Student-built house heads to Catlins

An Otago Polytechnic student-built house has gone to a good home – the Catlins site of the Otago Youth Adventure Trust.

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Mosgiel freight firm McNeilly Heavy Haulage moved the three-bedroomed 135 m2 house from Otago Polytechnic to the site near Papatowai in late December. The move took two days.

“This is an exciting development for the Otago Youth Adventure Trust Incorporated (OYATI),” says Stephen Woodhead, OYATI President.

“This is the first new building at Tautuku Outdoor Education Centre in many years and will replace an old warden’s house that was moved to the site in 1970 and has not been used in recent years,” Mr Woodhead says.

“Our current warden at Tautuku, who is retiring in the coming year, lives off-site so we haven’t needed a useable house at the camp. However, a warm modern house was needed to attract applicants to the role and enable future wardens to live onsite,” Mr Woodhead says.

“Now that the house is on-site, we are looking forward to it being completed by mid-2023.”

Otago Polytechnic has had a longstanding relationship with OYATI, helping it establish Berwick Camp in the 1980s, Mr Woodhead notes.

“The fact that our organisation’s principal objective is to provide outdoor education with an emphasis on youth provides a very nice link with carpentry students training at Polytechnic – they have built a house that will benefit the wider community for decades to come.”

Kevin Dunbar, Otago Polytechnic Carpentry Senior Lecturer, says the Carpentry department was “very pleased” that OYATI had purchased the house.

“Many of us have had the privilege of attending Tautuku Camp through high school and have life-long memories of the experience.”

“As lecturers, we enjoy empowering our students with the skills and work ethic to succeed in employment. This complements the good work done by OYATI.

“It is a privilege for our students to work with this organisation and know where their house is going to end up.  

“This build has a more personable feel to it for our learners, who know they are supporting a local community group and youth. This gives a bigger sense of ownership and pride.”

Tracey McLennan, Head of Programmes, College of Engineering, Construction and Living Sciences, says the project has been a great opportunity for students.

“Having sold the house to Otago Youth Adventure Trust Incorporated gives our learners a real sense of pride. And when they are in the local area they can stop in and show the house off to family and friends.”

Read the Otago Daily Times article