Moving into a new, four-bedroom home was the best Christmas present that Housing New Zealand tenant Pauline Otunuku and her family could have hoped for. But the move was about more than the four walls and a roof under over their heads – the family was also welcomed into the vibrant Mount Albert community. A welcome event, held in February, helped Pauline and her family settle in and meet their new neighbours.
"It was good to talk to one another and know my neighbours’ names. It made me feel part of something," Pauline says. "This home is helping us to live our lives. My kids are settled and I love it here. It’s great; I like everything about this house."
Pauline’s home is part of a new 18-home Housing New Zealand development in Jennings Street and Jersey Avenue, Mount Albert. The redevelopment replaced eight 1940s houses on a 3,649 square metre site with 18 architect-designed, warm, healthy homes that feature double-glazing, insulation, thermal quality curtains, and modern materials and fittings.
The project won a 2018 New Zealand Institute of Architects award in the Housing Multi Unit category for its "ingenious" delivery and "efficient, economical and textured" design.
When Pauline and her five children found out about their new home just before Christmas, they were excited and relieved.
"I said to the kids it’s going to be a good Christmas for us. The kids couldn’t talk about anything else. They’d say: ‘Oh Mum, we don’t want anything for Christmas. We’ve got a new house!’"
Walking through the front door of their new home was a special moment for the family.
"I was like, yes, this is my home," Pauline says. "We’re so happy that we’ve got a new house and that it’s a bigger one for us. My kids now have their own rooms and we all have more space."
The home is also within walking distance of the Mount Albert town centre and train station, and close to supermarkets, schools, walking paths and public transport.
"We are all so excited and so happy to be a part of this community."