It was all for a good cause and, after some busy bidding, Rotorua couple Judy and Graeme Hardie have found their new home.

Today was the big day for this year's Charity House auction at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

The Charity House project, a home built by the institute's carpentry, electrical and interior design students, is now in its fourth year.

Along with providing a hands-on experience for students, all profits from the sale go back to the community in Rotorua, via Rotary Rotorua Sunrise.


Between 40 and 50 people found themselves a chair in the spacious lounge of the new 137sqm home before auctioneer and Professionals McDowell Real Estate co-owner Steve Lovegrove got the auction underway.

Bidding started slowly at $120,000 before a flurry of bids pushed the price up to $190,000 in a short space of time.

Things cooled down a bit, but the Hardies stayed strong and made their final bid of $200,000.

When the hammer went down for the third and final time, Mrs Hardie jumped for joy.

"We're really happy," she said.

"The whole thing is just brilliant and the fact it's also for charity certainly had an influence on us."

The Hardies have a section in Hamurana where they will move the house to after Christmas.

"It saves building a new one and that's a biggie for us too. There's not a lot out there in the market and it's a bloody good buy."

Mrs Hardie said it was their first auction and they didn't really know what to do at the start.

"But it was a lot of fun, really exciting," she said.

Mr Lovegrove said the auction went well and the final price was what they had hoped for, and more than initially expected.

"I think the design and quality of the build helped achieve that, the team at Toi Ohomai have done an outstanding job."

Toi Ohomai area lead for carpentry and electrical AJ Smith said students had exceeded their own expectations and done a fantastic job with the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home.

"As a result, it will no doubt be well received by the market as a healthy and warm home to live in."

One of the first buildings in Rotorua to feature SmartFit windows, additional features of the 2016 build include double glazing and full insulation to twice the existing building code requirements.

More than $30,000 in proceeds from the 2015 Charity House, which was sold for $176,000, were handed out to 13 community charities this year.

Toi Ohomai marketing manager Sue Gunn said it was an excellent result all round and the students who worked on the project should be proud.

She said applications for funds from the proceeds of the auction will go live in January and can be made through the Rotary club's website at

Charity House Project
- Built by students at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
- Proceeds go to charity via Rotary Rotorua Sunrise
- Funding applications begin in January at
- House sold yesterday to Judy and Graeme Hardie
- Was auctioned for $200,000