Tiny home makes a big difference

Done and dusted . . . After an exhausting long weekend completing the tiny home build, James South is proud of everything that has been accomplished.

Exhausted, excited and overwhelmed, after a long weekend of hard work James South was able to celebrate the completion and successful auction of his tiny home fundraising build.

The two-bedroom house, which sold for $210,000, was constructed within 60 hours with the help of about 50 volunteers. The house was made from donated and discounted materials from local businesses.

All proceeds from the auction were donated to I Am Hope’s Gumboot Friday campaign.

Mr South said the aim was to raise more than $100,000 for the organisation.

He said the support had been amazing.

‘‘It was overwhelming to see it sell for that amount. [It] definitely exceeded expectations — in a dream world we would reach $150,000 and it was overwhelming to watch it go over that.’’

The relocatable home was built on Ara-Te Pukenga’s Timaru campus, where Mr South took a pre-trade course in 2016.

Mr South has been open about his own mental health struggles and wanted to give back to charities that helped youth and the community.

‘‘I struggled with mental health through my teenage years, and it’s been an issue close to my family. I’ve wanted to do something to help. Being a builder, it made sense to use my skills.’’

The house was designed by his uncle, architect Craig South, and was auctioned live on TVNZ’s Breakfast show on Monday.

Mr South said it made sense to donate to this charity as he had used its services before.

‘‘It was the perfect charity to give back into. Mike King definitely needs the help.’’

Overwhelmed with joy . . . Volunteers and James South (far right) celebrate finishing the completion of the tiny home after 60 hours.

He said he hoped to do more projects like this, including a bigger house in a couple of years and go nationwide with it.

The project had been in the works for about 20 months, with two Covid-19 lockdowns getting in the way.

‘‘I have been looking at the plans for a year and a half. It is finally good to have got it under way and finished.’’

The only hiccup was having to wait for the frames to dry, ‘‘but at least we got some sleep in that time’’.

The highlight was seeing everyone rally behind one cause and the amount of people and support they received.

‘‘We had a constant stream of people coming through on the weekend bringing food and drink, it was quite cool.

‘‘It was great to see how many people came and showed support, how many people you could have a conversation with and open up to without being judged. [So] many people support mental health.’’

Mr South had not expected the project to gain as much momentum as it did.

‘‘Our social media accounts had been running since we first started planning this build, we only got about 300 likes then it started jumping up to 1500 likes.’’

Mr South said there was stigma around talking about mental health, for men but also in general.

‘‘Conversations around mental health need to be normalised. There was a lot of mental health chat on site.’’

Mr South said he is proud of the project, as a lot of work and planning was put into it.

‘‘A massive thanks to everyone who donated their time, materials, skills and money to help bring this project to life.’’