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Housing crisis solution

Coast man building ‘rent to buy’ self-contained units.

An initiative to help ease the region's housing crisis has been “deafened by silence” as it seeks Government or iwi support or investment one month since its inception.

Ngati Porou Whare Moe was set up by Ngati Porou elder Joe McClutchie to help whanau in desperate need of accommodation.

It involves the building of quality, New Zealand Building Code-compliant, self-contained units to be sold at cost price ($17,000 to $23,000) on a rent-to-buy basis.

“Built by Ngati Porou in Ngati Porou for Ngati Porou,” says Mr McClutchie, a retired builder who lives in Ruatorea.

The 70-year-old is well aware of the need for emergency, temporary and affordable housing, which is why Ngati Porou Whare Moe was established.

“This is not a Joe McClutchie enterprise, nor is it about making money. There is no profit in this initiative.”

It is a new way for people to get their own home if they cannot afford to build one.

“It is here to demonstrate to our people and agencies what can be done and how it can be done locally as one option to help people in urgent need of suitable and affordable accommodation.”

Many people are renting imported cabins on a six-month minimum rental agreement basis.

“Good on the ‘cabin people',” says Mr McClutchie. “They are the only option (for some) at the moment.”

Ngati Porou Whare Moe wants to offer the option of renting to buy over a four-to-five-year period “not just rent and continue renting”.

“We are waiting to see who will step up for whanau.”

Mr McClutchie says he spoke and wrote to the Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou, Trust Tairawhiti and government housing agencies, offering to show them how it could be achieved.

He has written to the Associate Ministry of Housing, sent messages and emails to the Prime Minister and members of Parliament for the region.

But he is still waiting for someone to help support the initiative that “can put a mother and her baby in a warm whare tomorrow”.

“To date we are deafened by the silence.”

Mr McClutchie says he asked a number of local people “how can you continue paying week in and week out for your cabins?'

“Through WINZ (Work and Income) has been most of the responses.”

Over the past months he has built two whare moe at his home at Tuparoa Road, Ruatorea, and has started on a self-contained third unit.

He tapped into his pension funds to start and pay for the build, along with the tools and infrastructure.

“I had unzipped my mouth so I had to walk the talk.”

In recent weeks, 19 families of around 50 people had gone to his gate in the desperate hope of a solution to their housing needs.

It was tough hearing their stories.

He suggested to them different options of doors to knock on that might be able to provide money for the “rent to buy” option.

However, he felt those who could really help were not stepping up.

“I have been in involved in tribal development and needs for many years. I know the landscape well.

“In my opinion not a lot has changed,” says Mr McClutchie.

“It comes down to people. People who are often tasked with responsibility become complacent in their roles and often have their heads buried in the sand.

“Social needs have always struggled to get attention and what is happening here in the ‘rent to rent' space is not new.”

Ruatorea local Paora Brooking has helped Mr McClutchie by creating the Facebook page Ngati Porou Whare Moe on which people are kept up to date with what is happening with the kaupapa and building progress.

“We have had a huge positive response from the followers,” said Mr Brooking.

“A lot of people have been asking about how to purchase and rent-to-own the buildings but because there's no system in place, except for Mr McClutchie building them by himself, it's a hard deal to explain to them.

“Where is the support they need to help them connect to a whare moe which they could start owning tomorrow?

“We really need some form of investment from someone who understands the social need and wants to help.”

Ngati Porou Whare Moe has been supported by others in Tairawhiti, particularly businesses who have been impressed by the kaupapa and what it is trying to achieve.

“We would not be at this stage without the support they have provided,” said Mr McClutchie. “Nga mihi nui.”

HAUKAINGA (TRUE HOME): Quality tiny homes, called Ngati Porou Whare Moe ('built by Ngati Porou in Ngati Porou for Ngati Porou') have been created by Ngati Porou elder Joe McClutchie (pictured above with his dog Puppy) in Ruatorea as a solution for the housing crisis whanau around the East Coast are experiencing. This one costs $17,000. Mr McClutchie wants someone to step up and support this initiative so more whare moe can be built and then bought by those in need as a “rent to buy” option. Pictures by Liam Clayton
QUALITY: This is the interior of one of the units, which is insulated and meets NZ building code requirements.
WORKSHOP: The workshop tent set up by Joe McClutchie so that he can build the whare moe without worrying about the weather.

  1. Wayne Dennan says:

    We could do with this in Palmerston North – there’s land sitting empty.

  2. Jo Rangiahua, Auckland says:

    I would be keen on information plz, I would love to own my own place

  3. Bob says:

    What we need to make sure is that we don’t end up building slums for the future.
    Small whare are OK, if 1 or 2 people live in them, but if you get too many trying to live in them, then you will see people get sick.
    What I would like to see happen is for the privately-owned houses up the Coast and in Gisborne to be better looked after. You only need to drive around the Coast, Kaiti, Elgin and Waitui to see the run-down houses that people are still living in.

  4. Jennie Brown - East Coast candidate for Advance NZ Public Party says:

    On Saturday, a mother of six became homeless after her landlord wanted to renovate the house. This mother has been working with many government agencies to find a house over the last 7 months. Not surprisingly there are no rentals or any govt houses available and she was told that before she could request emergency housing, she could only do so one week before she became homeless.
    This mother and 4 of her children (her two teenagers are now staying with family) are staying with me. I believe the Lord has placed this family and their experiences in my hands so I may bring to light the present and past governments’ housing failures. I have had enough of the left and right blaming our housing crisis on each other. Instead of spending their energy bickering about who created the crisis, they should be using that energy to FIX THE PROBLEM!
    Homelessness and child poverty are still on the rise and our people are suffering. We have families living out of their vehicles, sheds, tents and already overcrowded housing.
    My view is that we need papakainga-type housing arrangements which would support Joe’s initiative. We want to bring communities back together, not separate them and send them to other cities. Papakainga living ensures that everyone is cared for and supported. The Scottish lived similarly with their clans. Everyone is cared and catered for. Elderly share their knowledge and wisdom, which gets handed down through the generations. The children are well looked after, and the parents have more freedom to pursue their goals.
    How do you create a society dependent on the system? You slowly erode all knowledge and practices that our people have relied upon for thousands of years.
    It seems that the people/public are now sharing the load because this govt cannot keep on top of the numbers of homeless! They have failed us.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Vote differently this year. Vote for the people’s party. Vote AdvanceNZ!