Things are now a whole lot easier for a Te Kauwhata, Waikato whanau, with essential home repair work by Habitat helping to improve accessibility. 

Waikato-Tainui whanau Christine, Percy and their son Gene (28) were referred to the Habitat for Humanity Central region programme through a Toiora Whare Toiora Whanau,  a pilot programme with Waikato Tainui, Whare Ora and Te Puni Kokiri. 

In partnership with the whanau, the roopu suggested some changes that would help with managing health issues. Christine said their home had been her Mum’s and “had never had anything done to it for 70-odd years. I was finding it hard to get in and out of the bathroom.” 

Christine (60) has a condition which affects her health and over time will require her to use a wheelchair. Percy (66), who was a bus driver in Auckland, gave up his job to look after them. 

When Toiora Whare Toiora Whanau roopu visited, it was clear the home urgently needed a wheelchair accessible bathroom and ramp. The original home repair task was to achieve this, with a wet-room shower, and Habitat had started the work but it wasn’t quite finished before Level 4 lockdown was declared. 

While the whanau had made an arrangement to use a shower elsewhere, they realised that was going to break their bubble. After finding out they’d been bathing using a bucket, Habitat’s builder Paul came up with a better temporary solution, and visited the home to install this shower set up. 

Once the level 4 lockdown was lifted, Paul was pleased to return to complete the bathroom and achieve ease of access, level floor showering, replace the vanity unit, plaster and paint.  

A new wheelchair access ramp was also built and repairs were made on the rear deck and hand rails. 

Christine loved her interactions with the Habitat home repair team, and said the new access to their whare is “awesome”.  

And this is only part of the journey for Christine, Percy and Gene – further improvements will include installation of a subsidised heat pump and widening of the front door for wheelchair access. 

Find out more about our Home Repair Programme www.habitatcentral.org.nz. Call us at 07 849 0284 or email homerepaircentral@habitat.org.nz