Liza and Shanon Casson should be waking up to a view of the Whanganui River every morning in their dream home.

Shodon Casson, 11, should live close to his school and his friends, while eight-month-old Zoe should be learning to walk in her first environment.

However, the reality is that the Cassons are boarding with family in Himatangi Beach, driving an hour each way every day to get to Whanganui.

The family had downsized, removing their clutter and putting what remained in storage before paying a man $40,000 to build their tiny house.


The Cassons now claim that man disappeared with the money and with their dreams.

"He had a legitimate website," Shanon Casson said.

The Cassons started looking at tiny house builder options in mid-2018.

The build was supposed to take 12 weeks and the Cassons had organised to stay in the house at the Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park for six months following its completion while they looked for a plot of land.

The man had been emailing the couple consistently until about five weeks out from the expected completion date.

"We were getting really close to baby being born and we were getting really worried that we weren't going to be in our house," Shanon Casson said.

The couple then discovered the company had been struck off.

Police have confirmed a man is currently in custody facing a range of dishonesty charges.


None of them relate to taking money from the Cassons but a police spokesperson did say "regarding the specific incident involving the Whanganui couple referenced below, enquiries into the matter are ongoing".

Shanon Casson said that owning their dream home is no longer a reality.

"I wish it was, but because of the circumstances we've been put into, our reality of owning our own house, well, it's in the distant future now.

"We pay to stay out in Himatangi and we have a mortgage for a house that we paid for that we don't get to live in."

Shanon is now working two jobs, one at Whanganui Intermediate School and at his New Zealand Jiu Jitsu Academy on Taupo Quay.

Liza is also back at work ahead of schedule after baby Zoe's birth, relief teaching at schools around Whanganui.

They looked at renting a house closer to work, but with a shortage of homes available in Whanganui and their current financial situation, it is not an option.

The community is also rallying around them, with Domino's Whanganui hosting an event called Raise Some Dough For Liza & Shanon.

On Wednesday, August 14, 2019 between 5 and 9pm, $1 from every pizza sold at that Domino's branch will be donated to the family to help them get back on their feet.

Casson said he and Liza were reluctant to accept money from anybody at first, citing people in worse situations than theirs.

"One of my good friends in martial arts said to me 'you rob people of their kindness if you don't let them give to you'.

"He got me. You forget how beautiful human beings can be to other human beings when they've been kicked in the guts.

"They put a hand out and pick you up. It's something that Kiwis do really well, we tend to help those in need as much as we can."