30 years of Habitat in New Zealand

building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter

For three decades, Habitat for Humanity in New Zealand has been partnering with people to provide safe and decent places to call home. In 1993, Habitat handed over the keys to our very first partner family that unlocked a home built entirely by volunteers and also opened doors for the future; stability to support education and income, generational security, and a place to finally call their own.

Over the past 30 years, Habitat has built new homes for families in rent-to-buy models, made critical repairs to existing family homes, brought people together to be the heart of change in their communities, and ultimately supported hundreds of families to thrive in life through housing.

First Habitat Home

March 1993

A Kiwi family and future homeowners move into the first Habitat for Humanity home in New Zealand, completed in Pukekohe Auckland.

Two new Habitats

October – November 1994

Habitat Christchurch and Habitat Manukau (now known as Habitat Northern) were established, bringing Habitat New Zealand to both the North and South Islands.

Habitat Established in Hamilton

January 1995

Habitat Hamilton is established, now known as Habitat Central, supporting the Waikato to Wellington region.

Myrtle’s Miracle Mansion

May 1995

Habitat Central complete their first home build, 100% built by volunteers and with support from local funders. 
Watch more about Myrtle’s Miracle Mansion here.

Habitat Keeps Growing

August – September 1995

Habitat New Zealand continues to grow, with the establishment of Habitat Taranaki and Habitat Dunedin.

Home Blitz Build

October 1995

Habitat Northern host their first Blitz Build. An event bringing together 300 volunteers, including the first Global Village team to come to New Zealand from the USA. It rained virtually every day of the event, but volunteers were kept fed with hot meals cooked by inmates at the Mt Eden Prison. Over the five days, five homes were built for local families.

First Taranaki Home

April and May 1996

Habitat Nelson established, and Habitat Taranaki dedicates their first home respectively.

Aotea Square Build

September 1996

Build event is held in Aotea Square, Auckland showcasing Kiwis’ ‘self-build’ abilities during the Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Housing Congress. House lifted out of the square on a crane to be transported to East Tāmaki.

First Habitat ReStore

February 1997

First ReStore opens in New Zealand, located in Invercargill and then called ‘Bargain Barn’.

50th Habitat Home

December 1998

Habitat Nelson dedicates a home to a local Kiwi family, making it the first in the region and the 50th Habitat home built in New Zealand.

Speed Build

March 1999

With the help of 200+ volunteers, Habitat Manukau sets the World Record for the fasted Habitat build – completing a four-bedroom home in 3 hours, 44 minutes and 59 seconds.

Watch more about the Speedbuild here.

First Home in the Millennium

December 1999 – January 2000

Three homes built in Gisborne between Boxing Day and New Years Eve. They were dedicated to three local families on the stroke of midnight, making them the first Habitat homes in the world dedicated in the new millennium.

First Women Build Project

September 2000

Habitat New Zealand hosts their first Women Build Project. With the help of US volunteers and then Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Helen Clark, the all-female team built two homes. The electrician was an ‘honorary woman’ because the only female electrician in New Zealand at the time was on maternity leave and unable to attend.

Second Blitz Build

March 2005

‘Blitz Build’ held in celebration of Habitat New Zealand’s 10th Anniversary. 600 volunteers join forces to build five homes in seven days.

Work in Samoa Begins

September 2009

A deadly tsunami strikes Samoa, triggering a disaster response from Habitat New Zealand resulting in 96 fale rebuilt for affected families. This begins our relationship and work with Samoa.

Christchurch Emergency Response

February 2011

The Christchurch Earthquake struck, and an emergency response was launched. Habitat Christchurch repaired homes with Red Cross and ‘Hand-up Christchurch’ funding until 2013.

Big City Build

March 2012

House built on forecourt of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell in conjunction with nine churches and three church schools.

100th Home Dedicated

September 2012

Habitat Central dedicates their 100th home.

Cyclone Relief in Vanuatu

March 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam hits Vanuatu. Habitat New Zealand launches a recovery that builds 46 transitional shelters, marking the first time Habitat New Zealand works in Vanuatu.

First Home Repair

February 2013

Habitat Taranaki completes their first home repair for a local family.

Earthquake Hits Nepal

April 2015

A 7.6 magnitude earthquake strikes Nepal. Habitat New Zealand responds by distributing 395 Temporary Shelter Kits and 269 Winterisation Kits.

Island Partnership Begins

May 2015

The Partnerships for International Development (PfID) Programme begins in Samoa and Fiji, the start of a six-year programme to provide training to build long-term shelter resilience to 75 communities and produce 324 homes and 93 traditional Samoan fales in Fiji and Samoa.

Home Repairs in Fiji

February 2016

Habitat New Zealand responds to destruction from Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji by completing 30 home repairs and distributing 366 minor repair kits and shelter resilience training.

Home Built in Ngawha Prison

June 2016

Home built in Ngawha Prison by Department of Corrections inmates and then lifted by crane onto site in Whangārei for Dana and her kids. They completed their journey to home ownership in 2022.

Pacific Response

February 2018

Cyclone Gita strikes the Pacific and triggers a recovery response from Habitat New Zealand in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga; 422 home repairs are completed as well as shelter resilience training across the three countries.

BNZ Partnership Begins

July 2019

Habitat and BNZ partner to provide interest-free loans to Home Repair families.

COVID-19 Support

June 2020

Through the Partnerships for International Development (PfID) Programme, Habitat New Zealand’s 12-month COVID-19 Disaster Response supported 46 communities in Fiji and Samoa to consider and prepare for risks associated with COVID-19 through improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.

Winter Warmer Packs

June 2020

In response to Covid-19 restrictions, Habitat Northern distribute Winter Warmer Packs for the first time, warming up homes from the Bombay’s to Cape Reinga.

Habitat Home Ownership

July 2020

Habitat in New Zealand significantly contributes to the establishment of the Progressive Home Ownership fund that has since housed almost 130 families in Habitat homes.

Tonga Disaster Response

January 2022

In response to the 2022 earthquake and tsunami in Tonga, Habitat New Zealand trains 20+ participants in shelter resilience, undertake 30 shelter assessments and build eight new homes for displaced families. This project was completed in September 2023.

Housing in Northland

March 2023

20 families move into Habitat Northern’s first Public Housing development in Northland.

And we’re just getting started!

Help us to keep building strength, stability and self-reliance for many more years to come