Kia ora, I am the Tō Kainga Whare Manager for Tai Tokerau. I have been with Habitat now for two years, starting out as a coordinator. When I started, it was a pilot programme, over time It has evolved into something unique, which works for the local community.
We receive referrals from Manawa Ora, a Healthy Homes Initiatives Provider. All our work is referred through them, mainly kids sick with respiratory illnesses. We can provide blankets, beds, draught stopping and insulation in homes. Where I think Habitat shines is that each house has an allocated amount of money, focused on making the home a warm, dry and healthy space.
The issues I see extend far beyond the home though. There are all these social issues, which we come across daily.
One repair that really resonated with me is a whānau living out Ōakura on the east coast. 12 family members were living in a two-bedroom house. It was in a bad state of disrepair.
All the windows were broken to some degree. All the heat was going through the windows and the front and back doors were coming off the hinges and broken. After a comprehensive assessment, we were able to offer them beds, blankets, home insulation, and get a heat pump installed as well as make sure the whole house was sealed.
Being present in a home, doing minor repairs, and providing education to whānau about the maintenance of the home, has been very beneficial. I have the materials and tools to make change.
At Habitat we are an organisation that turn up and are there to genuinely help. We’re working with people on the low socio-economic scale, who can become disillusioned by the system.
However, we are there, for four or five hours hanging out with the family. We often share kai, and a cup of tea and they share their whakaaro with us. It’s about being there, helping out and staying true to our word. That’s important.
– Cameron, Tō Kainga Whare Manager for Tai Tokerau