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 realized 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 too 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 the future.


Harakeke  Consultants


Harakeke Consultants is 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 Consultants will continue to provide guidance and advice to anyone, who is interested in getting into their own sustainable home, Claudia believes, Prefab or Flat-Pack Homes is going to be the norm in the next few years in New Zealand. The country needs more sustainable homes, fast to build and cost effective to run. We cannot expect to stand still and don’t change the NZ Building Code. We are 20-25 years behind the rest of the world, it’s time for a change.

Harakeke is currently working with suppliers on a prefab system, who are also committed to deliver nationwide their products. From a Structural Insulated Panel system, to a timber frame prefabricated panel system or a CLT-structure. Our team works with builders, who are trained to work with high performance products, to get you the result, what you deserve. Our building professionals have a thorough knowledge of the products and build to the highest standard.

So while Harakeke Consultants is an advisory arm, Harakeke would like to see a Prefab or Flat-Pack System, which makes Energy Efficient Homes a reality for New Zealand families by building healthy, cost-effective homes that will stand the test of time.

There’s more to life…

Claudia  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 Harakeke Consultants will blog interesting subjects around Design & Build, organize seminars, workshops or webinars to discuss the importance of a healthy home.

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!”