery InstallationAluminium Joinery Wellington
Rust InhibitionTRITOflex Distributors Ltd.
MetalworkTwin Lakes Industries
Welding SuppliesBOC Gasses, Seaview
Paint SuppliesResene
FSC NZ Timber CladdingAbodo Wood