National | Māori Housing

Whenua Māori mortgage breakthrough for whānau dreaming of home ownership

File / Whakaata Māori

A new lending model could allow iwi to unlock whenua Māori for housing without their land being put at risk, a report by The Post says.

Historically, banks have been reluctant to give home loans for housing on Māori-owned land because they are unable to secure the loans against the land - but now a new model developed by BNZ and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is offering a breakthrough for iwi.

Under the model, hapū members, who meet the bank’s normal home lending criteria, get loans to buy homes on iwi-owned land and the iwi agrees to step in and buy the mortgages if borrowers fail to make repayments.

The model has been developed with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s 24-home Hawaiki Street development in Tāmaki Makaurau in mind.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa chief executive Grant Kemble told The Post the model enables whānau to realise a dream.

“The framework has made home ownership more accessible for our whānau.”

Whetu Rangi, BNZ’s head of Māori banking, indicated the model could remove a significant barrier for Māori home ownership, The Post said.

“One of the biggest struggles is the ability to unlock whenua Māori as a financial asset, especially utilising it for residential purposes. We think this is the first step in a long journey, and is hopefully something we will see again on a regular basis.”