Home ownership independence for Māori is the focus of He Korowai Trust. For the past four years, they have tried to create a model in Kaitaia that will achieve their mission.
It's been a long wait but residents have begun moving into their new homes here at the Whareora Papakāinga.
“I got the keys to my home, it’s still a little bit surreal actually. I think once everything is in place and put together, I think it will really hit me but I'm really ecstatic at the moment,“ says Rosalina Reihana from Ngāpuhi.
These were state-owned homes from Glen Innes in Auckland that was destined for demolition. The land here in Kaitaia was converted into communal Māori ownership. They're among the cheapest in the country at $130,000.
Rick Haughton from He Korowai Trust says, “the dream is beginning for 17 adults and 43 tamariki who are moving from some of the most horrible living conditions you could imagine. There’s been a lot of lessons learnt aa it’s been a journey of hope and discovery but what we have ended up with is an affordable Maori home ownership model that can hopefully be rolled out to other regions to our relations throughout the country.”
He Korowai Trust received a $720,000 grant from the government's social housing programme toward buying land where they installed homes for families with at least two children and living in "substandard, unhealthy or unreliable living conditions".
Reihana says, “I own it yeah, it’s mine forever! I definitely don't think I would've been able to do it without He Korowai Trusts' help, I’m really lucky.”
Haughton says, “Māori home ownership is at its lowest levels of all time. But what this model demonstrates is that even when housing is at its lowest levels we're going against the trend and it's a trend that we're gonna continue for Māori homeowners and we're excited about that.”
The official opening of the Whareora Papakāinga will take place on July 1.