House that students built sold for $195,000

As bidders' hearts raced, Otago Polytechnic's latest Charity House sold at auction for $195,000 at the weekend, lifting to about $550,000 the overall funds raised for Otago charities through the project.

Brighton residents Peter and Jane Smith ended up spending $10,000 more than they had intended during the lively auction, at the polytechnic's L Block at Anzac Ave, Dunedin, on Saturday afternoon. But they were pleased to have bought this year's four-bedroom home, complete with an en-suite.

Mr Smith, who is a firefighter at the Dunedin Central fire station and a member of the Brighton Volunteer Fire Brigade, said he and his wife had spent "a bit more" than their intended $185,000 maximum during their first auction.

"It's a good buy and it [the money raised] goes to a good cause," he said.

Mrs Smith, a theatre nurse at Dunedin Hospital, added "my heart's racing; I don't know about anyone else", as she recovered from the excitement of the auction.

They were also pleased to have contributed to a project which was also "really good for young people", given that carpentry skills learned in building the house would later help polytechnic students find work.

The couple plan to move the house on to a property at Brighton.

Under the polytechnic's Charity House initiative, now in its sixth year, polytechnic carpentry students build a house for auction, with the profits donated to more than 30 local charities.

After the auction, polytechnic authorities presented a cheque for $85,000 to Don Oliver, the chief executive of the fundraising distributor, United Way.

Polytechnic communications director Mike Waddell said the project was improving the skills of polytechnic carpentry students, and giving them strong job satisfaction and a strong sense of social responsibility, as well as contributing to charity.

Organisers said bidding had been more competitive for the latest Charity House, which fetched $10,000 more than last year's house.