The motu’s southern-most marae at Bluff has just opened six homes for kaumātua, fulfilling a 20-year dream by the Te Rau Aroha Marae whānau.
Te Runaka o Awarua kaiwhakahaere Dean Whaanga says the marae first had the aspiration to have papakainga back in 2000 but it was several years ago when it saw an opportunity to gain government funding of $2 million as part of He Kāinga Pai Rawa, the Building Better Hometowns and cities National Science Challenge Project, which is developing housing strategies to create communities for Māori.
“We’re hoping to move the kaumatua in the next two months. For the next few weeks, we will be showing them around. There is still a lot of work to do but they are all excited.”
Whaanga says with a lot of runaka it’s a question of pūtea. “So we are always saving up money but got the support of government.
“There are housing issues all over the country and this helped us achieve some of our goals, especially for our kaumatua, as a starter. After that, we are looking at developing more papakainga housing for all of our hapū.
“Our vision is to have wraparound service at our marae. We’ve got a kohanga reo, we now have kaumatua housing and now it’s that little bit in the middle – papakainga for families who are looking for their first home – it could be a transition to their first home.”