Canadian volunteers build Nelson homes

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Two Nelson families will receive the best Christmas present they could ask for this year – a brand new house, thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

A team of 15 volunteers from Canada have flown over especially to help build the two prefab houses on Kawai St, which will be home to two refugee families from Myanmar.

Last week, Nelson Weekly talked to Nelson chairman of Habitat for Humanity, Rob Silcock, just before the build started, and just one week later the walls are up and roofs are on.

A Cung Ning Ching, whose family will occupy one of the houses, says he is “so excited” about his new home, which will hopefully be ready for them to move into just after Christmas.

A Cung, who has been in New Zealand for nearly eight years, has three children aged nine, five and three. They were one of about 30 families who applied for the houses. He says the Canadian team are “very good” and can’t believe how quickly the houses are being built.

“I can now see my home – I can’t wait to move in,” he says. “My kids are so excited – they want to come and look every day.”

A Cung has two weeks off his job to help out with the build, as part of the 500 hours his family is required to give to the project. He says it has been very beneficial to be part of the build as he now knows how everything works. “I understand the wiring, and when something is broken I can repair it,” he says.

The Canadian team will be here until November 20 to work on the houses, with some of them staying on to travel around New Zealand.

Kristen Côté and her father Mike, who are from Ottawa, are on their second trip to New Zealand, having come over in 2012 to help with the Christchurch earthquake rebuild.

“We just loved the country and the people, and wanted to come back,” she says. “It is such a fantastic experience and afterwards we’re going to spend four or five days travelling around.”