Regional | Māori Housing

Rotorua hapū completes fit out of new papakāinga homes with geothermal heating

Rotorua hapū Ngāti Uenukukōpako's papakāinga development in November 2022.

Rotorua hapū Ngāti Uenukukōpako has 15 new homes up and running with natural heating from geothermal energy as part of its new papakāinga development.

“These houses mark the beginning of Ngāti Uenukukōpako’s response to a survey of its beneficiaries that identified housing need as the single most important issue facing hapū members,” Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods said Friday.

Ngāti Uenukukōpako chair Nireaha Pirika said the whare would provide housing for hapū members currently living in emergency accommodation.

“We’ve made sure that they are all connected in whakapapa through Ngāti Uenukukōpako... and that’s a first,” Pirika told Te Karere.

Woods said the residents of the new whare which use geothermal “ground-source heat pumps” would collectively save around $20,000 annually on energy costs, a feature that would encourage “households to use more heating in winter for improved wellbeing of whānau”.

Associate Housing Minister (Māori Housing) Willie Jackson added that the Ngāti Uenukukōpako homes are an example of the “green shoots” of government efforts to address Māori housing concerns.

“Our people face constant housing challenges. While housing remains a challenge for many communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is particularly so for whānau Māori. It has been this way for far too long,” Jackson said.

“We are starting to see green shoots of the Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga investment, with whānau who have experienced severe housing deprivation and urgent housing need moving into safe, warm and dry homes.”

Pirika said the papakāinga development has been a dream almost 13 years in the making.

“What we have started here is something to be proud of for the hapū,” he told Te Karere.

Whānau began moving into the whare in June.