Hi my name is Tau, this is our story. Kelly and our twins and me living here together. This is our place, our home, here in Takanini. Before we came here we were living in Christchurch for 20 years and then we moved back to Auckland in 2006. We were always renting. When we moved from Christchurch the twins were three years old. They are 13 years old now. When we first arrived, we stayed with my sister for some months and lived in Drury and then Flatbush.
Others in my family, like my brother, own their own house, so we had talked about owning our own house and we wanted to do that. We always rented but had this dream of owning our own house. Financially we couldn’t do it. We didn’t have enough money, so we just rented. We still had the dream. We knew if we were going to make it happen we needed to save. Between us we saved hard. We saved hard to get that deposit together. With prices like they are in Auckland it was hard.
I was the main worker. I am a drug and alcohol councillor with the Waitemata District Health Board. We made an agreement that Kelly would look after the kids and I would be the main breadwinner.
It was always a dream, we used to say to each other – ‘man wouldn’t it be nice to have our own house?’.
But we would have had to get a big deposit together. We even talked about getting some help from within the family for a deposit, but it never came together. So we just rented.
Kelly says: I kind of did jobs wherever I could, jobs that allowed me to take the kids with me. I looked at doing some study, but ended up going into work instead.
Tau says: “the way I found the Housing Foundation was I saw this add on Trademe for an affordable house at about $327,000 for a brand new house, and I thought to myself ‘that can’t be right!’. It seemed too cheap. Because I had been checking out properties on the internet – it was sort of a way of keeping the dream alive for us. I thought this sounds like an awesome deal I have got to go for this. I don’t think Kelly really realised what I was doing at the time.
I did some research on the Housing Foundation and I saw this article about a family standing with their baby in front of their new houses. That was when I realised it was for real. I did the paperwork and applied. A while later, I got a call saying, ‘you’ve been approved’. Whoa that was awesome.
Kelly says: “for me it didn’t really sink in that this was real until I went to the first meeting and really I didn’t truly believe it until I saw the house was being built and we could come here and see it. That whole process was awesome, it was easy. We were one of the first families –they sent us out a street plan and house plans and this was all field and grass in those days we used to park up out there and sit on the grass – there were no other houses here – there was nothing else.
That year was a real blur for me because I was having some major issues with my health at that time.
The ease of the process surprised me. We did all the paper work, and next thing you know we had moved in. That was 2013. It is awesome to have our own place. We have been really blessed with the people we have dealt with through the whole process the HF staff, the lawyers, even the bank.”
Tau says: “For me, the motivation, it was the security for my family and providing a house for my family. This time we have had here has been the happiest we have ever had as a family. I thought it would be good, but I never thought it would be this good. Because I have never owned a house I didn’t know what it was going to be like, the stability for my family.
Before the house was built, we used to park up out here with fish and chips and sit on our grass. I never thought it would be this good. I feel serenity and gratitude – I know that we never would have achieved this without the Housing Foundation.
Kelly says: “our next door neighbours got in, because another family pulled out – that family got some bad advice from their lawyer who didn’t understand shared equity and told them not to do it. That family really regrets their decision because they missed out.
Tau says about the process: “Bang, bang, bang, next thing we knew we were moving into our new house. We knew where we were going, we kept up with the paperwork, and the process for us was easy because I knew from my work at the DHB that you need to keep the paperwork in order to keep things working.
The beauty of having this place and having taken ownership of it has been that we have also been able to use that to help our mother who has been living on her land in the Bay of Plenty. She had been living for a long time in a caravan and now we have been able to use the equity we have in this place to arrange the finance to build her a small safe, dry, home on her land. The stability of having a home has also provided us with the security we wanted and after years of being together, we got married.
We love living here, we know so many of the residents in this area and because so many of the families here have a common bond through the Housing Foundation the community here is awesome we all look out for each other.
You guys at the Housing Foundation are huge, so supportive, a number you could ring, and the people you have chosen and recommended for us to work with are superb. We saw a family driving around here one day and they were checking the neighbourhood out and we invited them in and told them our story. We said to them whatever you do, go for it or otherwise you might miss out. The years we have lived here our health is better, especially for Kelly, a really big improvement.
Kelly says: “My kids got strep throat in the last place we were, the day before we moved out of our old house, we realised that one of the big problems was the amount of dampness and mould that there was there. Since we have been living here my health has just been better, my health and the health of my kids.
Tau sums up: “We are the evidence this works, we will share our story with anyone who wants to listen.”