Kāingaroa community on the rise despite rocky past

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

One of the poorest town's involved in the CNI settlement is about to undertake an upgrade to their services.  The village of Kāingaroa has had its ups and downs, now it's a community on the rise. 

Mere Hitaua (Ngāi Tūhoe) says, “I love this town and it's gonna always be home you know I'm very proud to be in this village.”

Four hundred people live in Kāingaroa but since the early 1990s, services in the area have been in decline.

"Everyone that has been a part of Kaingaroa they have the same sort of memories unfortunally today for the last so many years our kids really I pose have experienced the negative side I think what we really are want to do is change that," says Denise Takahi (Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa).

From 1987, the administration of the village came under the New Zealand Forest service that took care of housing, roads, sewerage and the well-being of the town.  They sat as the council for the village.

In 2010, the CNI Treaty settlement saw the return of the lease of blocks to tribes this included the Kāingaroa Village, Takahi says that the transition has not been easy.

“If I'm being honest it's a lot of hard work but I think the support that we have gotten I think there is hope for our village,” explained Takahi.

Housing and health are priority areas for the trust but crime and vandalism is at a high in the community.  Despite a lot of hardship, residents remain positive to their village.

The trust has been working together with the tribes who settled within the CNI agreement as well as a range of government agencies to help turn the town around.

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