Before her home was insulated, Rangi Paraha’s children were constantly unwell and away from school, two of them had been hospitalised with asthma, and the family used hot water bottles and sleeping bags until October.
The Kihikihi mother of seven has her three youngest children at home, Henerangi (6), Ray (8) and John (10).
heard about the Waikato District Health Board’s Maori Health Service’s home insulation scheme through a colleague at the Maori Women’s Welfare League, where she works seven days a week.
The Warm our Whare initiative sees Te Puna Oranga (Waikato DHB’s Maori Health service) partner up with three insulation companies to offer eligible families ceiling and underfloor insulation completely free of charge.
“I watched the insulation guys finish putting it in one afternoon, and that night, our house was so warm. We couldn’t believe it,” she said.
And the best part – her children have been well this winter when many others haven’t.
Warm our Whare has hit a new milestone, having provided close to 1000 high needs’ families/whānau access to free underfloor and ceiling insulation.
The initiative is part of Project 270, which seeks to fight the impacts of child/whānau poverty.
“The Warm our Whare initiative aims to make homes warmer, drier and healthier through the provision of free home insulation,” said Te Puna Oranga general manager Ditre Tamatea.
“To reach 1000 homes is testimony to the hard work done by the team and all the other partners we have been working with.”
It is estimated that over 4000 high needs individuals have benefitted from the free home insulation that is accessed through the initiative; many of whom are tamariki/children.
“The project now has scale and is part of what we do; it’s imbedded innovation that seeks to make a practical difference for those most in need,” said Mr Tamatea.
“The data indicates that 1 in 3 Māori children live below the poverty line, the rate drops to 1 in 4 for Pacific children and 1 in 6 for Pakeha children.
“We called our project Project 270 to draw attention to the fact that in Aotearoa, over 270,000 children live below the poverty line.”
Mr Tamatea said that in a country as great and as wealthy as New Zealand, it is sad and bizarre that we have so many whānau and children exposed to the effects of poverty.
“Many of our health issues are directly related to poverty and tied into this is the issue of cold, damp, unhealthy homes. While New Zealand seems to be in an economic recovery the gap between the haves and have nots seems to be becoming wider and more crystalised.
The Warm our Whare initiative is being run in Hamilton (and 30kms out) including Huntly and Ngaruawahia, as well as down through the South Waikato, and Raglan, Te Kuiti, Tokoroa and Taumarunui.
Mr Tamatea said the scheme was now being extended to the Hauraki region and would include Thames and Paeroa as well.
The scheme is funded through EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) and Waikato DHB.
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