For the past three years, only two of the four elements on Julie’s stove worked – one on high temperature only, and the other on high temperature before switching itself off.
“My oven was at a point where I had to put a wooden spoon in the door to shut it, to keep the heat in and the racks inside,” she says. “I was so used to using it that way, but on the other hand, if I got visitors nobody could use it because they’d burn everything.”
Her best friend’s oven had the same issue and the pair would often laugh about it. However, during COVID-19 lockdown, the wires at the back of her friend’s faulty oven ignited and her house caught on fire.
“Luckily, they were at home, but they were all working outside,” says Julie. “When they went back inside, the whole kitchen was up in smoke. They managed to put the fire out, but the kitchen was destroyed and the ceilings throughout the house were ruined.”
Julie says she freaked out because her stove had been in the same condition for years.
“It was a safety concern. I mentioned it to Hinehou, and she said they could help me out. I’m really appreciative of that support. I started work at the beginning of Level 3 and am only working 20 hours, so it wouldn’t have been a priority for me to buy a stove. But now I’m smiling from ear-to-ear because I can’t believe I’ve been given one. No big pork bone pots on my new stove,” she joked.
Julie says she was also completely blown away to receive a hygiene pack.
“It’s been fantastic – like getting a new car. I needed some of those products but wouldn’t have bought them. I’m still using my hand sanitiser and all the cleaning products. It’s been a great help. Whānau Ora rocks for me.”