22 Feb 2012

Iwi helps with quake homeowners' legal costs

6:40 am on 22 February 2012

Ngai Tahu says its people are turning to the tribe for help with legal and engineering advice about their earthquake-damaged homes in Christchurch.

The South Island iwi says tangata whenua are seeking professional support following their earlier calls for food, water, shelter and heating.

Ngai Tahu's Earthquake Recovery Working Group is overseeing a $2.3 million fund set up to assist the tribe and its members.

The group's general manager, Rik Tau, says some of the money's helping people to decide what to do with their properties, by offering to pay towards professional advice.

Ngai Tahu says it's able to offer grants, which could contribute towards a bond on a new flat, legal costs and engineers fees.

Iwi members needing support are urged to call the tribe's helpline - 0800 KAI TAHU.

Meanwhile, efforts are underway to find out how many Maori left Christchurch after the earthquake.

Ngai Tahu says by April it hopes to have some figures on how many tribal members have moved out of the rohe, or district.

Its earthquake recovery working group says that, generally, tangata whenua are moving from the badly hit east of Christchurch to the west of the city.

The group's general manager, Rik Tau, says anecdotal evidence from the iwi's family advocates suggests people are returning home.