Roaring Meg


It’s 2016. A young-ish man – John Ryan, a stainless steel fabricator – is renting a house in Arrowtown. The cost of rent is increasing by the month and he can’t get excited about taking on a 30-year mortgage. So, he buys a old school bus to convert into his new home. 

About six months into the project, John needs a woodburner. He likes lots of things about lots of different models on the market – big and small – so decides to combine them into one small unit and build it himself. Once underway, John adds design features of his own – the large viewing window, robust door hinges and external door latch, the raw natural steel finish and exposed welds, and (everyone’s favourite) a hand-spun door knob.

Ok, so the first Meg wasn’t perfect (it went out as soon as he’d close the door), but with many baffle, air-intake and flue-size alterations, the fire started “roaring”. Thus the name, Roaring Meg. It’s about this time that John runs out of money. So he takes a photo of his Roaring Meg and pops it on Trade Me. He sells three in the first week.

That was a few hundred Megs ago. Yes, John’s own bus is now long finished – and very comfortably warmed by one of the original Roaring Megs.