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Iwi development and housing New Year focus for Mahuta

Iwi development and iwi housing initiatives is a priority for the Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta in the new year.

Mahuta is meeting with iwi to discuss their endeavors and how the government can provide support.

Waikato-Tainui's executive board chair Rukumoana Shaafhausen is welcoming any support offered by the government.

“That's a great initiative on behalf of the government,” says Shaafhausen.

“We will, as an iwi we are willing to work with anyone to achieve our aspirations.”

The Affordable Housing Authority will partner with iwi development companies to build new housing, associated infrastructure, schools and community facilities.

Mahuta has been out amongst the tribes to hear their tribal development aspirations.

“From what I can see, the government can partner with Waikato-Tainui to fulfill our own Kiwi Build plan,” says Mahuta.

Work is underway to build the country's largest greenfield port, commercial and also housing development at Ruakura on 480ha.

It's expected to create up to 12,000 jobs, with a commitment to employ beneficiaries.

"The benefit from our action plan is the opportunity to equip tribal members with skills and employment so they can provide for their families, to purchase affordable homes for them without any pressures to the less fortunate while living in those homes," said Mahuta.

Rotokauri Rise has 900 new sections in Western Hamilton by Tainui Group Holdings.  Last June tribal members had first rights on homes before going to the open market.  The tribe has also utilised its right of first refusal.

29 whānau were housed in towns including Huntly, Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

“It's over at least a $15mil to $20mil investment over the last couple of years, of our own money into housing, into the region.  So we'll do that regardless because it's about looking after our people,” says Shaafhausen.

“In terms of what we could do with the government, I think it's really about accelerating the process.”

Stage one of Ruakura is expected to be in operation in the first half of 2019.