One Napier whanau’s dream of securing a homestead for future generations is now a reality, following a nine-year progressive home ownership partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Malcolm (54) and Roberta Ratima (50) were selected for Habitat’s progressive home ownership in 2009 with their three children and one mokopuna. Time has seen their children grow up and move on, and they are now pleased to be able to own their home outright, shared now with two grandchildren, aged 11 and 14.

“It’s great having an extended family, and we would love our children and mokopuna in the future to come home to our family homestead that they could call home forever,” Roberta said.

At the time their home was built, over 100 people volunteered to help – Malcolm saying he was happy to get involved with building, while Roberta joined the team taking care of painting the house.

As a part of Habitat’s programme, families invest 500 hours of their time to build their own home or those of others as ‘sweat equity’, before entering a five-year rental phase. They make affordable rent payments based on their family income, which go towards an eventual deposit. The Ratima whanau progressed to the purchasing phase in 2014 and were able to seek independent finance to buy their home outright from Habitat.

With the progressive home ownership programme, families have the flexibility to pay more than minimum house payments. Habitat for Humanity Central North Island General Manager Nic Greene said the Ratima family had managed that “exceptionally well.”

Malcom has been working for a local coolstore and orchard company for over 10 years and Roberta used to work for Port of Napier.

With both Roberta and Malcolm working at that time, they always managed to pay the minimum or more than what was required from them. Their dedication and commitment to own their home has made them a benchmark for other Habitat families,” Nic said.

Roberta said they’d tried many times to save a deposit but what money they had left over they chose to spend on their children’s needs – and they wouldn’t have achieved home ownership without Habitat’s help.

Going through the progressive home ownership journey has given them first-hand experience of the sense of belonging and stability owning a house brings – and they are now inspired to help as many families they can who need a decent place to live. “Our family would love to help other families in need to becoming homeowners as well,” Roberta said.

Their dream of becoming homeowners is now a reality having since settled with Habitat for Humanity.