A house built by students from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has been bought to replace a farm house which burnt down earlier this year

The three-bedroom home was built by Toi Ohomai's carpentry, electrical and interior design students with the support of the business community at the institute's Mokoia Campus, and was sold last month with the proceeds going to Rotorua community groups.

New owner Judy Carter said she bought the house to replace staff quarters on a Whakatāne farm she and husband Brian own, which burnt down earlier this year.

The house will be relocated to the site in January.


Carter said she previously bought a house built by students from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, which merged with Waiariki Institute of Technology to create Toi Ohomai, about five years ago and was so happy with the product she was keen to purchase another one.

"I really love the house, it is beautifully built and by us purchasing the house, it means that Toi Ohomai gets to recover the costs of building it so they can build more next year – isn't that a wonderful, wonderful thing?

"It is all ready to go and I just need to find window coverings. It is fantastic," she said.

The Carters paid $230,000 for the house, which was the highest amount paid for any house in the six years the charity house project had been running.

Trades and Logistics faculty leader Brian Dillon said Toi Ohomai's carpentry students build houses every year as part of their course to learn hands-on skills and help consolidate the theoretical lessons they gain in class.

"Most of the work is completed by the students and the tutors are there to guide and advise on the project. Building a house provides students with an opportunity to gain real-life experience in a safe environment."

Usually houses built by students were completed to lined stage, ready for Gib stopping. However, the charity house included Gib stopping, interior and exterior painting, floor coverings, underfloor insulation, bathroom fittings and a kitchen.

All of the extras required independent contractors to undertake additional work such as plumbing, kitchen installation and painting.


Dillon said this outsourced work provided students with the added benefit of being able to see how other tradesmen fitted into projects.

"We're so grateful to all of our partners on this project. We have more than 30 charity house partners that provide materials, workmanship or other support and they do it at discount prices or some even for free.

"We wouldn't be able to complete the project without their amazing support."

Dillon said in past years, Toi Ohomai had auctioned off the house to the highest bidder but this year it was decided to put it up as a general listing.

"Relocatable houses are an interesting market. They are ready to move on to a property but if people can't secure the land then there is no point in bidding. People usually buy the houses for infill purposes, farm cottages or baches.

"The housing market has been quite buoyant lately and we negotiated to sell it within a week of listing it. Judy came to check out the house for a second time on the Friday and by Tuesday it was sold, so we are rapt," he said.

Information about the dissemination of the surplus of the charity house will be available in the New Year.