Berryman building on Riverhead success - August 16 2016

This Selah Homes house in Riverhead won a gold in it's division at the Registered Master Builders House of Year awards.

Whether it's flash houses in Auckland's north west or small yet solid homes for families in the pacific, building is more than just a job for Selah Homes founder Mark Berryman.

The 29-year-old has travelled to Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Fiji and most recently Samoa helping to build houses in poor communities.

Starting the company nine years ago at the age of 20 he and an apprentice built a small business focusing on renovations and maintenance.

The oak interior makes the house look and feel warm.

They now have a staff of about 50 and recently won gold at the Registered Master Builders House of Year awards for a house in Riverhead.

The gold was in the Future-Proof Building New Home $500,000 - $650,000 (building cost) category for the Auckland-Northland region.

Selah is also one of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand, twice making the top 20 in the Deloitte Fast 50 in 2013 and 2014.

The open tread staircase with glass balustrades.
Mark Berryman

Berryman says the house is one back from the river so was designed to maximise views relative to its' position.

The chocolate cedar cladding with white trim creates a point of difference outside, while the copper accents create further interest inside the four-bedroom, two-storey home.

Stepping inside, the oak kitchen, lounge and flooring add warmth to the home and tie it into its riverside surroundings, with two river views to be taken in from the living rooms and bedrooms.

Selah Homes founder Mark Berryman (centre) and staff with volunteers from Habitat For Humanity built dozens of homes for ...
Mark Berryman
Selah Homes founder Mark Berryman (centre) and staff with volunteers from Habitat For Humanity built dozens of homes for families in Samoa.

Another point of interest is the open tread staircase which draws the eye upwards with the glass balustrades creating a floating effect, accompanied with chic bathrooms and a fourth multi-purpose room.

While the house was created with the woody surrounds of Riverhead in mind Berryman says his work is also inspired by his time spent building houses in the pacific.

He recently spent two months volunteering in Samoa building 39 cyclone-proof houses with seven of his staff for families in need as part of a New Zealand Aid (NZAid) funded project but he has been building homes for Habitat for Humanity since he was 15.

Mark Berryman says he's proud to have his team's work recognised.

"It was a challenge designing and constructing houses for families within a very limited budget, that were cyclone proof and culturally appropriate," he says.

The families pay for materials and help with the building which Berryman says gives them pride and ownership in the process.

"It's more than just a building, these houses help with health, education, family finances and stability," he says, "it really helps to lift them out of the poverty cycle."

Houses for Humanity have a contract with NZAid to build 270 more houses in Samoa over the next two-and-a-half years.

Berryman says he hopes it is the start of many such partnerships.

He is heading back to Samoa next week, saying the pay-off he gets is the happiness on on people's faces when they get to move into their new house.

"That's the joy I get out of it."

If you are interested in volunteering in the Pacific visit or phone Habitat for Humanity NZ on  09 579 4111.

 - Stuff