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About us


We believe New Zealanders need independent, science-based advice to help them on a pathway to healthier homes.

The people behind HPA

We are a small group of people, with many standing behind us, dedicated to provision of independent, science-based home performance training to help New Zealanders on a pathway to healthier homes. We are committed to this mahi because we believe everyone deserves to live in a home that keeps them warm and healthy, without costing a fortune.

The team comes from a range of technical backgrounds, but we are united in our passion for healthy homes supporting wellbeing. We are dedicated to supporting all kiwis understanding how their home works for them. We see this journey as a way New Zealanders can empower themselves to achieve wellbeing with a healthier home.


It was a great way to provide simplified information on a variety of topics and then be able to pass that knowledge on to clients in a way that they will understand


Co-managers

Jo Wills (Tauranga)

Jo was born in Ngāmotu (New Plymouth) where her whānau has lived for five generations, she now lives in Mount Maunganui after spending time in the UK, South Africa and Australia. She’s trained in sustainability under a scientific framework with strengths in urban wellbeing & transport, and has spent over 10 years involved in this at a local authority level. Jo entered into the world of home performance in 2012 when she became involved in the initial development of the HPA programme which she has been co-managing with Vicki ever since. Jo loves being able to apply her knowledge about sustainable whenua and communities, visiting and assessing homes as well as running DIY workshops (she loves training wāhine to use a power drill!) as part of her role with Sustainability Options.

Vicki Cowan (Wanganui-a-tara/Wellington)

Vicki was born in Ōtepoti (Dunedin), her grandparents came to Aotearoa from England and Scotland. Vicki studied at Otago University and Imperial College in London where she lived for 13 years with her whānau. With a background in ecology (honeybees and fisheries!), Vicki has applied her scientific training and experience to New Zealand housing since 2006. She divides her time co-managing the HPA programme with Jo and working with colleagues at Beacon Pathway and BRANZ on housing research projects that provide evidence about our housing condition and work out how to best to use the information to make things better for all New Zealanders at home.

Trainers

Ian Mayes (Whaingaroa/Raglan)

Ian was a designer and builder for 23 years, mostly in the UK and California. After coming back to NZ in 1999 and completing a Permaculture Design course, he designed and built his own “Eco” home in Raglan where he has lived with his family for 19 years. After working with Xtreme Zero Waste on a timber and building product recycling programme he became the Eco Design Advisor for 12 years at Hamilton City Council. He reckons he must have visited up to 10 houses a week and he's seen every type of problem a house can have. Ian is a member of the original “dream team” that developed the first HPA course that started back in 2013. Ian's an encyclopedia of home performance knowledge and has an almost uncontrollable passion for educating kiwis about home performance.

Verney Ryan (Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland)

Verney has a background in architecture and planning and specialised in environmental behaviour change, energy efficiency and low carbon community design before he became embroiled in the home performance journey with Beacon Pathway. Now he looks at the radical improvements needed to deliver higher performance housing across Aotearoa, as well as solutions for the resilient and sustainable neighbourhoods of the future. He has been involved in the delivery of a number of retrofit and demonstration housing projects. There’s nothing Verney likes better than talking to others about how to construct and ‘sail’ their homes to achieve comfortable, healthy, and more environmentally respectful outcomes (probably because no one in his direct family ever listens to him, as you’ll no doubt hear on the course).

Nik Gregg (Tauranga)

Nik originally hails from Taihape in the central North Island and now resides in Tauranga Moana. Nik initially trained in business and then spent a good couple of decades in corporate management before setting out on a journey with his brother to promote and advance sustainable living, with a desire and passion to help all New Zealanders to live in better housing conditions. For the past 14 years Nik has visited thousands of homes, seeking to help whānau improve their whare, to live in healthier homes, and to enjoy more sustainable living outcomes. Every year Nik visits hundreds of homes throughout the Bay of Plenty and holds community workshops all over the North Island. Nik joined the HPA team in 2015 and has loved sharing his knowledge, experiences and learnings with all those who travel the housing performance journey.


Our hītōria/history

HPA is an established training programme, offering courses across New Zealand and online. We're backed by research organisations like BRANZ and Beacon Pathway who contribute the latest building science, while home performance experts, such as Ian Mayes, the Eco Design Advisor network (EDA) and the team at Sustainability Options contribute their on-the-job experience.

We grew out of a collaboration between Beacon Pathway, Community Energy Network (CEN), and Toimata Foundation. These three organisations had the vision of building a network of informed, independent home performance advisors across New Zealand. They continue to provide strategic guidance. HPA is also grateful for supporting organisations who are strong advocates for our training, particularly Sustainability Options.

Today, more than 100 advisors have been HPA-certified - all have signed a code of conduct to provide advice independent of sales and products. HPA is backed by the sector. The Eco-Design Advisor network recognise our courses: all new EDAs must be HPA-certified. The New Zealand Green Building Council recognises our courses for HomeFit assessor training and district health boards have sent health workers on our courses for professional development.


My confidence as a home adviser has definitely improved as a result of the knowledge and skills gained through the HPA training. The 3 days of the course was great in its friendly, but focused delivery. This was complemented by a good balance of course content plus hands-on assessments to really solidify what I’d learnt. Great stuff!


Our kaupapa

HPA's kaupapa - our reason for being - is to raise the standard of advice given by practitioners in New Zealand homes so that advice and recommendations:

  • focus on 'whole of house' performance
  • are backed by Western science and informed by mātauranga Māori
  • are practical and relevant to the householders and in their best interests
  • are independent of product, brands, and organisations
  • consider the health of our planet and the impact that environmental health has on people

Poor housing is causing bad health, we can do something about it with this new information


Our tikanga

It’s important to us to bring to life the principles of Te Tiriti O Waitangi (partnership, protection and equity) through our training programmes. We are doing this by co-designing our new courses with those who are on the ground, delivering the mahi into kiwi homes, as well as an adopting an active awareness, appreciation and implementation of te ao Māori within our practice. This is a journey for us and we invite you to join us!

As course participants we consider you manuhiri. Whanaungatanga is important to us that’s why we’ve shared about bit about us on this website and will invite you to share something about yourself on the course. You’ll hear us korero the HPA whakataukī at the beginning of each course and we’ll make space for your voice throughout. All our courses begin a mihi whakatau, so we learn about each other and make those important connections.

We will embrace Te Reo Māori and English in our course content, materials and delivery as two of the three national languages of Aotearoa.

HPA's whakataukī

Mā te whakaatu, ka mohio

Mā te mohio, ka mārama

Mā te mārama, ka mātau

Mā te mātau, ka ora

Through discussion, comes knowledge

Through knowledge, comes understanding

Through understanding, comes wisdom

Through wisdom, comes wellbeing

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