National | Housing

Papakāinga housing for Te Ahiwaru

Jenny Lee-Morgan, a trustee for Makaurau Marae, is unequivocal in its goal to create housing for its people.

"We need housing to continue to live here in the village, to continue to look after Te Mānukanuka a Hoturoa, the mountains that shelter us, and the river of Ōruarangi."

Makaurau Marae at Ihumātao has teamed up with Kāinga Ora to address concerns over housing for the iwi. The Kaiwhare Housing strategy is aimed at allowing Ngāti Te Ahiwaru to discuss and formulate a housing plan that suits ahikā of Ihumātao.

There are four posts of the house or four stages to the Kaiwhare housing plan. Integration of ideas and needs of the locals is of extreme importance.

Shacks, families in garages

Lee-Morgan says the hope is to embody the saying, "The whare builds the people, and the people build the whare.

"So that we understand what's involved in the building process and reinvigorate houses, we also must know where our people are."

In 2019 over 40% of homeless in Auckland were Māori. Lee-Morgan says housing is one of the most significant issues facing Te Ahiwaru.

"If you look at our village, there are shacks, families living in garages."

In August 2019, Māori seized Ihumātao and staged a mass occupation, the government eventually buying the land on behalf of Ihumātao for $30m. Lee-Morgan says there is still much discussion to be had.

"The home people will decide who will be part of the management group, and it will be the management group that will determine what happens with the whenua."

The main aim of Te Ahiwaru and Makaurau marae is to push forward with the mahi. As their saying goes, "seek the treasure you value most dearly. If you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain."