The layout and design of the Rotorua NOW Home®

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Entrance, Rotorua NOW Home

Photo: Craig Robertson Photography

Outside the square

The designers of the Rotorua NOW Home®, APR Consultants, deliberately went away from a box shaped design to a very different looking house. They wanted to show that Housing New Zealand stock need not be a 1950s style weatherboard and concrete tile house.  It can be cleverly designed, warm, water-efficient, comfortable and appealing. 

However, the butterfly style roof design finally selected, while visually attractive, has proved problematic with weathertightness and access to roof space the key issues.  Our experience with the design has led us to discourage complex roof designs in the HomeSmart Homes project.

Reflecting Maori values

The Fordlands community is predominantly Maori and the Rotorua NOW Home® was designed to reflect Maori values:

  • In Maori society all food related facilities must be separate from laundry, bathroom and toilet facilities.  
  • The living area is the heart of a Maori house and is large, flexible and open plan to accommodate a whanau (family) gathering
  • A large and open kitchen for catering for whanau, large sink and bench space
  • A second stand alone bathroom to cater for extended family
  • A large outdoor sink to allow cleaning of kaimoana (seafood), pots and fishing gear
  • A large deck area for whanau to congregate on.  Decks, verandahs, patios and porches are key elements of Maori houses as they provide a connection to Papatuanuku (Earth Mother) and an essential transition between indoor and outdoor. 
  • A large well equipped garage which could accommodate extra people during a tangi - tangi activity must be closed off from the kitchen.


Flexible use of space

Flexibility of living spaces was important to cater for extended family visiting and staying.  The main living area is open plan incorporating kitchen, dining and living area.  A wide entry way between the kitchen and dining areas allows several people to be involved in meal preparation at one time, and the work space in the kitchen is generous.

The garage is accessed internally from the house and can be used for extra space when guests arrive. 

The indoor living space is complemented by a large sheltered and private deck area.



  • 01-Jul-2013 (Publication Case study/6)

    Flexible Design in the Rotorua NOW Home (PDF 139KB)

    Covers how the Rotorua NOW Home was designed for flexibility and adaptability over the life of the house.

  • 22-Mar-2006 (Publication NO201/3)

    Rotorua NOW Home plans (PDF 3MB)

    APR Consultants

    Floor and site plans for the Rotorua NOW Home, drawn up for Housing New Zealand Corporation by APR Consultants.

Rotorua NOW Home

Rotorua NOW Home®