Family set for a new chapter in new home

By Hannah Norton

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Kirsty Slack and Frank Vlamings (back left to right) with their blended family including Evolet Vlamings, 3, back right, Jada Slack, 11, front left, Mya Slack, 9, front centre, and Detroit Vlamings, 7, front right. Two-year-old Elexus Rupena-Tuoro is not pictured as he was taking an afternoon nap. Photo/Hannah Norton
Kirsty Slack and Frank Vlamings (back left to right) with their blended family including Evolet Vlamings, 3, back right, Jada Slack, 11, front left, Mya Slack, 9, front centre, and Detroit Vlamings, 7, front right. Two-year-old Elexus Rupena-Tuoro is not pictured as he was taking an afternoon nap. Photo/Hannah Norton

A passionate haka signified new beginnings for a Whangarei family in their brand new home.

Kirsty Slack and Frank Vlamings yesterday received the key to the four-bedroom Kamo home, built as part of a Habitat for Humanity scheme designed to get a low-income family out of unsuitable accommodation.

The couple, and their blended family of five children, are set to move into their Alcoba St home over Easter Weekend. The Habitat scheme allows the family to pay off the value of the home at a rate of 2 per cent for eight years, after which they seek a bank loan.

"I'm feeling pretty blessed, speechless," Ms Slack said yesterday.

"It's still surreal - I think until we're in there, that's when it will settle in."

In the meantime, the family will be focusing on moving out of their rented accommodation, which has been plagued by mould, condensation and ventilation issues.

Ms Slack said the five children - including Evolet Vlamings, 3, Jada Slack, 11, Mya Slack, 9, Detroit Vlamings, 7, and Elexus Rupena-Tuoro, 2 - were already fighting over bedrooms in their new home.

"I am just thankful for the security we are going to get from having our own home. I'm not worried any more."

Mr Vlamings led a heartfelt haka at yesterday's dedication, which was attended by over 50 people including volunteers, friends and family.

"It was quite emotional to watch that, and a very proud moment," Ms Slack said.

The haka involved Habitat for Humanity Northland's Conrad LaPointe trading the key for the new home, which Mr Vlamings replaced with pounamu.

"I explained where I'm from [Waimamaku Ngapuhi] and that this whenua is ours now," Mr Vlamings said.

"It was a special moment for me and my family."

Mr LaPointe, Habitat for Humanity Northland's executive officer, was blown away to see the family so happy about starting a new chapter.

"It's days like this you realise this is what we work for.

"It was also wonderful to see so many people from the Whangarei community who have been directly involved [with the build]."

The build was started in November last year and was completed predominantly by volunteers.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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