HFH New Zealand Dedicates First House Built In Prison

December 21st, 2011

The Hungahunga Family Is Excited To Spend Their First Christmas In Their Own Home

(Top, from left) Present at the dedication ceremony: David Whelan, inmate employment manager from Department of Corrections, Hastings district’s mayor Lawrence Yule, Sharne and David Hungahunga with daughter Konnah. (Bottom left) David and Sharne watching a section of their Habitat house being lifted over the fence of the prison. Photo: Courtesy of Hawke’s Bay Today. (Bottom right) Sharne, David, Konnah and Baylee-Maree.

HASTINGS, New Zealand, 21st December 2011: Habitat for Humanity New Zealand recently dedicated what is believed to be the first Habitat house built in a prison.

The Hungahunga family received the keys to their four-bedroom house in a dedication ceremony held in Hastings city in Hawke’s Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island.

Other guests present included Habitat volunteers who worked with the Hungahunga family in painting, cladding, lining, fencing and landscaping. The finishing work took about a month.

“We did a lot of painting work inside the house and I was able to choose the carpet and lino. The kids are really excited about moving into the house, my daughter will start at a new school next year and she’s pretty excited about that too,” said Sharne Hungahunga who moved into her new house with husband David and children Devon, 16, Baylee-Maree, 4, and Konnah. 2.

A team of six inmates from Hawke’s Bay Prison took three months to build the house. In early November, sections of the house were lifted over the fence of the prison by a crane. The sections were later joined on site in Hastings city.

The house was built under a partnership between Habitat, the government and the local community. One of the prison inmates who helped to build the house concluded that “this experience has been awesome”.

“This Habitat build has been about so much more than just building a house,” said Nic Greene, general manager of HFH Central North Island. “It has allowed prisoners to give something back to the community while gaining practical experience and improving their chances of stable employment after being released.”

“We can’t find the words to say how thankful we are to all those people who have helped build our home,” said Sharne. “The house looks wonderful. We are really excited about spending our first Christmas in our new home.”