13 Feb 2014

Housing project opens in Mangere

3:28 pm on 13 February 2014

A $4.3 million Government-funded housing development in South Auckland officially opened on Thursday morning.

Nick Smith cuts the ribbon at the opening of the housing project in South Auckland.

Housing Minister Nick Smith cuts the ribbon at the opening of the Matanikolo Housing Project in Mangere. Photo: RNZ

The Matanikolo Housing Project in Mangere started in 2012. It consists of 22 homes and its goal is to provide homes for Pasifika families who are living in crowded and unhealthy accommodation.

Matanikolo means Gateway in Tongan, and at the project's inception it was hoped it would become a gateway to better opportunities for the Tongan community.

One young mother of three, Fitalika Leha'uli, said that without the development her own family of five would have been unable to move out of her parents home, in which more than a dozen people lived.

"Especially like in South Auckland, in Mangere, rent is pretty high, and expecially houses which are this nice and friendly. Having this project is of benefit to our church people and our whole community, just to have this environment for our children."

Housing Minister Nick Smith said the houses were low cost to rent and the government partnered with groups, including the Tongan Methodist Parish and Airedale Property Trust, to ensure the right families were identified to move into them.

He said plans were underway to build more houses but nothing had been signed off.