Franklin County News
Home is where the heart is
During the coming months, Stuff and our sponsors will build a warm, dry, ecofriendly and low-cost home with the help of the Ara Education Charitable Trust.
There’s nothing glamorous about this gravel yard down a side road near Auckland Airport. The prefab ‘‘offices’’ until recently housed a paintball party business and the surrounding area has trucks rumbling by and planes flying low overhead.
But it’s at this donated building site that derelict, abandoned houses are transformed into warm and liveable ‘‘new’’ homes again – by lead builder William Malakai and other building tutors and their crew of untrained teenagers, who over a year or two, are upskilled and equipped for apprenticeships that could deliver them a lifelong career.
The remarkable Ara Education Charitable Trust (AECT) takes students from five of Auckland’s lowest-decile high schools and teaches them rudimentary building, plastering, plumbing and other small-project skills.
Since its inception six years ago, dozens of teenagers have gone on to trades training and apprenticeships or jobs in the building industry.
They learn life skills alongside the practical ones and the homes they create are sold to pay for the next tranche of students.
It’s here that Stuff, AECT and our network of corporate sponsors will build the trust’s first Forever House – a low-cost, sustainable home that will showcase sustainability projects anyone can try at home, as part of our Forever Project climate change mission.
During the next 10 months we will transform an old farmhouse donated by Auckland Airport – fix it, furnish it simply and sustainably and then auction it off to one lucky new owner.
All proceeds of that sale will go back to AECT.
Each week Stuff will follow the development of the house in stories and videos, showing our audiences sustainable tips and tricks for their own homes and explaining some of the concepts of sustainable housing that anyone can adopt.
We’ll also follow the stories of our builders and their families, and together with our sponsorship partners, we will raise as much money as possible for AECT.
Forever House content will feature on stuff.co.nz every week and also on our Forever Project site.
■ Go to stuff.co.nz/ environment/climate-news.