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Cardboard house an eyeopener for kids

DANIELLE STREET
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
Amelia Thurlow
Jason Oxenham

CONSTRUCTION: Amelia Thurlow, front, puts the finishing touches on Pasadena Intermediate’s entry to the cardboard house building competition.

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Schoolchildren are learning the importance of a warm, dry home thanks to a cardboard house building competition.

Organised by Anglican Life the competition aims to raise awareness about the cold, damp and draughty housing conditions that exist in New Zealand.

The challenge was for students to construct a dwelling using only cardboard and tape.

A group of year 7 and 8 students from Pasadena Intermediate in Pt Chevalier took to it with gusto, building a large house from unused milk cartons and cardboard tubing.

Amelia Thurlow, 11, says she originally wanted to build the house because she thought it would be fun, but quickly realised the more serious message.

"I was thinking about the kids that have the sickness and how we could build a better home for them.

"So we've got insulated curtains and the roof is insulated."

Teacher Martin Ball says he is going to use the house to encourage a discussion in the school about poor housing conditions.

Around 375,000 Kiwi kids live in cold, damp rental houses that can make them sick.

There are subsidies available for landlords to improve rental housing, but not all landlords take them up and there are no minimum standards for rental homes.

Photos of the cardboard houses will be sent to Housing Minister Phil Heatley to support a call for a ‘Warrant of Fitness' on housing.

Competition co-organiser Kate Day from Anglican Life says the church received about 30 entries from schools nationwide.

Ms Day says it decided to hold the challenge to include young people in a discussion about a serious issue that affects many New Zealanders.

"As a church we are concerned with issues of poverty, particularly ones that affect children. So we thought the issue of low-standard housing is one way we could address conditions of poverty as a whole."

The winning school will receive insulation installed for free and if it is already insulated the school can nominate another school for the prize.

The winner will be notified early next month.

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- Auckland City Harbour News

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