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Rising from the ashes

Burnt shell of the Featherston house. PHOTOS/FILE

Trust House planning more housing
Trust House turns tragedy to triumph after two suspected arsons. KAREN COLTMAN and Gianina Schwanecke report.

Several new units will be added to Trust House’ social housing portfolio as part of efforts to replace two properties damaged in suspicious fires last year.

A house at 3 Wakefield St, Featherston was destroyed by fire three months ago in a suspected arson while one half of an attached two-dwelling home in Opaki was badly damaged by fire in early December.

Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard said it was an opportunity for the trust to increase its housing stock on land it owned.

“We are planning to build three one-bedroom units on the [Featherston] site, because this is what the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development informed us was the need in Featherston,” he said.

“We are hoping we can get on with the project in the next few months and get the planning and building consent processes through the council.”

The flats in Featherston would be similar to the six small units the trust built in Kuripuni St, Masterton but the designs were not yet finalised.

The fire-damaged house in Opaki.

The trust was reviewing plans to replace the old Opaki dwelling with three to four two-bedroom units.

“It’s very early days though,” he said.

The two houses would be demolished as soon as owners Trust House Ltd get the go-ahead from insurance assessors.

The replacements and the Kuripuni development could see the trust’s housing supply increase by another 14 to 16 units as early as March 2021.

Trust House owns and manages almost 500 rental homes, from one-bedroom units to four-bedroom houses, in Masterton, Martinborough, Featherston, Pahiatua, and Dannevirke.

Pollard said it was lucky the trust was in the financial position to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Our biggest problem is capital.

“What we’re looking to do is utilise the current land that we’ve got.

“At the end of the day, it’s really good that we can use this as an opportunity.”

Police said the Featherston house fire, which started in the early hours of October 25 last year, was considered a suspected arson.

No arrests had been made.

“The investigation remains open and the fire is a suspected arson,” Detective Sergeant Bill van Woerkom said.

The house was empty at the time of the fire and the tenants had not been in touch with Trust House about it since the fire.

An investigation into the Opaki fire was ongoing and no charges had been laid.

The family in the adjoining unit, which received minimal damage, had been put up in another Solway property by the trust.

  • Police are asking anyone with further information to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go online at crimestoppers-nz.org.


  1. The trust has done a terrible disservice to neighbors in the Featherston case. For years yhat property has had noisy dogs, domestic frakas, and has caused the neighbors endless grief. Theres no wzy the should be increasing density on the site given their track record in the community

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