Clayton Friend is sure fellow Aucklanders working down here will never feel lonely as the earthquake rebuild kicks into high gear two years after February 22.
"Everywhere you go, there's an Aucklander!'' he said. "It's pretty much a good mix across the city.''
Mr Friend, well-known to sports fans as a former Kiwi who made 24 test appearances as halfback from 1982 to 1991 as well as playing professionally in Sydney and England, has been working here since late 2011.
He has a painting gang with three people working for him, doing mainly residential work after painting the dorms at Christ's College for his first contract here.
It's almost a different job every week - his gang has done five houses in six weeks since work resumed after Christmas.
The rebuild was picking up pace and things were moving along pretty smoothly now, and people here had been absolutely tremendous to visiting workers like him, he said. The South Island Kiwis Association has made him an honorary member.
With his wife Joanne and family in Auckland, he has no intention of settling here, but sees work for at least a year ahead.
He goes back to Auckland every month to catch up with his family - "you can shop ahead and get good (air fare) prices'' - and had three weeks there at Christmas. He said he could sometimes spend more time in traffic in Auckland than it took to fly home.
This weekend he's looking forward to a trip in the opposite direction. Two of his sons are involved with the Warriors who are playing a pre-season match in Dunedin, so he's heading south to catch up with them.