Hard work pays off for young family
9 March 2023
Buying your first home is an accomplishment in itself, but it’s even more remarkable when you’re a young couple who came to New Zealand as refugees.
That’s the reality for Jhaga and Khina, who recently moved out of their Kāinga Ora home after buying a home of their own – which happens to be on the very same street.
The couple came to New Zealand from Nepal as refugees in 2010. Despite knowing of each other while living in Nepal, it wasn’t until the pair coincidentally arrived in New Zealand at similar times in 2010 and spent five weeks at the Mangere Refugee Centre together that they really got to know each other. The pair then kept in touch and eventually moved in together in early 2011, living with Jhaga’s family in Christchurch.
The only complaint they had during this time was the temperamental Kiwi weather.
“We’re still not used to having to pack four seasons worth of clothes when we leave the house,” Jhaga jokes.
After living happily with Jhaga’s family for a few years, when their first child Prajna was born in 2015, it was clear the family needed a space of their own. In 2018 they were offered a Kāinga Ora home in Redwood, Christchuch where they quickly connected with others in the tight-knit, friendly community.
Prajna soon started at the local kindergarten round the corner – and now goes to the local primary school. A couple of years later, the couple welcomed their second child, Prajal, who will start at the local kindy this year too.
“Having our own space that enabled us to grow our family was life-changing for us and being able to integrate ourselves into a welcoming neighbourhood helped us feel more settled in our new country,” Khina says.
“We just love this street and neighbourhood. We love the people here and have such kind neighbours who went out of their way to make us feel welcome when we first moved in,” says Khina.
While living in their Kāinga Ora home, Jhaga and Khina were focussed on their dream of one day owning their own home – and the couple both worked hard and made sacrifices to help make it happen.
The pair both work full-time jobs, with Khina working during the day, and Jhaga working at nights and weekends. While it’s challenging, Jhaga says this allows one of them always be around for the kids.
“Monday is our only guaranteed day together depending on how rosters fall for the week. It’s hard, but it’s been worth it knowing we would eventually have our own slice of Kiwi paradise,” he says.
After years of hard work and savvy saving, when the opportunity to purchase a property just a few doors down from their Kāinga Ora home came up, they jumped at the chance to secure their very first home.
“We found out that friends who lived down on our street were planning to sell their home and relocate overseas, and the timing was perfect as we had finally saved enough and were about to start looking for a home of our own. It was a no-brainer for us as we could stay in a neighbourhood that we loved, so we pushed ahead and got the purchase over the line,” Jhaga says.
Now settled in their first home, the family look back down the street to their former Kāinga Ora home with fond memories.
“We’re so grateful for the stable base that home provided us. It meant we could grow as a family; discover a neighbourhood that we adore and save hard to eventually buy our first home,” says Khina.
Page updated: 9 March 2023