Welcome to the first "official" day of winter.

It's the first of June and, despite what the calendar says, to me it seemed winter really arrived mid-May when the nighttime temperatures started consistently falling below 10C.

I remember clearly waking up one morning and having to talk myself into getting out of my warm bed to get ready for work.

I'd set the heat pump the night before so that it would turn on half an hour before I woke, but it wasn't enough. The house was still freezing.


That's the thing about many New Zealand homes. Heating, in many cases, seems to be more of a luxury than a necessity - we come from hardy stock who prided themselves on putting an extra layer of clothing on rather than burning more wood.

It's different in other countries where central heating is seen as an integral part of all homes - and that's the whole house, not just the main living area.

Our houses generally aren't built with warmth in mind.

In August last year, the House Condition Survey report found about half of all houses lacked adequate insulation (47 per cent), contributing to many being damp and mouldy (49 per cent).

In 46 per cent of homes, bedrooms were unheated and five per cent of homes were not heated at all.

It makes sense then that, as we reported yesterday, when winter begins to bite, heaters, blankets and warm clothes begin to fly out of shop doors.

We need a quick and easy way to get warm and our houses aren't cutting it.

Our forebears may have put up with the conditions and never complained.

But I'm sure they, just like us, hated those cold early mornings and dreamed of warmer homes.