Topic: Housing

Building papakainga on whānau land is becoming an attractive option

updated By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

Papakāinga on whānau land is becoming a more attractive option in the current housing crisis.  Over 25 whānau registered to attend a wānanga this weekend at a papakāinga development for ten homes currently under construction.

It's a concept the project manager says will bring whānau back to the land to build homes and create a future livelihood.

Aroha Shelford says, "Our dream was to be out on the whenua to do permaculture landscaping be able to live economic development education and produce kai and sustainable housing."

Te Aho Tu Roa is a programme that provides learning and guidance for whānau considering moving home to build.  

Joanne Murray says, "Most of the people here today are from up North and Auckland and local families as well who are keen to come back and learn the skills needed.  So we provide them with the information and guidance around the laws relating to Māori land and the district council."

The development will have ten homes in total with some being poured earth homes as well as round earth back homes not currently provided for in the NZ standards.
Murray says, "Perhaps it's a relatively new concept for the council to deal with and the challenge for them is to create laws that will make the process for a family wishing to return home a lot easier."

Aroha Shelford says, "We're funded by TPK fo this papakāinga which is awesome.  They came to the party with infrastructure grants so all of our infrastructure here, our roading, everything is being paid for by them which is awesome and then they've also given us some putea to help do the builds." 
What began as a dream for the descendants of Te Koha Pou is now a national project and the only one of its kind providing 12 family members with full-time work with long term aspirations for the widespread building of this type of papakāinga.  And the family's UKU Facebook page has a massive following.

Aroha says, "We put that up on a brand new Facebook and within a month there's like 420,000 viewers, all of them were positive and all of them were our whanau that are just like we're looking for something like this to do.  So there's a need and there's a want from our people."

Joanne Murray says, "Of utmost importance for Te Aho Turoa is to ensure that we provide the support and assistance to hold these types of forums where we can teach whānau the skills.  

It's a major challenge for the family but they know that the benefits of sustainable living will be well worth the effort.