Tania Webb wanted to show others the way to home ownership.

Their response has touched the mum-of-eight's heart.

On Wednesday, the 31-year-old shared her inspiring story of escaping the rent trap and buying a five-bedroom home for her family of 10.

Webb, partner Lei Letele and their children moved into their new home in the South Auckland suburb of Weymouth last July, after slashing their spending to save $13,000 in a five-month deadline.


Their savings allowed them to buy a home valued at $580,000 under a rent-equity ownership model with not-for-profit charitable trust the New Zealand Housing Foundation, which helps low- to medium-income Kiwis buy homes.

Webb told her story because she wanted to show other people the home ownership dream could come true.

It worked.

A post of the story on the nzherald.co.nz Facebook page received 15,000 positive reactions and was shared almost 2000 times.

More than 1400 people commented, most positively.

Meanwhile, at the Housing Foundation, executive director Brian Donnelly woke to more than 500 enquiries this morning and the phone had been busy since.

At her home today, Webb was stunned by the reaction.

"I was overwhelmed with how lovely and kind everyone was ... it's beautiful that it's become such an encouraging and inspiring story for everyone, even though I don't feel like an inspiration.


"It's funny how many people could to relate to my story."

She was especially pleased so many had taken notice of how the single-income family had cut back their spending, including switching to cloth nappies, foraging and bartering for produce and walking instead of driving.

Many people commented that those cost-cutting savings reminded them of how people lived in decades past, something which pleased Webb.

"Because that's exactly how I did it, bringing it back to basics. Even in the community I'm in, that's what they have done. Everyone has been given a fruit tree and so when it's in season, we can swap."

As well as saving money, the family had become more waste-conscious, a skill which led to her being hired by Te Awa Ora Trust to teach others about cost-saving cloth nappies.

Another organisation had contacted her since yesterday's story and she hoped to turn her skills into a full-time job.

She's been looking for work, in part to take the pressure off Letele, who works up to 60 hours a week to support the family.

"I'm up for most things, but anything to do with the environment and sustainability, more the better."

Donnelly said interest in the scheme was great, and they encouraged it. But they had a limited number of properties, so had to be careful about not raising people's expectations.

The response to Webb's story illustrated a bigger question that needed to be answered: the demand for ways into housing as house prices rise.

"What is really being done about it? We are just a small provider. The public and private sector are not recognising the demand."

The New Zealand Housing Foundation's Affordable Rental scheme:

• Helps low-income Kiwis buy homes under a shared-ownership model
• Must be a first-time home buyer
• Must have minimum deposit of $10,000
• Have a regular combined household income, (in Auckland, between $55 000 and $95,000)
• Have a good credit record
• Currently looking for applicants for housing development in Waimahia Inlet, Weymouth, Flat Bush, Hobsonville, Awatea, Christchurch and Hornby, Christchurch