Homeownership dream comes true

October 22, 2021

Homeownership dream comes true

Homeownership Dream Comes True

Sally Va’afusuaga has made homeownership history. Tāmaki Regeneration (TRC) helped Sally, a teacher at Point England School, buy a home in Glen Innes in 14 months as part of the OWN IT affordable housing programme.

“There’s a sense of stability and security when you own your own place. I’ve always had the big picture in mind,” Sally says. One of the programme’s options, Co-Own It sees TRC purchase part of the home alongside people with a strong Tāmaki connection - like Sally.

Now Sally owns the house outright after purchasing TRC’s shares earlier this year – a first for the OWN IT programme. Eventually all whānau in the Co-Own It option will buy TRC’s shares when they are able to. “Buying out TRC’s shares has given me a sense of achievement and I’m feeling really blessed,” Sally says.

Her home-ownership journey began back in 2016 when she heard about the programme at a community meeting. “It sparked my interest in housing in the area. Working at Point England School, I knew there were some changes happening in Tāmaki.”

The next step for Sally was attending OWN IT workshops at Tāmaki College, which helped her work out what she could afford and provided her confidence that she was mortgage ready at the end of the course.

She went on the waiting list, and after a couple of years of hard saving, a two-bedroom house became available in 2019. Sally bought the house with the help of TRC in January 2020. “My intention was always to buyback the shares as much as I could. I saved hard, in particular during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Teachers were also given a pay increase, so I was able to afford it.”

Sally has many connections to the Tāmaki area, which made her eligible for the programme. Her links to Tāmaki stretch back to the mid-1960s when her family lived in a state home for a short time on Pilkington Rd.

“Three of my older brothers went to Point England School and the eldest brother went to St Pius before the family moved out south. Today, some of my family still live and work in Glen Innes.” Sally has worked at Point England School since 2000 and before that, had worked at a bank in Panmure.

Her role at the school is to coordinate the physical education and sports programme, creating opportunities for students to be healthy and active. These opportunities include connecting students and whānau to local sports clubs and participating in competitions in the Tāmaki area. “You meet wonderful people throughout the school community and amazing people through children’s sport. I love the great potential, the diversity and the central location.”

Sally has been promoting the OWN IT programme to others she meets in the community. “It’s part of my story when I catchup with people. From there, people are curious about purchasing a home here.

“The communication from TRC with updates kept me going while waiting for the home. I was told what’s happening, what’s coming up. Being able to ask questions was also really important.” Sally’s advice to people eligible for TRC’s affordable housing programme is simple. “Don’t give up, have faith, be patient, ask questions and stay in touch. Keep looking after your finances and think of the bigger picture. Never say never. You can do it”.

TRC’s general manager – social transformation Afoa Tevita Malolo says Sally is the first of four whanau who have bought all or some of TRC’s shares in their homes. “It’s awesome that some of our local whānau are buying back TRC’s shares so quickly. I’m really proud of their efforts and know there will be more to come.”


  • Live in or have a connection to Tāmaki
  • Have NZ residency or citizenship
  • Be working and have a total household income of up to $130,000
  • Be a first home buyer

Find out more at tamakiaffordablehomes.co.nz