Allison has lived in her Kāinga Ora property for 32 years. Like a lot of state housing in Hawkes Bay her home is more than 50 years old and like most homes of that age it needed some serious TLC.

“It was cold, often damp and the shower over the bathtub was a problem,” said Allison, after she fell and hit her head. “I used to be sick and at the doctors all the time. I kept getting the flu, I had asthma and bad anxiety. Now I am healthy and happy. If you had asked to take my photo a couple of years ago, I would have refused. Now look at me,” a beaming Allison says.

This house has lots of memories for me. My aunty and uncle lived here in the 70’s and then three days after they moved out, I moved in.

“When my Housing Support Manager Owen said that Kainga Ora wanted to do up my home, I wasn’t keen. My anxiety was out of control, and I didn’t think I would be able to move out while the renovations were being done. Owen kept asking me to consider it. He was very patient. Then one day something just clicked, and I called him and said do it now before I change my mind. Within a month, with lots of support, I had moved temporarily into another place.

I am so glad I did because it has changed my life. My home is warm now it is insulated. The windows are double-glazed, and I have a heat pump. I love my new ‘dream bathroom,” and there is still room for my collection of more than 100 dolls.

“Even though I got to choose the colours of the walls and the carpet, I could not believe how Kāinga Ora had completely transformed my home. I just cried my eyes out when I saw it. They were happy tears. They took the house back to the shell and made everything new; including me.”

We have a retrofit programme to extend the life of our older homes says East North Island Regional Director Naomi (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi). “The aim is to extend the lifespan of our suitable older houses by at least another 50 years. In the last two years, 55 older Hawkes Bay homes have been given a new lease of life and another 22 homes in Napier, Hastings, Flaxmere, and Havelock North are being worked on now.”

“In the next year we plan to retrofit more than 40 Hawkes Bay homes.”

“We support customers whose homes will be upgraded, to move out before the work gets underway. Retrofitting a home takes around four to five months and our customers live in other accommodation during this time. Our intention is always to move them back in when the retrofit work is completed.”

This is exactly what happened with Allison.

The retrofit programme is a win-win for all involved, says Naomi. “Our customers get a healthier, more energy efficient home. This may include full insulation (walls, ceiling, and floor), double glazing, improved airtightness, ventilation, and new heating. We may also upgrade bathrooms and kitchens, convert homes to a more open plan living layout, and make the home more accessible for those with mobility challenges.”

“Retrofitting older homes is a more sustainable option than demolishing and building new when there is no significant benefit to redevelopment. It adds value to the public housing stock, one of the Crown’s largest asset bases and it is supplying a guaranteed stream of work for our local contractors.”

“We currently have two main local companies who are doing most of the work in Hawkes Bay. A third local contractor is working at two sites, and we are looking to bring at least another local business into the project. The quantity of work is providing opportunities for more Hawkes Bay subcontractors and giving our main contractors confidence to recruit more staff.”

Nationally our Retrofit team renewed over 760 homes in the year to 30 June 2023, renovating old, damp and cold houses to provide modern homes for our customers — some of whom have lived in the homes for decades.  

Read more on our retrofit programme.

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Page updated: 12 September 2023