In 2006 Claudia Kaltenstadler and her family immigrated to New Zealand. Their first port of call was Fernhill – on the colder side of Queenstown.

Plans to build their own healthy energy-efficient home had to be shelved when it became apparent that despite having the necessary deposit, no bank would give them a mortgage because they didn’t have the required proven 2-year credit history in New Zealand.

Much later on Claudia realised she could have owned her own home a lot sooner when she found out about a service aimed at helping peoples get into homes of their own without assistance from a bank.
In 2007 she started connecting with people in the building industry; finding suppliers; researching energy-efficient homes. She set about finding out what people thought about high-performance homes. She encountered a surprising level of resistance to and misinformation about the subject.

That was the start of her mission to make a difference and help people get into healthier, warmer, more cost-effective homes.

Today Claudia and her team help people with sound advice to build their own energy-efficient homes. Plans to build such homes for people to own within 3 – 5 years are now a reality.

Along the way, Claudia has observed a change in attitude from the building industry and suppliers. They’re starting to appreciate the innovation of high-performance homes and how their businesses can benefit from it now and in future.

Claudia and the team at Harakeke Consultants recently pioneered a discussion group of property professionals and people in related industries. The aim of Christchurch Professional Property People is to identify and combine diverse business opportunities.

The group meets every month to discuss market trends and developments; exchange information and ideas; learn from guest speakers about various topics of benefit to the group as a whole. The group already includes builders; architects; suppliers; valuers developers; Council representatives, amongst others. Banks and real estate principals have also indicated interest in joining the monthly discussions. Everyone in the property, building and real estate sectors is welcome to join the group.

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Harakeke Eco-Homes

Claudia founded Harakeke Consulting as an advisory service to promote the benefits of sustainable, energy-efficient living and gauge the country’s appetite for this revolutionary healthy way of living.

Not only did her initial efforts get a lukewarm response from architects, the building industry, suppliers and potential homeowners, she also encountered significant amount of misinformation and resistance to her plans to get people into warmer, healthier more cost-effective homes, without harming precious natural resources.

A couple of years on the industry and potential homeowners are now embracing the exciting concept of ‘green’ living and construction of these homes are a reality in Christchurch and surrounding areas.

While Harakeke Consulting will continue to provide guidance and advice to anyone interested in getting into their own sustainable home, Harakeke Eco-Homes is going to be responsible for designing and building eco-homes in Canterbury. We will work with suppliers who are already committed to delivering nationwide. We work with builders who are trained to work with our products, or we will build in locally and deliver to your site. Our building professionals have a thorough knowledge of our products and build to the highest standard.

So while Harakeke Consultants is the advisory arm of the business, Harakeke Eco-Homes will make eco-living a reality for New Zealand families by building healthy, cost-effective homes that will stand the test of time.

Harakeke Eco-Homes is a member of the not-for-profit SuperHome Movement.

There’s more to life…

Claudia Kaltenstadler is committed to getting as many people as possible in New Zealand into healthy energy-efficient homes as soon as possible.
However, she’s also of the firm belief that living in such a home is not the end of the story. It’s just the beginning. In order to live a truly sustainable life, an energy-efficient home is only part of the journey:

Living a healthy lifestyle by planting and eating one’s own vegetables, exercising and being aware of potentially harmful man-made environmental dangers are essential to being healthy in ‘body and home’.

To this end the Harakeke Consultants’ blog will regularly feature guest blogs by prominent proponents of healthy living, eating and exercising – everything we need to live a long healthy life.

As Claudia says, “It’s no use having a healthy body and living in a ‘sick’ home, or living in a ‘healthy’ home and having a ‘sick’ body!”