News | 14 October 2022

A home away from home: Preeti’s story

Adorning every wall is a picture of family. A photo of her parents, smiling proudly with their arms wrapped around each other. Her four sisters with their children, their husbands. Her best friend. All cherished memories from a life back home in Delhi, miles away from Wellington.

Woman standing and smiling at the camera with photos on the wall behind her.

Yet home to Preeti Pathak is a state-of-mind. It’s where you find a space that fits you, where you can be yourself. 

For her, the Te Kāinga Aroha apartments have become her home away from home. Where she has started a new life for herself, and kick-started a career. 

As one of five daughters, Preeti decided she didn’t want to settle down in marriage and had dreams of travelling overseas. Her parents were supportive of her dreams since she was a little girl – even though uncommon in her culture.

“People used to tell my parents, ‘don’t let her go abroad, she might take the wrong path'. But I don’t care what they say. I’m strong enough on my own, I can live by myself,” says Preeti.

With a background in IT, Preeti moved to Nelson in 2018 on a student visa, and ended up moving to Wellington in 2019. She now works as a Research Assistant/Database Coordinator at Wellington Hospital after working hard to grow in her field.

Shrine with candles.

When she reflects on the hardest part of moving, she says it was reassuring her family that she was okay when there was so much distance between them. 

“I always tell my mum ‘you raised me for 24 years. You made food every day for me. How would I forget you? How could I not be okay? You gave me this good life’. There is not a single day when I don't call them. We work through the time difference. Now they know I am happy and safe, it’s a lot easier.”

Previous to finding her apartment in 2021, Preeti found herself flitting about the city trying to establish a place to live in Wellington. She lived on her friend’s couch for a couple of weeks and then after that she stayed with a family of three.

“When I first moved to Wellington, for a whole year I didn’t go outside much. I was always in my room because I had to think about every trip into the city, and was in someone else’s home. It was really hard.”

A woman pointing at photos hanging down the wall.

Now, she has found comfort being in her own space at the Te Kāinga Aroha apartments, in the heart of the city. She’s been able to stretch her legs and explore over the last year of living there.

“The name Te Kāinga translates to ‘home’ and that’s perfect for how I feel. This is now mine. This is my home. I know shortcuts across the city. I walk everywhere. When I was little, my Mama used to say to me ‘Do you have wheels in your legs? You never sit still’,” says Preeti.

“Now when I get home from work, I have the choice to do what I want. Maybe I'll make a cup of tea, watch TV, then go for a run. If you're by yourself, you need to be strong. You can’t depend on anyone.”

Kitchen in the Te Kainga apartments.

As a young woman living abroad, finding four walls of her own has given her a strong foundation to build a life in the city.

Preeti says, “I feel safe living in this apartment because this building is secure. No one can come up without your permission. And all the neighbours are also very quiet and nice. I never feel like I’m even renting this apartment. I can live here as long I want. You don’t have to renew your lease. The Te Kāinga Team are very kind, supportive and friendly. They have really cared for me in my time here.”

Lounge suite in the Te Kainga apartments.

Pieces of Preeti are seen across her apartment. The space has become her, and shows off the colourful parts of her personality.

All her furniture is curated from Facebook marketplace. She’s especially proud of her lounge suite, which she got for free and allows her to entertain large groups of friends. 

Woman smiling at plants on a windowsill.

Small touches have been added to make it feel homely. Plants cover the ledges, soaking up the sun as it pours in and heats her home. 

She has a tomato plant which delivered 10 perfect tomatoes in the winter. There is a Tulsi plant, native to her home in Delhi and a sacred reminder of where she came from. 

Bed infront of a window, with a view of the city.

Her bedroom has windows from the ceiling to the floor that let her gaze out into the city, and helps soothe her thoughts.

“I love to watch what's happening outside and see people walking. The thing about this place is I really don't feel alone here,” says Preeti.

Looking towards the future, Preeti doesn’t see herself moving. She’s planning on building a stronger foundation, for herself and her family. 

Woman sitting on a couch with her arm propped up.

“I want to make my parents happy. I want them to know how hard they worked for me. I want to give them all the happiness so I try my best. 

“If you struggle in your life, the good times will come. I’m a resident here now and they’re comforted knowing that I’ve found a way to make Wellington home.”

Find out more about Te Kāinga long-term rental apartments and check out current vacancies at tekainga-apartments.nz.