12 Jun 2012

Marae faces competition to buy 300 state houses

7:18 am on 12 June 2012

A Hawke's Bay marae looking to buy more than 300 state houses in the suburb of Flaxmere says it has been told by Housing New Zealand another party also wants to purchase the properties.

Te Aranga Marae hopes to sell the houses to whanau by giving mortgages on condition the families access marae-based social services if they are experiencing problems such as domestic violence.

Chair of the marae's commercial wing Henare O'Keefe says Housing New Zealand will not reveal who the other prospective buyer is, but he says he is not surprised by the interest.

Mr O'Keefe says the marae hopes to receive funding from the government and other backers to purchase the properties.

He says the marae's unique mortgage plan would in turn save the Government money by reducing crime and other costly social problems in Flaxmere.

He says news of another bidder has forced his team to pursue its plan with more vigour.