“I am proud of my home…I feel like I have won Lotto,” she says. “When my sons walked in [for the first time after the repairs] they couldn’t believe it. We all thought it was beautiful, and absolutely wonderful,” she says. 

Her good friend and neighbour Bruce agrees. “It’s b***dy good. It’s hard to describe really,” he says. 

Their one-bedroom homes are among eight units at the Nayland Road complex in Nelson that have recently undergone significant repair and upgrade work under the Kāinga Ora retrofit programme.  

The homes have been freshly painted inside and out and new carpet and vinyl laid. New double glazing, insulation and heatpumps have been installed to make them warmer and drier.  

The homes have new bathrooms and kitchens and their layout has been changed so they now have an open-plan living space. Solar panels have also been added to their roofs as part of the Kāinga Ora solar panel trial, which aims to reduce customers’ power bills. 

Bruce outside his newly refurbished Kāinga Ora home

Bruce, a Nayland Road resident for 13 years who lives with his German Blue rescue cat Rosie, says he has noticed a huge difference in the warmth of his home – and his power bills. “Before I had a panel heater over the old fire place and it scoffed through the power. It’s a lot warmer with the heat pump now,” he says. 

Tuku, who has lived in her home for the past 18 years, says she loves her new kitchen, particularly the oven, which she has been using to bake her favourite fruit cake. She is also appreciating her home’s spaciousness now that it is open-plan and other improvements have been made, such as making the bathroom bigger by combining it with the laundry. “There is so much more room, even in the shower!” 

The Nayland Road units were transferred from Nelson City Council to Kāinga Ora ownership in 2021. Work is underway on the remaining 10 units in the complex and is expected to be completed in November this year. 

Julia Campbell, Nelson Marlborough and West Coast Regional Director, says the retrofit programme aims to improve older Kāinga Ora homes by making them warmer, drier and healthier. There are plans to complete retrofit work on around 70-100 Kāinga Ora homes across the Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast region during the current financial year, with 12 already completed. 

“It’s working with what we have, rather than creating something new. There’s nothing like seeing the look on our customers’ faces when they walk into their newly refurbished homes for the first time,” she says. 

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Page updated: 23 September 2022