When Liz thinks about how far she has come in five years, tears begin to stream down her face.

Now, the former Kāinga Ora customer is a first-time home owner who runs a “pony party” and horse riding business called Magical Minis 2016(external link), named after the type of horses she owns.

Five years ago, however, her life was a lot different.

“It was only maybe just before I got the minis … I had no money left, there was hardly any food and I could only buy something like fish and chips for the kids for tea.

“I sat down with a piece of bread with some chips in it, on the bedroom floor by the wardrobe, and I cried.

“I’ll never forget that. And to know how far I’ve come from that one time, it’s huge. I’m so proud of myself and my husband for doing what we’ve done and getting here.”

Liz, now 49, moved into her first Kāinga Ora (then Housing New Zealand) home at age 19.

She was grateful for the support she received over the next 30 years raising her children in social housing but, like many Kiwis, she had dreamed of having a home she owned.

Liz feeds the horses at her new home. After years of work and 30 years in a Kainga Ora home, she has moved to her own lifestyle block in North Canterbury.

For 12 years, Liz, at the time a solo mum, had been on a disability allowance due to chronic asthma. She always made sure her bills were paid, but often this meant making sacrifices elsewhere.

Motivated to get herself into a better situation, she trained as a veterinary nurse – gaining skills she is able to put to use today.

She began working as a carer and gained qualifications in the area, working hard in a challenging field for several years.

Currently, Liz works in a night fill position at a busy retailer, but this is just one of two jobs she has – about five years ago she was gifted three miniature horses – along with free access for the horses to live on a friend’s land – allowing her to pursue another life-long dream.

“I started with absolutely nothing. I started by borrowing a couple minis from a friend … I think for my first pony party I even hired a float, so I didn’t make any money from it. I just wanted to get my name out there,” she said.

“I work seven days a week. There’s no time for stopping, especially when you have horses … yes, you get really tired but it’s an achievement at the end of it as well. I look back and think if I didn’t have my horses, we wouldn’t have this place.”

The hard work hasn’t stopped for Liz in her new home. Already she has transformed the garden and outdoor areas.

Despite the challenges of Alert Level 4 due to COVID-19, Liz and her husband had an offer accepted on their new four-bedroom home on a large lifestyle block – where the horses and other animals can now reside – in March this year. They were recently able to move in.

Kāinga Ora Area Manager Fraser said Liz’s situation was “an inspiration to all of us”.

“We provide homes for people in need for the duration of that need – be that a year, 10 years, or a lifetime – but we’re always really proud when we see someone like Liz achieving their dreams.”

While Liz and her husband had achieved home ownership simply through hard work and access to their Kiwisaver, Kāinga Ora also has a series of initiatives that can help others in similar situations into their first homes.

The First Home Grant provides eligible people with up to $10,000 towards their first home. A Kāinga Ora First Home Loan reduces the deposit required to have a loan approved.

Kāinga Whenua loans help Māori to build on land owned by multiple people, and Kāinga Ora can find out if someone who has owned a home in the past, but no longer does, is able to use their Kiwisaver to contribute to their next home deposit.

Additionally, Kiwibuild homes are located across New Zealand at more affordable prices for those who meet eligibility criteria, and Kāinga Ora’s Tenant Home Ownership programme allows customers in lower-demand areas across the country to purchase their Kāinga Ora home – including a gift of 10 per cent of the purchase price up to $20,000.

For more information about how Kāinga Ora can help you into your new home, visit our home ownership section.

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Page updated: 11 September 2020