Building the Rotorua NOW Home®: a history

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Inspired by the Waitakere NOW Home®

The idea of building a sustainable house for Housing New Zealand was sparked by the opening of Waitakere NOW Home® opening.  Several Housing New Zealand representatives attended and were impressed with the idea of giving the same benefits to their tenants.

Housing New Zealand Corporation had already made a substantial commitment to energy efficiency and community renewal.  In 2005, Housing New Zealand invested about $80 million on improvements to its homes through its Healthy Housing, Community Renewal, Energy Efficiency, modernisation and reconfiguration programmes.

Discussions followed, and out of it came an agreement to work together on building a similar house in Rotorua.


Part of Community Renewal in Rotorua

Housing New Zealand Corporation provided the site for the Rotorua NOW Home®.  They chose a section in Fordlands, Rotorua, one of Housing New Zealand Corporation’s Community Renewal areas.   Fordlands was created in the late 1950s as a state housing area, with a fringe of private ownership.  During the 1990s, much of the state housing in Fordlands was sold - mainly to private investors as rentals.  It is one of the most deprived suburbs in the Rotorua District. 

Community Renewal is a partnership programme between Housing New Zealand and people living and working in renewal areas to promote safe, healthy communities. The main goals are to address social exclusion, foster strong and sustainable communities, and improve the physical assets and appearance of neighbourhoods.

Designing the Rotorua NOW Home®

The home was designed by local architecture firm, APR Consultants, to meet Housing New Zealand Corporation criteria for their housing stock and with advice from Beacon on how to build for best performance.

It was constructed by Warren Monk Builders.  In the spirit of Community Renewal, students from the Tumahaurangi Trust’s Construction Trade Training Unit helped out with the project, gaining valuable practical work experience.

Once design decisions were made, some of the specified materials and products were donated by building material manufacturers and suppliers. 

The Rotorua NOW Home® was opened on 28 September 2006 by Steve Chadwick, MP for Rotorua.   As the house was designed to be barrier free, tenants were chosen from the Housing New Zealand waiting list for modified homes. 


Photo: Craig Robertson Photography

Rotorua NOW Home

Rotorua NOW Home®