Topic: Housing

Architects sought for Flaxmere indigenous co-housing project

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The worlds only indigenous co-housing, Waingākau Village Project in Flaxmere, is heading into its next stage of development as architects are being sought to bring it to life.

It's a Māori village concept that aims to be crime-free and get more Māori into home ownership. 

"At the moment we're working on a request for proposals.  So, that's going to go out to market in about three weeks and what that's looking for is partners in the architecture and construction space.  Once that's out we'll be working through what comes back in to look for our partners for the future," says Emma Horgan, Project Manager.

Next is working through the process for families to apply for the housing over the next 3 - 6 months.  The preference is for people who live in Flaxmere and the homes are open to everyone, not just Māori, for the 120 homes.

"The marae is part of the reason why we think this will work.  Mostly, overseas co-housing developments are built around a central hub.  They have a purpose-built facility for people to engage and have social interactions and things like that," says George Reedy, Chief Executive Officer of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga.

"It starts to rebuild that inter-generational community of yesteryear so you have one bedroom to four bedrooms- your young to old.  It's building a really strong supportive community to live in". 

The project has an estimated $40mil price tag, with 50 percent of new builds destined for home ownership.

The main object of the village to have low or no crime.

"That means lots of natural surveillance around the village.  It's been designed in a way so there should be no opportunity to have crime in a visible place.  There is also the fact that you have your natural support systems of a community," says Horgan.

"If things go well, we're hoping within a year that we'll have the first ten families in the homes and then after that it will just be continuous as we've indicated probably about four years," says Reedy.

Co-housing is not social housing but is based around the concept of a housing development that builds a community.