Marie Hill and her nine-month-old son Braxton at their new home. Photo: Kate Russell.

A house for Christmas


Marie Hill’s Christmas wish has been answered.

At the weekend, the 23-year-old solo mum of two finally moved into her own place in Nelson South.

With two bedrooms, good sun, heating and big backyard – it has everything Marie and her boys, 23-month-old Ashton and nine-month-old Braxton, need for a happy, stable life.

It’s the first time Marie has had her own space in almost a year and a half, after living at Ma’s Place – an emergency accommodation provider in Richmond.

During that time, Marie has “constantly” been looking for a rental property, but has faced constant rejection. She went on the Social Housing register in November, with no indication of when she would be offered a house.

Last week, Nelson Weekly helped Marie put the call out for a house, but the day after the article went to print, she saw she had a missed call on her cellphone from an “unknown number”.

Luckily they called her back, because it was Housing New Zealand. They wanted to know if Marie was interested in viewing a house later that day.

“As soon as I got off the phone, my friend drove me to have a look at it. I was not mucking around,” she says. “I was packed and ready to go.”

Despite being offered a house, Marie says she had a “great response” from last week’s article.

She had three offers to pet-sit and even one complete stranger offering to host her on Christmas day.

Now, all Marie needs are a few more household items for her new home – and the generosity of Nelsonians is already showing.

“There have been heaps of people wanting to give me stuff. I’ve been overwhelmed. I was sitting there the other day, just feeling blown away. I was just about to fall on the floor, with all these people offering me things.”

This includes a television from the Koha Shed – a luxury that Marie hasn’t been able to enjoy for 16 months.

“People keep asking me, ‘what do you want to Christmas, Marie?’ and I tell them, ‘I don’t need anything – I’ve got my house,’” she says.

“I don’t have to hunt anymore, it’s a huge relief.”