16 Dec 2021

Māori trusts receive funding to provide 'whare for whānau'

6:36 pm on 16 December 2021

New papakainga housing is set to be built in Ngāruawāhia to provide safe and affordable homes for local whānau.

Whānau from the Mary Roberts Kotahi Roberts Trust.

Whānau from the Mary Roberts Kotahi Roberts Trust. Photo: Supplied / Te Puni Kokiri

Three sites managed by separate Māori trusts have been given funding to support infrastructure and building costs.

The Māori trusts involved include Mary Roberts Kotahi Roberts trust, Tāwhia Te Ao Papakainga trust and Pareaute Epāpara Ahu Whenua Trust.

It's a part of a joint initiative between each Māori trust, the ministry for housing and urban development and Te Puni Kōkiri which intends to increase the Māori housing supply across the motu.

The papakainga were very important for enabling whānau to return to their ancestral lands and have housing available to live in said Pikikōtuku Tūmai from Mary Roberts Kōtahi Roberts trust.

The trust received $464,000 dollars towards building a large whare that will be the equivalent to two one-bedroom and one two-bedroom homes.

Tūmai said it was a way forward for whānau wanting to reconnect and live in on their own ancestral land.

"The papakainga will mean families whether they have their own homes or not will always know that they have a home to come back to and know that it will always be there for generations to come.

"It's definitely a big help... for our Māori families to have their own home on their own land and get all our people back together to reconnect back to their land and their home."

Aaria Tupaea and Te Oranga Herangi from the Taawhia Te Ao Papakāinga Trust.

Aaria Tupaea and Te Oranga Herangi from the Taawhia Te Ao Papakāinga Trust. Photo: Supplied / Te Puni Kokiri

Deputy Secretary of Regional Partnerships and Operations from Te Puni Kōkiri, Paula Rawiri, said good quality housing creates healthier whānau and provides for their communities.

The joint venture, Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga, was a part of the governments 2021 budget that contributes towards Māori being in warm, safe, and affordable housing.

Rawiri said Ngāruawāhia was "a place of growing" in the Waikato region and was well-positioned to hold several new developments which were already underway.

"All of these papakainga are being built on land that has been with the whānau for several generations and we heard about how the whānau had acquired the land and their connection to Te Puea Herangi in particular when she was establishing Tūrangawaewae marae.

"Papakainga remain a key part of our housing program at Te Puni Kōkiri and there are examples of building of papakainga already happening across the country.

"These are just three great examples of whānau coming together to be able to utilize their ancestral lands so that they can live on it" she said.

Tāwhia Te Ao Papakāinga Trust also received $1,349,000 towards the second stage of their papakainga project that will build three rental homes and the infrastructure for two existing whare.

Trust chairperson Matutaera Herangi said the papakainga were a way to respond to the hardships their whānau had faced trying to get into houses.

"Housing is difficult to actually get into these days and our whānau struggle to purchase homes and even to rent these days.

"What we wanted to do was to provide whare for our own whānau" he said.

Whānau from the Pareaute Epaapara Ahu Whenua Trust.

Whānau from the Pareaute Epaapara Ahu Whenua Trust. Photo: Supplied / Te Puni Kokiri

The partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri he said had been brilliant because the ministry was there to help the community to plan the housing project.

"We could not have done this without their help.

"Right from the first stage, they were supporting us to consult with our whānau.

"We had... weekend wānanga, preparing ourselves to actually create plans of how our papakainga would look and how we would utilize our space and the types of things we would do" he said.

Rawiri said the venture will also mean whānau can have the opportunity to explore other areas whether it be personal, business, or cultural.

"It takes a lot of planning, dedication and hard work to build a papakāinga, but this community will reap benefits that go further than having four walls and a roof.

"We know that good quality housing creates a developmental springboard to a healthier whānau who are better positioned to explore other development opportunities whether they be personal, business, or cultural.

"A big mihi to all three whānau for the steps they are taking to provide their whānau and community with safe, affordable housing," Rawiri said.

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