Rotorua's Kerris Browne is absolutely certain tiny homes are the way forward and could well be the answer to the city's housing crisis.

And she's found out there are hundreds of others who agree after she decided to hold an open home at her new tiny home yesterday.

Browne posted the event on Facebook 10 days ago and it reached 100 people registering to attend in three hours. In total, 1500 people were interested, but open home registrations were capped at 300.

Browne said a lot of people were looking at the option of putting tiny houses in their backyards for others such as their parents or older teenagers.


People also went to the open home to see if they could live in a tiny house and were amazed at how functional it was, she said.

People were curious to have a look inside the tiny home. Photo / Stephen Parker
People were curious to have a look inside the tiny home. Photo / Stephen Parker

Browne's tiny house story started with the Pari family, six people in total, needing somewhere to live.

"To cut a long story short, the rental place that took two months to find was a disaster so initially I put them up in my holiday homes when they weren't booked."

Browne continued to search for a more permanent solution to help the family.

"I wasn't prepared to subdivide the section my home sits on. I didn't want to deal with contractors and a lengthy build time and I also didn't want to pay thousands in consent fees."

While researching alternative options, Browne found the rules and regulations for a tiny home to be a lot more palatable.

"If the building is under 8m long, and within 4.2m high and wide, and mobile, then it is classed as a vehicle."

Browne contacted a firm who made tiny homes and asked what they could do.

"Their plans included tiny homes for two or three people so I came up with my own design for six and sent it off to them asking if it could be done. They came back to me and said they couldn't see why not.

"The only thing left to do after all that was to convince my husband it was a great idea."

The build came in at $120,000, Browne paid $1200 in consents, and she is renting it for $250 a week.

"That's a 13 per cent return on investment. It has been a win-win all round and I honestly believe it's the way to get on top of the country's housing crisis.

"I spoke to the mum of the family living in the tiny home and asked her what she thought. She told me she loved it."

Browne admits there isn't a lot of room inside and the way the house is configured means everything needs to be stored away if not in use.

"You can't leave anything lying on the floor but what a cool thing to teach your kids anyway."

Browne decided to showcase the tiny house with the open home.

She said because it went so crazy she had a team of three from the house manufacturers there to help. It involved groups of 10 going into the home for five minutes then out again.

"But the overwhelming number of people interested shows to me there is a huge amount of people in Rotorua ready to look at alternative housing. Tiny homes are the answer to our housing crisis – they're honestly the cat's meow."

The Pari family (from left) Kingston, 11, Kim, Ash and Kaydin, 12, in their tiny house. Photo / Stephen Parker
The Pari family (from left) Kingston, 11, Kim, Ash and Kaydin, 12, in their tiny house. Photo / Stephen Parker

Tenants Ash and Kim Pari said the house was "minimal but quite nice".

"You get used to living with less. It's actually quite roomy, the kids enjoy themselves."

Rotorua's Josephine Joseph was one of the many who went along to the open home.

She had enjoyed having a look, and liked how the house was set up and how affordable it could be for a family to live.

She would consider living in one herself, and had been looking at them as a possible option for her father and teenagers, she said.

Local Linda Wiringi went along out of curiosity, and to see if it was a small and affordable option for when she retired in about nine years.

She said it was quite spacious for a tiny home and was something she might consider in the future.

Wiringi said it might also be a cheap option for the Government to build for families who needed homes.

- Additional reporting Shauni James