The recent Government announcement of changes to the scheme, mean it will be a good option for more of our people to own their first home, says Theo, Kāinga Ora Stakeholder Relationship Manager. “The couple started looking to buy a home when they were expecting their second child. They were in KiwiSaver and were eligible for Kāinga Ora’s First Home Loan and First Home Grant.”

“After getting pre-approval for a small bank loan they started looking for something to buy. They looked at a couple of homes in Gisborne but the only things in their price bracket needed a lot of work. One home they looked at was tiny and cold with holes in the roof. They couldn’t really afford to buy the house, let alone get the holes fixed. This a situation many of our people find themselves in,” says Theo.

“They were living about 25 minutes out of Gisborne.  Down the road they saw a paddock being subdivided and homes transported onto the sections. One home was already taken, but after speaking with the developers they found out that the other one was available.  The house was modern, with 3 bedrooms, a big deck and room for a large vegetable garden. Better still it was close to both of the couple’s marae.”

“After struggling for so long to find some where suitable to bring up their family, they were determined to buy this house. Luckily in Tairāwhiti there are lots of professionals ready to help people navigate their first home purchase.  They looked into what other assistance would be available and found out about the First Home Partner scheme. That's when I met them,” adds Theo.

“People who want to get into their first home need to start reaching out for information and support. Working with local Kāinga Ora staff, a mortgage broker, real estate agents and a lawyer all helped the couple make their dream a reality.”

First Home Partner is a shared home ownership scheme. It helps bridge the gap for first home buyers whose deposit and home loan aren’t quite enough to purchase a property.  Eligible whānau purchase a home together with Kāinga Ora, to help overcome the deposit barrier. The first home buyer is the majority homeowner and occupier, but Kāinga Ora will own a share in the home that the home buyer will need to buy out over time to achieve full ownership.

Kāinga Ora will contribute a maximum of 25% or $200,000 – whichever is lower - towards a home purchase. Up until recently homes needed to be newly built or purchased off the plan.

For the young Tairāwhiti couple this was the sticking point. The relocated home was placed onto new piles, says Theo. “It had new cladding, wiring, septic tank and plumbing, a new roof, insulation and flooring. It was unlikely to need any maintenance for many years. A great outcome for the young couple.”

As from 14 August 2023, eligible applicants can now purchase existing homes, in addition to new builds, through the scheme and the household income cap has increased from $130,000 to $150,000.

We know many people in Tairāwhiti aspire to own their own home, adds Theo. “I encourage everyone to see if they are eligible for financial assistance through Kāinga Ora home ownership products. Using the First Home Partner scheme made all the difference to this young couple and can for many others.”

Read more about our Home Ownership products.

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Page updated: 7 September 2023