Keep up to date with what's happening at Switched On Group as we continue to enhance environments for whānau, businesses and communities across Aotearoa.

Here, we'll share stories about our kaimahi, projects, community kaupapa and successes in the industry. 

Whānau-centred approach to maintenance in North

21 December 2023

It’s four hours out to the end of the road just to scope some of the unique maintenance jobs our Switched On Housing Region 7 kaimahi take on through Te Mahi Ngātahi partnership with Kāinga Ora. Overseeing maintenance throughout Hawke’s Bay, Wairoa, Gisborne and the remote East Coast comes with its challenges, but our team knows the area well and enjoy looking after local whānau in their community.

Shaun Frame, Gisborne Delivery Lead says that taking care of each other is just how small towns work, and this is reflected through the manaaki, aroha, and community focused ‘Switched-On’ way of working.

“Our team are all in this job because they believe in the same values. In our office, we all have a connection to Gisborne, or the Coast and we often already know the people whose homes we are visiting on the job; sometimes we are even related. We look after everyone like whānau here and just make it work no matter what. Our local trades love the work too because it’s about helping other locals,” he says.

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Delivery Lead Shaun, with Delivery Supervisor Rocky Monika

With 85 homes up the Coast alone to take care of, Shaun’s team rely on their relationships with ‘Gizzy trades’ to get the job done – from carpet layers to plumbers. Recently, one of the team’s painting contractors spent several days staying in bunkbeds near the end of the road up the Coast in Hicks Bay. They spruced up the exterior of 10 properties – about half of the total homes in the small town.

It can be difficult to get supplies into hard-to-reach spots like this, especially following Cyclone Gabrielle, which caused a lot of damage to access roads across Gisborne, Wairoa and the Hawke’s Bay. For example, Shaun explains that the team needs to order from Placemakers in Napier, wait for supplies to reach Gisborne (a 4-hour drive), and then head out to outlying areas with what they need. This can cause tight timeframes for delivery.

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Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast, where the Gisborne team often travel for mahi.

Nearby in Hawke’s Bay, the local team continue to deliver large volumes of maintenance work, including working on many properties that need a full renovation from the bathroom, right through to the kitchen. Demand for housing in the area is high, particularly following the cyclone, and the team are always conscious of the whānau who are waiting for a new space, or need their home maintained so they can enjoy living there. 11 fully renovated homes are being delivered by the team for whānau to move into before Christmas, bringing extra festive joy for kaimahi amongst the hard work.

Despite the hurdles Region 7 often overcomes on the job, they are known for simply doing what it takes for the people they serve – an attitude that is echoed across Switched On Housing. As the holidays draw close, Gisborne have offered their office BBQ and generator to a large whānau with power issues, and worked to understand why some long-term elderly residents just want their home left as it is for now, for sentimental reasons. The Hastings team has been busy supporting the Christmas Elves of Hawke’s Bay – a kaupapa to support local families – with Switched On fundraising partners Beard Brothers cooking up sausages in support of the initiative too.

The Region 7 team is creating positive outcomes for local whānau and have been recognised for their leadership, manaaki, customer aroha, community contribution and care for one another in Switched On Group’s Annual Awards.