My involvement with Dwell began as a volunteer with Wellington Housing Trust (WHT) back in March 2007, helping Alison out with whatever needed doing in the office. This was only a few months after I moved to Wellington from the UK, after 13 years in social housing there. I joined the board a few months later in June, so WHT and Dwell have been a substantial part of my time in New Zealand and hugely significant in my life here. Back in 2007 WHT had about 26 homes with our first new build development underway at Stoke Street in Newtown.
Fast forward 10 years, and Dwell owns or manages over 80 tenancies, with four new build developments completed, and our largest to date, 14 new homes in Kilbirnie, due to start on site in early 2018. We now offer shared home ownership and supportive housing. We have also expanded out of Wellington city to start offering good quality affordable housing in Hutt City, Porirua and Kapiti. A lot of this was made possible by the merger of Mahora House Inc. and WHT in 2013 - two longstanding organisations, each with over 30 years of experience and history, with a similar kaupapa.
More often than may be realised, mergers don't go smoothly. The fact that ours was so successful was testament to the hard work and commitment of all the staff, volunteers, board members and other backers involved.
When we launched Dwell we talked about honouring the past and welcoming the future. I was very conscious of the commitment, time and great work of all those people who had worked for, supported and contributed to Mahora House and WHT over the years. None of what we have achieved since then with Dwell would have been possible without them.
And with that, nau mai haere mai to our new chair Keith, and to the next stage in Dwell's future. It promises to be a really exciting time, as Dwell explores new opportunities to provide homes and places where people and communities flourish and thrive.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people.
Ngā mihi nui - paul.
Paul at the opening of our Berhampore homes in September 2011 - with Alison Cadman and the then Minister of Housing Hon Phil Heatley
On behalf of everyone involved with Dwell - our tenants, board members, staff, volunteers, supporters, and all stakeholders I want to say our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Paul. He has made a huge contribution and achieved so much. We are in awe of the all the work done by Paul.
We will miss his passion and vision for Dwell; his knowledge of affordable housing; and the calm, considered and intelligent way he undertook the role of chair. He was not just the Dwell chair but a much liked and respected colleague and friend.
Tēnā rawa atu koe