Jump to content

Cash boost to help warm up homes

1 October 2021

Ongoing efforts to warm up cold, damp homes in the Central North Island and King Country have been given a cash boost.


The Lines Company (TLC) has increased its funding to Maru Energy Trust (Maru) by 50 per cent – up from $100,000 last year to $150,000 this year.

Maru is a locally-based not-for-profit charitable trust which takes practical steps to help homes become warmer, drier and healthier. Warmer homes help children and families stay healthier, keeping health issues like colds, bronchitis and asthma at bay.

And because home heating can account for a third of household energy bills, keeping homes warmer helps drive down bills for families already under financial pressure.

Maru was established in August 2018 by TLC, with the support of Waitomo Energy Services Customer Trust (WESCT) and is run completely independently. Since January 2019, Maru has insulated 575 local homes – helping to keep energy bills down for customers on TLC’s network.

TLC has already donated over $200,000 to the Trust in cash and kind, which is part of the government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme. The latest increase from the lines business aims to further support more local families on the TLC network.

TLC chief executive Sean Horgan said Maru is doing exactly what TLC intended when it helped establish the Trust.

“Since it was launched, Maru has improved the quality of hundreds of homes across our network by installing insulation or improving heating. That’s exactly what it was set up for,” Horgan said.

“The challenge the Trust now has is that there are more applications than it can deal with, and our increase in funding this year reflects that demand. The beauty of being a locally-owned organisation is that we can be nimble and give back directly, knowing the money is going to where it is most needed.”

Maru Energy Trust chair Brian Hanna said there were “far too many” homes locally that were cold and damp.  Families living in cold, damp conditions did it incredibly hard, he said.

“We don’t live in the tropics, we live in the King Country, and are proud of it! However, we all know we can have cold and damp conditions in our winters in our part of the world,” Hanna said.

​​​​​​​“That is incredibly difficult for all families, but particularly for older people and young children, or for those with poor health. What’s great about Maru is that it gets stuck in and does something practical to help. That’s what I like about being part of this programme; we simply get things done.”

Hanna said the additional money from TLC was welcomed and would boost support from other Maru sponsors including King Country Electric Power Trust, Ōtorohanga Charitable Trust, Trust Waikato and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

​​​​​​​Maru recently began supporting eligible homeowners with the installation of heat pumps, and since October 1, has provided third-party funding for the installation of 110 heat pumps under the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme.

Homeowners wanting more information should visit Maru Energy Trust or EMAIL THE team.

For more information contact