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Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Health, Housing |

Help needed to progress our log housing solution

Momentum on Ruapehu Whānau Transformation’s (RWT) Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu sustainable housing solution is rapidly building.

After a successful semester of testing at Canterbury University, the RWT team are now on the hunt for a couple of local, physically fit people who are willing to travel to Geraldine to learn log house building basics and then bring their knowledge home.

Inspired by a need to find environmental, sustainable housing solutions for the region, RWT’s Implementation Manager Erena Mikaere Most engaged with the University research team earlier this year.

“The rural Ruapehu area has many economic challenges including the lack of affordable, healthy comfortable housing while keeping families health and safety at the forefront of their thinking.

“The district’s un-insulated homes are contributing to health and socioeconomic issues so finding creative solutions is at the heart of Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu and the log house project was born.”

Following a research visit to the rohe in June, project partners Professor Susan Krumdieck and her final-year Canterbury University mechanical engineering students have spent the last six months fine-tuning their designs.

Now looking towards a prototype build at Ruapehu College next year, the first batch of trees have been felled near Geraldine but help is needed to peel the logs.

“It’s exciting to finally be entering the construction phase,” Ms Mikaere Most said.

“Forty-two Radiata pine logs have been generously donated by a local forester down south and while they’ve been mechanically de-barked, they need peeling ahead of transport to Ohākune.

“Taking a day to complete just one, this is pretty physical work but we we’re wondering whether there are any people who would be interested in travelling down South to do a little mahi.

“While you’d need to be physically fist and have good upper body strength it is a great opportunity to get involved as we work towards breaking ground on the build at the College in the New Year.”

Along with peeling the logs there’s also the opportunity to attend a preliminary log home building course starting at the University on 18 January.

As part of this training, the class will be involved in shaping some of the logs for test build of Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu prototype.

Anyone interested in getting involved and heading to Geraldine can call Danielle Vaughan on 021 811 670 or email RWT at

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Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Health, Housing |

Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu helping to keep whare safe

Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu helping to keep whare safe

The Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan (RWT) driven project, Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu, has found even more help for local residents wanting to keep their houses warm.

Whether living in Raetihi, Ohākune or Waiouru, RWT Implementation Manager Erena Mikaere-Most encouraged any residents worried about the warmth or safety of their property to give her team a call.

“The rural Ruapehu area has economic challenges including the lack of affordable, healthy comfortable housing.”

“The district’s un-insulated homes are contributing to health and socioeconomic issues and because of this we have been working with a number of agencies to help implement a number of solutions.

“At the heart of these are a Home Maintenance Programme along with assistance in helping whānau access up to 100 percent funding towards insulation.”

20151109 RWT v2 FINAL

While owner-occupiers are preferred, Ms Mikaere-Most was quick to point out this requirement was not essential in gaining assistance.

Neither was having a Community Services Card.

“We’ve been working directly with EECA and the Whanganui District Health Board in creating easier access for all families to gain insulation funding.

“Unbeknown to many, even if people are in rental properties, there can still be financial assistance available.

“It may not be installed straight away but the RWT team are here to support whānau right from the start of the application process through to the end of installation.”

The successful completion of a number of local home Building Warrant of Fitness assessments has resulted in 15 more places in the RWT Home Maintenance Programme becoming available.

“After our team has done a full safety and warmth assessment we then work on helping families develop a maintenance plan and as part of this we also explore accessing as much financial support for improvements as we can.

“All whānau need is a willingness to lead the co-ordination of any work required.

“A lack of funding or understanding of what home maintenance is shouldn’t be a barrier to having a warm, safe home for whānau.

“These Te Whare Āhuru Ki Ruapehu solutions have been specifically designed to help break down the barriers to grants and assistance.”

Regardless of situation, Mrs Mikere-Most believes everyone deserves a safe, warm home they can be proud of.

“The physical environment we surround ourselves in can really make a difference to how we feel, how we treat each other and what we do as whānau, and as a community.

“Good housing can make a huge difference to our lives.”

Anyone wishing to talk to the RWT team about the warmth or safety of their own or rental property can contact Danielle Vaughan on 021 811 670 or via email:

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Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Health, Housing |

RWT Housing Survey results released

RWT Housing Survey results released

A comprehensive housing survey is just one of the 23 solutions proposed by the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation [RWT] team two years ago.

To view the report click here RWT_Housing Report_landscape_2015

Just completed, of the 101 homes surveyed, 38 percent didn’t have any form of insulation, 76 percent used a wood burner as the main source of heating but of these 15 percent of families struggled with affording wood and having adequate dry storage available.

In gaining funding for audit, RWT Project Manager Erena Mikaere-Most also secured funds to trial a building Warrant of Fitness [WoF] check on ten properties.

Helped by Ruapehu District Council building inspector Bryan Jacobsen, Ruapehu Fire Safety Officer John ‘Luigi’ Hotter and electrician father-in-law, Lou Most the check was such a success it’s now being offered to another 50 families.

“The main thing the survey and test warrants affirmed for us is we need to work on having warm houses,” Ms Mikaere-Most said.

Pages from RWT_Housing%20Report_landscape_2015


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Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Health, Housing |

Curtain bank to help warm local homes

Curtain bank to help warm local homes

Any spare thermal drapes hanging around getting dusty? Ngāti Rangi’s Ruapehu Whānau Transformation [RWT] team have launched a local Curtain Bank and are now hoping to receive donations. RWT Project manager Erena Mikaere-Most said living in a warm, safe home was an aspiration, rather than the reality for many families in the rome. “Under the RWT Plan we’re developing and implementing a number of housing solutions but many, like retro-fitting insulation, can be expensive. Not only can installing curtains help to reduce power bills for whānau but in turn, it instantly improves the health of the home.”

Independent research has proven that hanging thermal drapes on single glazed windows can significantly reduce heat loss in a house by up to 60 percent. “It’s cheaper and with faster installation, they can have an immediate impact. The launch of a Curtain Bank is intended to compliment other efforts of cost effectively keeping a warm home, we know other places have curtain banks, and it just makes sense that our area have one too. It will be helpful to address any heating issues for the whānau who are opting into the new housing project we’re about to begin as well.”

The launch of a local bank proved timely for the congregation at Raetihi’s St Mary’s Church who’ve just made the first donation. A couple of weeks ago Reverend Elizabeth Penny said a banana box full of thermal drapes was found during a clean up. Rather than sending them to the Red Cross Curtain Bank in Palmerston North, she was delighted they’re now going to be used to help local families.

Donations of good condition, thermal-lined drapes can be dropped off at the RWT Tech Hub housed in the old Ruapehu College senior block on 43a Ruapehu Road in Ohākune or by calling Operations Manager Danielle Vaughan on 021 811 670 who is happy to help arrange collection. The team is also looking for expressions of interest from any one in the community who has a few spare hours to help as required with any sewing repairs and installation.

20150814 RWT curtain bank

Pictured: Ruapehu Whānau Transformation’s Operations Manager Danielle Vaughan happily receives the first donation of thermal backed drapes for their new Curtain Bank from St Mary’s Church’s Andrew Bate and Reverend Elizabeth Penny on Thursday.


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