Canadian volunteers have descended on Tauranga, and are helping to build homes for those who could otherwise not afford to buy a house.

The Habitat For Humanity Global Village Build in Tauranga began this week, with volunteers helping to construct houses in Parkvale and Greerton for families who could not afford a mortgage.

Habitat For Humanity local board trustee Ann Dowman said the team, as well as specialised builders, got the building development moving quickly.

"It's got to be done properly. The team comes over to work and pays their own way, it's the most marvellous thing," she said.

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The houses go to families who rent them for five years, before taking on the mortgage.

"There is a need. It's set up for working families who have difficulty getting a mortgage. It's a simple Kiwi house - safe, dry and warm."

Working on the Parkvale house was Canadian team leader Tammy Carter.

"Every place is different," she said.

"I love New Zealand, it's so pretty. We have seven working days here to do as much as we can."

Ms Carter had built houses around the world while on holiday from her job as a respiratory therapist in Canada.

"Home ownership is huge for health and families benefit from home ownership for generations."

Kiwi volunteers
A number of Tauranga volunteers have returned after taking part in a Habitat for Humanity Big Build at Viet Tri near Hanoi, Vietnam last month.

Twenty homes were built in a week by over 200 volunteers from around the Asia/Pacific region.