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Celebration of volunteerism - 500 people in a week

9 March 2005

"A celebration of volunteerism - 500 people in one week!"

500 volunteers, $500,000 and 5 families with a brand new house each...ALL IN ONE WEEK! This is what Habitat for Humanity means by a 'Blitz Build!' Coinciding with Volunteer Awareness week (March 7 - 13) the Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build will be a celebration of the fantastic work done by volunteers in the community.

"Over 500 volunteers have registered to participate in the building event," explains Event Manager Warren Jack "The fact that we now have to turn away hundreds more is testament to the phenomenal kiwi spirit that seeks to build our communities."

The Blitz Build is a partnership and community approach to solving substandard and overcrowding problems in New Zealand. Volunteers, individuals, corporate staff teams, current and future Habitat home owners will all join together from 12 - 19 March in one highly coordinated logistical effort to ensure each family can walk through the front door of their new home at 1.00pm on Sunday afternoon.

Each day will start at 7:30am with breakfast; briefing and a safety talk on site at Templeton Place, Clendon, Manurewa and volunteers will work through to 5pm. The approximate building schedule for the week is as follows:

12 March Walls up, ceiling panels and roof trusses on

14 March Roof and weatherboards on

15 March Weatherboards continue, windows, door frames

16 March Paint outside, posts and fences

17 March Paint inside, fencing, concrete paths

18 March Finish fencing, ground prep

19 March Final touch ups

20 March House Dedications

A builder will oversee each house and underneath him there will be another 5 builders as team leaders. Each team leader will have a group of volunteers assigned to them, with over 100 people on site each day. The volunteers are a great mix of people - spanning a variety of ages, backgrounds and occupations. Peter Watts who is the musical director and conductor of Auckland Choral will be among those volunteering. A team from the USA is also flying in especially for this build - they will spend the week prior sight-seeing and the week of the Blitz Build - volunteering. As part of Habitat for Humanity's international volunteering programme they not only pay for all of their expenses but also bring a donation to the project. The five partner homeowner families will also be working on site during the week. The families will purchase the homes that they help build by taking a loan out to Habitat for Humanity on a no-profit, no-interest basis with affordable repayments.

The Blitz Build marks the 10th year of Habitat for Humanity in Manukau. The completion of the build will see the 50th family house by Habitat Manukau, which is one of 19 branches of Habitat for Humanity nationwide. Those 19 branches have housed nearly 240 families.

"Habitat for Humanity throughout New Zealand and the world is a volunteer based and driven organisation. Volunteers draw the plans, get the consents, raise the funds and build the houses," explains National Executive Director Grant Cathro. "Thanks to these volunteers Habitat has built over 170,000 homes in 100 countries since its inception in 1976. Somewhere in the world a Habitat home is completed every 26 minutes."

Committed to the Tsunami response Habitat will be building 35,000 houses over the next 2 years for Tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia. Funds raised during this Blitz Build will go toward helping build 10 other homes in the Asia Pacific region.

To arrange an interview with local, overseas volunteers, Habitat for Humanity staff, or partner homeowner families please feel free to contact Diane Vergara. PH. 0211626711

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is an international Christian organisation dedicated to eliminating substandard housing. Working in partnership with people of goodwill and families in need more than 200 houses have been built in New Zealand since 1993. Internationally, by the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build and are buying through no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.

Habitat for Humanity International www.habitat.org http://www.habitat.org/ Habitat for Humanity New Zealand http://www.habitatnz.co.nz/ http://www.habitatnz.co.nz/events_future.html

Habitat for Humanity New Zealand, 11 Marewa Road, Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand.

Phone: 64-9-529 4111 Fax: 64-9-529 5111 Email: admin@habitatnz.co.nz www.habitatnz.co.nz

Patron: Her Excellency The Hon. Dame Silvia Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE. Governor General of New Zealand

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