All hands to the roof

All hands to the roof

Published in RANZ's RoofLink magazine, Autumn 2020

New Zealand Women in Roofing Hamilton Branch partner with Habitat for Humanity to re-roof an important and much-loved part of the Te Awamutu community.

It has been an inspiration of New Zealand Women in Roofing, which was launched in June 2019 at the Roofing Association New Zealand’s 25th Conference in Queenstown, to be actively involved in charity events throughout the country and, on the 25th of January 2020, that goal became a reality.

While most were relaxing on their long weekend, the all-women team from New Zealand Women in Roofing Hamilton Branch partnered with Habitat for Humanity to reroof 210 Palmer St, Te Awamutu, and gifted our time installing a much-needed roof for people in need in the local surrounding community. The team on the tools were all members of the Roofing Association New Zealand (RANZ) – those businesses being, The Roofing Specialists Limited, Cooke Roofing, Project Unite and Stone Roofing. The block of units we worked on offers affordable housing to elderly residents and people with special needs. Nic Greene, Habitat for Humanity’s Central North Island General manager, said that the Palmer Street units are an icon of Te Awamutu, and form part of their accommodation precinct for elderly people, alongside Freeman Court.

“After years of council ownership, we were recently pleased to take over and look to make much-needed upgrades,” he went onto explain. “The roof on this particular block was identified as being in disrepair, and we were very keen to get it sorted before winter. It was fabulous to hear that Jade and the group wanted to come
on board, and I have no doubt that they will find it incredibly rewarding working in the company of our elderly tenants.”

Residents at Palmer Street retain security of tenure and an affordable rent level through subsidies provided by Habitat or Government programmes. Built from brick in the 1950s, the one-bedroom and bedsit housing units
are in single-level blocks, with a central ‘community room’.

As well as providing rental opportunities, Greene said the housing charity had a strong focus on home repair work in the North Island, where it carries out work at-cost for low income homeowners, asking for no-interest payments up to five years.

“A lot of this work involves re-roofing or roofing repairs, and so we always have our ear to the ground for contractors around the country who’d like to be part of what Habitat does.”

This proved not only a great opportunity to give back to the wider community, but also brought us closer together as a branch, where it was highlighted that even when you work within an office environment you can still pull your socks up and put on a tool belt. Three of the branch members at the time of the re-roof are actively involved in their Long Run Roofing and Metal Installation Apprenticeships, where others within the branch are directors of companies, procurement and quantifying and health and-safety management.

The weekend temperatures hit well over 30 degrees, but the team believed it felt more like 40 degrees up on the roof. Habitat provided all the materials needed to carry out the work, and the branch provided the time
and labour. The tenants were most appreciative of the work done and were constantly offering cold drinks – some even brought lemonade ice blocks and chocolate.

We faced challenges such as excessive heat*, power tools jamming, differing finishing techniques and workmanship expectations, and time away from family and loved ones. The drive to succeed with this re-roof and running as smoothly as possible meant a lot to us as an Association, and we hope to continue carrying out these charity re-roof projects and also inspire others within our industry to partake.

As I look back and reflect on weekend of the 25th and 26th January 2020, it gives me a great sense of pride knowing that we remained focused on what brought us all together in the first place – the empowerment of women in our industry, supported by our four pillars: Education, Mentorship, Recruitment and Networking. I want to thank the entire Hamilton branch team for their efforts to make the re-roof a success. Without each and everyone’s help and assistance, we would not have been able to succeed. Every effort makes a difference!


* Work Safe guidelines on working in extreme temperatures Work Safe has guidelines and requirements for businesses in dealing with extreme temperatures. With outdoor conditions, many of the guidelines relating to environment temperature control do not apply in the onsite roofing context – however there are other aspects around hydration, team education, etc., that do. These guidelines can be found on the Work Safe website; direct link: