Family McLean, Tirau
Assisted Home Ownership Programme – since April 2015
“It’s a weight of my mind”
After years of struggling, single Tirau parent Terry McLean is looking forward to his family’s future, beginning with a warm winter in a home built by Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
The past five years have been difficult for Terry and his children Jeremy (9) and Jessica (8), and step-children Jennifer (17) and Jordan (15). Their mother and Terry’s wife Michelle passed away in 2011 after a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia.
It was her wish that Terry and children move closer to his extended family in Tirau. They found a house to rent, but it’s been damp, cramped, cold and without working fireplaces. It’s also for sale.
The family of five are now part of the Habitat assisted home ownership programme, and will soon move in to a new basic four-bedroom home. It was built at the University of Waikato by volunteers during orientation week and will be transported to its final spot in Tirau in April.
“Now we can actually stay in one place and we can start planning – I can put money aside and not worry about whether we’re going to have to move. It’s a weight off my mind – it’s going to be ours,” he said.
Family Fisk, Christchurch
Moved in: July 2014Eighteen months living in a shed are finally over for Karl and Sari Fisk and their children. The Christchurch couple was handed the keys to the brand new Kaiapoi home they helped build themselves. The family is one of 21 in Canterbury to receive a house courtesy of Habitat for Humanity’s Hand-up Christchurch project. Sari Fisk said the family was just managing to pay the rent on their former Hoon Hay home. When the rent increased by $40 a week after the 2011 earthquake, it was just too much, despite both she and Karl working full-time, she said. The family made the decision to move into a 15 square metre shed out the back of a relative’s Linwood house. Everything was squeezed into the shed. It was partitioned into three areas, two bedrooms and a living space. There was just enough room for their beds and they used the bathroom in the relative’s home. Sari and Karl looked forward to a bit of privacy. In the shed, there was no such thing as a “sleep in”, Sari said. “We don’t have a doorway so when the kids get up and put the television on, everyone is up,” she said. The Fisks were selected from 54 applicants after an HFH information evening. They will pay 30 per cent of their combined income to HFH for 10 years, then the house will be theirs.
Family Harmer, Wellington
A Brush With Kindness project – 2014
“I can now sleep at night without worrying about the house and the future”
Robert and his son Ashton have been living with the problems caused by sub-standard plumbing for several years, having to boil hot water to use for washing and doing clothes washing by hand. Life has been difficult for them following the death of Robert’s wife from cancer a few days short of Ashton’s fifth birthday. Robert has also recently undergone cancer treatment and is still dealing with the effects of chemotherapy.
Several local contractors came on board and provided their services at a reduced or cost price. Robert will repay the cost of the project to Habitat at an affordable level so that the funds can be used to help other families. To help with repayments, a downstairs space has been spruced up ready to rent out. Finally, the inside of the house will receive a make-over with donated paint a team of 8 willing volunteers. Robert is overwhelmed with what has been done and says he feels like a different man who can now sleep at night without worrying about the house and their future.
Family Talamaivao, Porirua
A Brush With Kindness project – 2014Nina and Paul and their five children have lived in their family home for many years. Nina’s father made some improvements to the house but sadly passed away before completing the work. As there were serious problems with leaks, damp and mould, they did as much as they could afford; adding insulation, heap pump, DVS and carpet. Unfortunately the person they hired for the bathroom renovations didn’t do a good job and they were left with a loose shower unit, gaps in the gib, an undersized toilet and an unplumbed vanity. The shower door eventually fell off and smashed over their daughter. Just after their new baby was born and thanks to the support of a private donor, Habitat was able to renovate the bathroom, re-gib the areas of black mould, remove the separate leaky toilet and open the space to increase the size of the children’s bedroom. Habitat also installed a partition to divide the bedroom for the boys and girls, added a gate to keep the little ones away from the busy road and fix some rotten exterior weatherboards. Also the interior of the house was repainted. The family is repaying the cost of the project to Habitat at an affordable level so that the funds can be used to assist more families in housing need. They are so delighted and grateful, that they are thinking of ways to “pay it forward” by way of service to their community.
Family Reihana – Te Pairi, Gisborne
Moved in: May 2014
William Reihana and Tahlia Te Pairi and their six children are the 11th family in Gisborne to move into a Habitat for Humanity house. The house means a lot to the family who has been living in an old, damp rental home with rotten window frames, affecting the family’s health.
“Year round our children were sick, one after the other catches the flu.” Mother Tahlia said. “In winter we moved our beds into the lounge every day, because this is the only warm space in the house. Moving into this brand new home means less sickness, less doctor visits and less school absences, basically a better future.”
Family Madden, Stratford
Moved in: 2008 – looks back 6 years later (2014)
“A registered nurse thanks to the stability of our home”
In 2008 family Madden’s dream came true when they moved into their Habitat home. Six years on mother Nicola is now a registered nurse. She says this would not have been achieved in such a short time without the stability that having her own home has given her and her girls. Her girls have been a great support for her and have been on the journey with her every step of the way. She has been able to show them what perseverance and hard work can achieve with the love and support given to her by her family and friends. She says Habitat for Humanity remains part of her heart and thank you does not even begin to describe the feelings she has in helping her to get this far.
Family Uaea, Rotorua
New home in 2012
“A place where we can grow and develop our family”
Family Uaea moved in to their home in 2012. Two years later they look back. “Through circumstances we moved in with family; it was five adults and five children in a three-bedroom house. It was an old, cold state home. If one of us got sick, it would go around. The environment aggravated the children’s eczema and worsened my husband’s asthma. We appreciated the opportunity to live in with the family, but life was stressful.
The feeling after we moved into our Habitat home was overwhelming. Health wise it’s been a blessing: no more asthma, and eczema is nearly gone. The children are much happier. They can express themselves and they are able to grow and develop in their own way. They can bring friends home, we invite ours. We put up our own pictures, we have a home.
One daughter is finishing her degree, another just completed hers. My husband is in his second year of social work degree and I have completed mine. The new house played a major role in these achievements. It was always difficult to study as there was no private space where we could focus on our work.
The house has given us shelter, but most of all stability, a place where we can grow and develop our family. We are so thankful.”
Family Parata, New Plymouth
Moved in: 2012
“A chance to grow as a family”
As a mother, giving your children a stable environment is all one hopes for. This however is not a reality all of us can afford. When I first applied to Habitat I never actually thought I would have any chance of getting it, It seemed like a distant wish rather than a reality. When I was told I was the recipient of the next Habitat house I was extremely overwhelmed and excited.
As the building process began, it was amazing to see a piece of land transform so dramatically. “Even though the speed of the build was amazing, what amazed me more was selfless work provided by the volunteers. Day after day I would turn up and day after day these men would be there working hard, in a world where nothing comes for free anymore, it was refreshing to see this amount of generosity.”
As the moving day comes closer the reality of this build is starting to sink in. Habitat for Humanity has given me and my son a chance to grow as a family; in a house we can call our own. A true hand up, we will never forget.
Family Wilson, Waitara
Moved in: 2013
“No more moving around, a stable place”
Arohanui Wilson comments on her home: “We started our journey in the middle of 2013 and what an awesome ride that has been! We are truly blessed to have had such a great opportunity to build our very own home…Habitat has given us a hand up in so many ways! We were forever moving houses because of high rent, too cold, damp or too expensive with gas heating. With our daughter having a liver condition we were always concerned about our living situations. Habitat for Humanity has given us the security of a warm, safe, dry and beautiful home, which we will be forever grateful for.
Words cannot express the gratitude we have as a whanau for this taonga! So many thank you to give to so many people, and we don’t want to miss anyone out, so please take our humble appreciation to ALL who are involved in our journey. Thank you, Ka mau te wehi. Tihei mauri ora!!
Family Dornan, Hamilton
Moved in: 2012
“The home has given us stability, peace of mind”
Family Dornan moved into their Habitat home in 2012. Two years later they look back.
“My nephew and his family had nowhere to live, so they moved in with us. We had a three bedroom home and there were thirteen of us. It was very cramped. We’ve moved seven times in twenty years. Different things kept us on the move: rent increases, sales by owners, unhealthy homes or the need for more space.
Moving into our Habitat home has given us stability and peace of mind. Our children can always come back to their home and know there will always be someone there. We are not constantly moving around. It just means peace.
We are on the ladder to home ownership. We can plan for the future. We can create our own home and leave a place for our children and grandchildren in the future.”
Family Munroe, Porirua
Moved in: 2008 – looks back 7 years later
Finance completed and studying towards a degree
Mother of six, Donna Munroe tells how having a secure place to call home has changed their lives: “Owning our home has been really awesome. Before going to Habitat, we lived in Housing NZ properties all our lives. We were eager to own our own home but it was always out of reach. We were thrilled with the opportunity to own our own home.
It is amazing what we have been able to achieve since moving in. I went back to study and graduated with a Bachelor in Business Degree and am now working towards a Masters in Professional Accounting. Although this has been very challenging for me, having supportive family, friends and a secure home has helped me along this journey. My husband has had a change of career as well and is now an engineering tutor at Weltec, teaching Trades Academy and inmates at Rimutaka Prison, which he finds rewarding.
Our children have a brighter future ahead of them, knowing they have a strong foundation and a place to call home. Going back to the bank this time was really exciting, knowing we would be approved finance for the house we helped build at an amount we could afford. We will be forever grateful to Habitat and all the volunteers who came from near and far to help us on our build. Aroha Mai Aroha Atu (Love toward us, Love going out from us)