Charity House Project

The Charity House project, which has been running since 2013, meets one of Rotary’s key areas of focus to enhance humanitarian service by participating in a local service project related to economic and community development.

It is a collaboration between Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Rotary Rotorua Sunrise, and the local business community. The proceeds of the houses are distributed to worthy local charities registered under the Charities Act 2005. The Charity House Distribution Committee considers requests for funding which will only be given to Rotorua based charitable causes or projects which must benefit the local community. It is expected that any approved funding is treated as a partnership between the applicant and the Charity House Distribution Committee.

Construction of each Charity House begins in March each year at the construction site at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Mokoia Campus, Rotorua.

The project might be considered a mixture of The Block NZ, Design Dealers, and Home Under the Hammer as it involves building a three-bedroom re-locatable house, decorating it, and then selling it at auction.

Toi Ohomai carpentry students gain valuable hands-on building the house from start to finish; interior design students decide on the exterior and interior colour schemes, floor coverings and bathroom design; and electrical students wire up the house. It is a grassroots community effort as local suppliers provide the build materials and tradesmen chip in where needed with advice, labour, and employment opportunities.

Rotary Rotorua Sunrise has developed a close relationship with Toi Ohomai staff and students. As the designated charity to receive the proceeds from the house sales and responsible for distributing the funds within our community we are actively engaged with the students and partners. Club members have been involved in helping at the annual build launches, builders’ breakfasts, student barbeques, the roof shouts, open days, and the presentation of proceeds to the local charity groups.

This relationship between Rotarians and students has provided opportunities to assist and develop the students’ leadership skills by identifying suitable candidates for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and Outward Bound. Students have helped at the Rotary Global Swimarathon for End Polio Now, Rotorua Lakeside Concert collection and Rotorua Hospice gardening projects as volunteers.

Charity House Industry Partners & Suppliers

The Charity House Project would not be possible without the following industry partners and suppliers:

  • Carpet Court Rotorua
  • Complete Roofing Services Tauranga Ltd
  • Dora Remmerswaal Designer
  • Dux Industries Ltd
  • Hepburn Electrical Ltd
  • Hume Pine (NZ) Ltd
  • Hydroflow
  • John Chittenden Design Ltd
  • Kohler NZ
  • Lee Brothers Joinery Ltd
  • Lewis Plumbing Company
  • Marley New Zealand
  • Mitre10 Mega Rotorua
  • Plumbing World Rotorua
  • Professionals McDowell Real Estate Ltd
  • Redstag Timber
  • Resene Paints
  • Rheem New Zealand Ltd
  • Roofing Industries
  • Rylock Bay of Plenty
  • Scaffolding NZ Ltd
  • Tauranga Plasterers
  • Yellowfin Painting Ltd

Benefits to Community

The Charity House goes under the hammer at a charity auction. All proceeds go to the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise, the designated local charitable trust to manage the distribution of funds to local charities.

Note: there was no Charity House build in 2020 due to COVID-19 and the nation-wide lockdown that occurred during Terms 1 and 2.  

2019 Charity House proceeds were awarded to:

  • Age Concern Rotorua
  • Aratika Cancer Trust
  • Bay of Plenty Disabled Sailing Trust
  • Rotorua District Riding for the Disabled Assn Inc
  • Rotorua Mountain Bike Club
  • Te Ahuru Mowai Rotorua School for Young Parents

Between 2013 – 2018, Charity House proceeds were awarded to:

  • Age Concern Rotorua
  • Alzheimer’s Rotorua Inc
  • Aratika Cancer Trust
  • Bay Trust Rescue Helicopter
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rotorua
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Combined Rotary Clubs of Rotorua Charitable Trust
  • Eastern Suburbs Pre-School Charitable Trust
  • Kai Rotorua
  • Kidscan Charitable Trust
  • Lakes Medical Services Trust
  • Linton Park Community Centre
  • Love Soup Rotorua
  • Manaaki Ora
  • Mokoia Community Assn
  • My Future Rocks
  • Myalgic Encephalopathy/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Ngongotaha Community Patrol
  • Once Chance Charitable Trust
  • Parkinson’s Central Plateau Division
  • Parkinson’s NZ
  • Rotorua Children’s Art House
  • Rotorua Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Rotorua Community Menz Shed Trust
  • Rotorua Community Youth Centre Trust
  • Rotorua District Riding for the Disabled Assn Inc
  • Rotorua Emergency Response Team
  • Rotorua Hospital Chaplaincy Trust
  • Rotorua Mountain Bike Club
  • Rotorua Musical Theatre Inc
  • Rotorua SPCA
  • Rotorua Youth Centre
  • Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind
  • Society of St Vincent De Paul
  • Spoonful of Sugar Charitable Trust
  • Stand Children’s Services
  • Te Roopu A Iwi O Te Arawa
  • The Salvation Army Rotorua
  • Visions of a Helping Hand Charitable Trust Rotorua
  • Waiariki Women’s Refuge
  • Western Heights Community Association
  • Western Heights Primary School Oral Language Programme
  • Work Matters Trust

“This is an exciting and unique community project for Rotary Rotorua Sunrise to work along-side students training to become our next generation of tradespeople and designers. Carpenters are in short supply in New Zealand and with the current housing crisis and the demand for housing across New Zealand at the top of the government’s priority list, this collaboration is important to our economy and community”, says Sue Gunn, Past President and Charity House Project Coordinator.

“The students love this experience – the hands-on learning, working under close supervision of the tutors, gaining new skills that will go towards their qualification and apprenticeship, working on building a real house that will become a home with a family living in it for many years to come”, says Malcolm Frost, past Carpentry Programme Manager at Toi Ohomai.

“This pre-trade carpentry course, which included working on the charity House has been a really useful steppingstone for me as I came in not knowing anything at all and now, I have been taught enough to move on to an apprenticeship. I have learnt a lot here at Toi Ohomai because although there are theoretical aspects, most of it is practical and caters to the way I learn best. There’s so many opportunities in the trades, it’s a great space to build a career and to eventually run my own business”, says Chance Bock, graduate of Toi Ohomai and now doing an apprenticeship with a local builder.

Egenia Aucamp Kitchen Design Winner 2016