Since September 2011 Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou has provided the opportunity for eligible home owners living between Potaka and Kaiti to have their whare insulated, and to date 301 homes on the Coast and 280 homes in Kaiti have been completed.
To be eligible for the free or low cost programme home owners must have a Community Services card. The scheme is part of the Warm Up New Zealand programme funded in this area by the Eastland Community Trust (ECT) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The Runanganui’s administration of the scheme has helped contribute to the Gisborne region having the highest uptake, over 25%, of the nationwide programme.
Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou Senior manager, Anne Huriwai says the Warm Up project has been able to deliver energy efficiency, health and sustainability benefits to many whanau. “Some of the responses we have had back from whanau are they have noticed a reduction in their power bills as their heating needs haven’t been as high. There has also been an improvement in the well-being of our whanau, especially our pakeke, our tamariki and those with respiratory problems.”
Other spin offs from the Warm Up project include local employment for the thirteen kaimahi – 7 on the East Coast and 6 in Gisborne, who have insulated under the floors, above the ceilings, and around the hot-water cupboards of homes within the rohe. And the graduation late last year of each employee with a qualification from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation and Tasman NZ with an Installers of Insulation Level 3 Certificate.
Israel Baker supervisors the East Coast based team, and says although the mahi can be quite difficult at times, there are many rewards to the job. “All our crew are related so you can be quite honest with them and we communicate well. It’s really good seeing the bros get a pay cheque and I think gaining the qualification is a good opportunity for those who want to take this mahi further and work outside the area."
"We do this job for our Aunties and Uncles, as the majority of homes are owned by our older generation. It’s rewarding seeing their reaction after their home is insulation. But I also think it’s also sad that not many young people own their own homes.”
The final tally of homes insulated under the programme is expected to reach 660 by the end of March when the programme wraps up. Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou Senior manager, Anne Huriwai says the continuation of the programme will be reliant on third party funding, and the organisation is looking into how to make this happen.