Ashburton is located right in the heart of the Ashburton District in Canterbury Region. It is a large town which serves the farming community and sits between river Rakaia and Rangitata. Despite this, Ashburton experiences very minimal rainfall, therefore, it was a dry area before the Europeans settled. Soon after, Ashburton was no longer known as the dry land of New Zealand but as the home for good farm produce. Irrigation schemes were extensively established which enabled the locals to practice unlimited farming. Besides that, Ashburton is known for having the most famous museums in New Zealand such as the aviation, railway and car museum. In the museum, a story is also told of the development of the freight industry which included shipping companies that exported valuable goods from the town.
The Shipping industry in Ashburton developed because of extensive farming which needed import of fertilizers. The high demand for fertilizers has been managed by farmers finding new ways of planting pest-resistant crops. The Ashburton town council have also set up information centres for educating farmers on the need to reduce the use of inorganic fertilizers. As a result, many farmers are using better techniques in farming which in turn leads to better yields. Most of the farm produces the town, and the rest are transported to neighbouring regions using pallet wide shipping containers. Some of the agricultural produce is also exported to other countries once processed into non-perishable goods.
Using shipping containers for storage purposes in Ashburton is not as easy as it sounds. The township is keen on ensuring the safety of the locals who use shipping containers for this purpose. For example, shipping containers are only to be used for storage of the contents related to the primary use.
This policy has been well implemented in Ashburton, and now locals cannot simply use and industrial shipping container to build a home. However, if it was a shipping container that was used for moving household items, then it can be used to build a house. Same case applies to industrial shipping containers.
The other policy implemented in Ashburton is that shipping containers cannot be located at an abandoned site. The idea is to avoid future poisoning cases as having been reported in the past. This is related to the cases where a shipping container that was used to transport hazardous solid items is abandoned for a while. Whoever comes along it and decides to turn it into a home or office puts their lives in danger. The people of Ashburton fully support this argument. Therefore, a building permit is required to prove that the container has been declared safe and is ready to be converted into a container home. Depending on the size of the shipping container, one may also require a development application. The minimum requirements for the building include a maximum container height of 2.4m and a minimum of 1.5m sideways unless stated otherwise. Lastly, one is required to discuss their intentions of building with the town’s Shire.