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Source: Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Enabling those with disabilities to experience the joy of sailing just got easier thanks to a donation of nearly $7000. 

The Bay of Plenty Disabled Sailing Trust, which operates out of Rotorua, was presented with $6883, thanks to the sale of the Toi Ohomai Charity House.

The community organisation was one of six presented with cheques at a function at Toi Ohomai on Wednesday evening.

The funds came from the profits of the sale of the 2019 Charity House.  The project, which has been running since 2013, sees Toi Ohomai carpentry students build a home with support from industry partners. 

Professionals McDowell Real Estate has been on board since the project’s inception, using their expertise to market and sell the property, and the money raised is given to Rotary Rotorua Sunrise Charitable Trust to distribute throughout the community. 

This grassroots project brings together carpentry and electrical students with local tradespeople and suppliers in partnership for the community. 

Bay of Plenty Disabled Sailing Trust’s Pete Skevington accepted the cheque and says the money will go towards buying another boat and help get more people into sailing.

He says the volunteer-based organisation helped those with disabilities to experience sailing. The organisation has a wide range of clients with varying needs.

“We get such fantastic reactions from people who are so excited to get out on a boat. Many of them never thought it would be something they would be able to do.

“We’ve had people screaming with excitement. It’s great to be able to enable that in our community. It is such a great experience for them and us.” 

Te Āhuru Mōwai Rotorua School for Young Parents was awarded $8408, which Kate Feisst says will go towards a fence to keep the babies safe. 

“We’ve recently moved into our new space at Toi Ohomai and we still have some things we need to do to make it safe for our babies and this will help us make sure it is fully fenced.” 

Rotorua Mountain Bike Club was given $8000 which will go towards 100 doses of “the green stick”. 

Club Secretary Barbara Jenks says the club was a vital part of the emergency services landscape, with their first Response Service rescuing more than 1600 people since its inception in 2016. 

The green stick is an immediate pain relief that is used by their Emergency Response team.  

Rotary Rotorua Sunrise president Hielke Oppers says more than $200,000 has been distributed to the community through the Charity House project. 

“This would not be possible without the support of the partners and without their generosity, there would be no money to hand out at the end of each build.” 

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the Charity House project is something that keeps on giving. 

“When a community works together we can get astonishing things done.” 


Age Concern Rotorua – $768 
Aratika Cancer Trust – $500 
Bay of Plenty Disabled Sailing Trust – $6883 
Rotorua District Riding for the Disabled – $2439 
Rotorua Mountain Bike Club – $8000 
Te Āhuru Mōwai Rotorua School for Young Parents – $8408 

The Charity House Project wouldn’t be possible without the following industry partners and suppliers: 

•    Carpet Court Rotorua
•    Hepburn Electrical Ltd
•    Hume Pine (NZ) Ltd
•    John Chittenden Design
•    Lee Brothers Cabinets & Joinery
•    Michelangelo Plasterers
•    Mitre10 Mega Rotorua
•    Professionals McDowell Real Estate Ltd
•    Red Stag Timber
•    Resene Paints Ltd
•    Roofing Industries (Taupo) Ltd
•    Rylock Bay of Plenty
•    Scaffolding NZ Ltd
•    Scott Electrical Ltd
•    The Lewis Plumbing Company
•    Yellow Fin Painting Ltd
•    Lighting Direct
•    Dux Industries  
•    Kohla 
•    Hydroflow 
•    Marley New Zealand 
•    Plumbing World 
•    Rheem New Zealand