Spot the difference in this house

Built inside a New Zealand prison, the house will become home to a family originally from the Philippines

The Constantinos had their first view of their new house when it was lifted intact over a local prison’s fence. Photo: Peter de Graaf/The Northern Advocate.

AUCKLAND (February 7, 2014) — It was last December that the Constantino family, originally from the Philippines, first saw their newly built house being lifted by crane over a prison’s fence. In March, the Habitat for Humanity house will become home to the family of four in Dargaville, a town in the North Island of New Zealand. The Constantinos had helped to paint and complete landscaping among other works.

The house, which is called “Te Whare Tuku Aroha” (Maori for “The House Gift of Love”) is built over six months by more than 30 inmates from Ngawha Prison. The construction of the pilot house is made possible in a partnership between the Habitat for Humanity Northland affiliate, the Northland Corrections Facility and NorthTec, a tertiary education institute. Inmates who worked on the house have gained trade qualifications certified by NorthTec.

“We always believe it takes a community to build a house, but this build is particularly special because it involved people who don’t usually get a chance to engage with the community outside, and with more skills now, it will help them integrate later on,” said Conrad La Pointe, general manager with HFH Northland. There are three more of such houses to be built in prisons in the future, said La Pointe.

John Constantino, who does seasonal farm work, said: “The house is awesome…even more beautiful than we had expected.” His wife Alma Futalan is a technician in the town’s hospital. She is looking forward to furnishing the house and shared that six-year-old daughter Shanida and four-year-old son Joshua are excited about having their own rooms.

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand built its first home in 1993 in Pukekohe, a small rural town just south of Auckland on the North Island. It has since grown into one of the most innovative national programs in the Asia-Pacific region with more than 620 families served.

More updates on HFH New Zealand’s and like its page.