Housing repairs: From fizzing electrical sockets to a bright and healthy future

Our Māori Housing Network has supported Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective to complete 30 critical home repairs for whānau in the wider Rotorua, Tūrangi and Taupō region. 

Published: Rāapa, 18 Hakihea, 2019 | Wednesday, 18 December 2019

No more raining inside this whare

Rain streamed down the walls of Erena (Nellie) Heretaunga’s home, splashing into buckets in her lounge while the lights flickered and electrical sockets fizzed.

“The roof wasn’t even on my list of things to do. It was all the other things, the mould and the rotting everywhere but then I learned that was all from the roof,” says Nellie.

Te Puni Kōkiri, through its Māori Housing Network, has ensured that Nellie and her whānau no longer live in a dangerous, unhealthy home. The four-bedroom whare in Rotorua now has a new roof, full electrical rewiring and efficient ventilation.

An investment of $650,000 into the Te Arawa Whānau Ora Collective is seeing essential home repairs happening in homes like Nellie’s and others in the wider Rotorua, Tūrangi and Taupō area.

The Collective supports whānau to improve their housing situation, health and wellbeing- Healthy homes mean healthy whānau.

Popping lights and rotten floors

For years, Nellie thought the rain was coming in through the chimney but when an essential home repairs assessment was done on her house, the extent of damage to not only the roof was confirmed but other problems too.    

“The light bulbs and everything were popping. The power points blew, so they rewired everything when they came in. They put in new light switches, power points and the light bulb thingies that they have these days. They sealed up the toilet… the windows were falling out so they screwed them back in”.

Nellie also explained that every time someone took a shower, water would stream into the neighbouring bedroom. The floor and walls between the rooms were completely rotten leaving a gaping hole leading to the ground outside.  

Builders fixed this and other significant leak damage throughout the house. They also took out a heavy, ranch slider that had no rollers and replaced it with a dry wall. An old chip heater was removed from the kitchen due to that method of heating and cooking becoming illegal in 2018 because of its impact on air quality.

Safer and healthier for the long run   

Since all the work has been done, Nellie has certainly noticed a difference for her and her six whānau members in the whare.  

“It’s not raining inside! It’s warmer. It’s not as draughty. It’s not dripping. And my daughter’s son, I wouldn’t say his asthma’s gone but it’s a lot better”.

Now that everyone is healthy and safe and the whare is in good condition, the trick is keeping it that way. The Heretaunga whānau will attend a home maintenance workshop to understand moisture management, ventilation and insulation as well as practical skills such as how to change washers to prevent leaking taps.

The workshops help whānau save money on repairs and maintenance and ensure their homes remain warm, dry and in good structural order. That way the family whare is a safe and healthy place for whānau and mokopuna to live for many years to come.