Home ownership seemed like an almost impossible dream for Kelly-Jo and Albert Kiripatea of Maraenui, but that dream has turned into a reality, with the best Christmas present being built, and that's a brand new home for them and their family.
The Kiripatea family: Kelly-Jo and her husband Albert, along with their six children, a hard-working family who will be moving into their brand new house in just a matter of weeks.
Kelly-Jo Kiripatea says, “It was still a dream until we actually saw parts of the house going up and now it's become a reality and we're so excited!”
They will be moving out of their old three bedroom rental, away from the dampness and cold, into a modern, four bedroom family home that is safe and warm right in Maraenui.
Himiona Hunia says, "We made this playhouse especially for the children to play in, so that would be able to have great memories and remember all the special times."
The home is built through Habitat for Humanity's home ownership programme, where families invest 500 hours towards building their own home and other builds, then they make regular payments through a rent-to-buy model.
“I think we had around 60 families apply for this and Kelly and Albert were selected from that,” says Nathan Collins.
Typically it takes six weeks to build a house of this size, and it's a team effort to get the task done, with whānau and volunteers chipping in to get as much done by Christmas as possible.
Kelly-Jo Kiripatea says, “It's security; our own bit of land for our little whānau.”
So for this family, it's 'see you later' to 16 years of renting and 'hello' to home ownership.