Kāinga Ora is redeveloping four sites in Albertson Ave which will see 11 existing houses, nearing the end of their economic life, replaced with 20 new, warm and dry homes for whānau in need.

The contractor responsible for site clearance works, Right Hire, has undertaken an extensive deconstruction process on the existing homes which involves breaking down building materials for reuse and recycling.

What is unique about this process is the fact the team are offering the materials to anyone who can make use of them and asking for a small koha in return, with these donations directly benefitting the Port Chalmers community.

Karl from Warren Woodturners with a piece of furniture crafted from the wood from the deconstructed homes

Right Hire Director Craig Hemopo says while the deconstruction process takes more time to complete than a standard removal process, it’s worth the extra work to prevent the material ending up in landfill.

“We manually sort materials like timber and lead for reuse, and this also removes the need for expensive, noisy and heavy machinery like diggers.

“We invited the neighbourhood to stop by whenever they liked to collect materials they had a need for. One great example is the lead from the older homes being snapped up by local resident Dave (pictured above), who has repurposed it to create high quality sinkers for local Port Chalmers fishermen.

Some of the timber from the existing homes has also been transported down to Christchurch and is being used to make around 100 pieces of furniture.

“We’ve donated some of the koha received from the materials to the local Port Chalmers Preschool, Kindergarten and Primary School. The school tell me they’re putting it towards new PE gear and funding next year’s school camp,” Craig says.

Otago Southland Regional Director Kerrie Young says Port Chalmers is a tight-knit community, with a high recycling rate already and it’s great to see they’ve responded so well to Right Hire’s generosity.

“Craig and his team have done an incredible job salvaging as much of the existing homes as possible and thanks to the community’s readiness to make use of the materials, we’ve been able to contribute to the education of their tamariki.

“We’re really looking forward to delivering the new homes in Port Chalmers and customers moving in next year,” Kerrie says.

The Albertson Ave sites have now been cleared, ready for construction to commence in the New Year, with the first of the new homes scheduled for completion in the second half of 2024.

One of the Albertson Ave sites that’s been cleared for new homes to be built.