Pupils campaign on rental housing

SAM SACHDEVA
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2012
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STACY SQUIRES
Henry Trott (13) tests his house. St Andrews College students will judge an array of cardboard houses they have built to draw attention to cold rental housing in New Zealand.

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Christchurch pupils have transformed cardboard boxes into homes in an attempt to draw attention to New Zealand's cold rental properties.

Year 9 pupils at St Andrew's College showed off an array of cardboard homes yesterday as part of a nationwide competition to raise awareness about the poor quality of the country's rental stock.

Emma Williams, Alice Gualter and Georgie Smith were among those to use the latest technologies in their cardboard constructions.

The group's design included tinfoil solar panels, triple-glazed windows and underfloor heating, as well as an outdoor fountain and swimming pool.

Fin Currie and Henry Trott took a minimalistic approach, transforming a large cardboard box into a cosy one-man home.

Currie said the pair had done some DIY earthquake testing, placing two school desks and one pupil on top of the box to ensure it didn't collapse.

"We weren't going for anything special, we thought we'd keep it basic but keep it strong, because we all know what Christchurch is like now."

The competition was run by the social justice unit of Christchurch's Anglican Diocese, the Child Poverty Action Group and Unicef.

Anglican Diocese representative Tessa Lang said the organisations wanted young people to think about the importance of warm and safe homes and the difficult state of the rental market.

Lang said the groups had been "overwhelmed" by the response from across the country.

"There's a lot of engagement with the issue: it's not just a fun activity, but pupils are grappling with the issues themselves," she said.

The photos of the cardboard homes would be part of a petition sent to Housing Minister Phil Heatley asking the Government to take action on cold rental housing.

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- The Press

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