New Zealand -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
IN MANY WAYS NEW ZEALAND IS blessed. With its majestic mountains, forests, lakes, beaches and pastures, New Zealand proudly promotes its “clean, green” image. A relatively young country, New Zealand has a small population and a liberal, tolerant and seemingly egalitarian society.
However, not everyone has the same opportunities. Forty years ago, New Zealand was one of the best-housed nations in the world, with one dwelling for every four persons. Today, while many low-income and even middle-income families might still want to build or buy their own homes, rapidly rising house prices, high household debt and the inability to save a deposit are closing the ownership door for them.
A study released in January 2007 by Demographia International, ranked New Zealand as one of the world’s most expensive places to live. Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, was ranked 21st in a list of the world’s 159 cities surveyed. In the past year, the prices of houses increased about 10 per cent, significantly more than the rise in people’s incomes.
There are people in New Zealand who live in overcrowded conditions with significant social and health related ill-effects. Many pay a large proportion of their income in rent, often 40 per cent or more.
Although the New Zealand government provides a limited amount of rental housing for low-income families, the waiting list is long: as at 30th November 2006, there were more than 11,000 applicants.
For financial reasons, families may choose to live in garages or other substandard accommodation, or to squeeze into properties designed to accommodate only a few people.
Habitat for Humanity New Zealand built its first home in 1993 in Pukekohe, a small rural town just south of Auckland in the North Island. It has grown into one of the most innovative national programs in the Asia-Pacific region.
HFH New Zealand works through a network of 16 urban and rural affiliates. Nearly two thirds of partner families are of Maori or Pacific Island origin.
A typical Habitat house in New Zealand is 100 sq. m., constructed with timber framing, fibrous cement cladding and iron roof, which are the most suitable and economical building materials. The average build time is three to six months.
HFH New Zealand has an active program of hosting international volunteer builds, hosting an average of 10 teams per year, mainly from the USA. It also sends an average of six Global Village teams overseas for builds in the Asia-Pacific region.
• During 2006, 24 families received a “hands up” through new houses built by HFH New Zealand.
• Three affiliates in the Auckland region amalgamated in 2006 for benefits of improved resources, efficiencies and economies of scale. Other North island affiliates are also be amalgamated.
• From July 2006 to March 2007, 12 teams of New Zealand volunteers participated on builds, including tsunami recovery projects, in countries such as Fiji, India, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
• A team of 23 New Zealanders volunteered at the 2006 Jimmy Carter Work Project in Lonavala, India.
Population: 4.12 million (July 2007 est.)
Area: 268,680 sq. km.
Ethnic groups: European 69.8%, Maori 7.9%, Asian 5.7%, Pacific islander 4.4%, other 0.5%, mixed 7.8%, unspecified 3.8% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)
Religions: Anglican 14.9%, Roman Catholic 12.4%, Presbyterian 10.9%, Methodist 2.9%, Pentecostal 1.7%, Baptist 1.3%, other Christian 9.4%, others 3.3%, unspecified 17.2%, none 26% (2001 census)
Updated June 2007