Regional | Housing

Kāinga Ora falls short on Ngāi Te Rangi iwi housing

Housing Minister Megan Woods says Kāinga Ora must do better after it demolished nine state homes that Ngāi Te Rangi planned to acquire for families stuck in "atrocious living conditions".

Tauranga-based Ngāi Te Rangi had been in negotiations with Kāinga Ora for over a year and planned to relocate nine Rotorua state houses to Māori land in its rohe.

Today Ngāi Te Rangi chief executive Paora Stanley shared his disappointment.

“I think there are a lot of missed opportunities that occurred as a result of this stuff-up and there is a missed opportunity for simply our people,” he said.

Matakana Island kaumātua Hauata Palmer had been involved in the plans to have these houses moved to Tauranga. He was also part of the Ngāi Te Rangi iwi that went to Rotorua to pick out which houses would be best suited for his people, back in October last year.

Disappointed iwi, whānau

“It is not that we are angry but that we didn’t know it had stopped,” Palmer said. “That is what we are disappointed with. What now?”

For a year Ngāi Te Rangi iwi and Kainga Ora planned to have the nine Rotorua state houses relocated onto Māori land on Matakana and Katikati.

These houses were to go to families in desperate need of a home, had Māori land to put these houses on, and could pay close to $130,000 for refurbishment costs.

However, on June 2 this year Kāinga Ora pulled out in a  notifying email to the iwi.

Kāinga Ora told Te Ao Mārama in a statement, “As the conversations with Ngāi Te Rangi were proceeding, a decision was made to demolish the homes in Rotorua to maintain momentum with the redevelopment project there, rather than relocate them.

‘Mismatched  expectations’

“There was a range of different factors involved here including issues of communication, mismatched expectations, planning and due diligence, both between Kāinga Ora and Ngāi Te Rangi, and within Kāinga Ora”.

“We are still very much committed to working alongside the iwi to realize their housing aspirations, and appreciate it will take time to rebuild our relationship as future partners, for the benefit of whānau, tamariki, and mokopuna in their rohe,” The agency said.

But Housing Minister Megan Woods today said Kāinga Ora fell short of her expectations and did not meet the standards required.

“I have communicated to Kāinga Ora that they must do better and have been assured that this was an isolated incident, in which important lessons were learned. Kāinga Ora has, rightly, apologised to Paora Stanley.”

Stanley says people have apologised. “But I think we have got a problem. They have a range of different solutions to resolve that problem and until something is set out clearly in stone and authorised by the chief executive I am not expecting anything and it will continue.”