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Toitu Tairāwhiti 'committed to district's housing goal'

'. . . Five hundred kāinga over four years and 1000 kāinga in 10 years'.

Iwi controlling the process of building homes in the district will soon be a reality, thanks to $55 million in funding announced by the Government yesterday.

Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods and Associate Minister of Housing Peeni Henare made the announcement yesterday in Wellington that 150 new homes would be built in Tairāwhiti through a partnership between the Government and iwi collective Toitū Tairāwhiti Housing Ltd.

Toitū Tairāwhiti comprises Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tāmanuhiri in partnership with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Te Whakatōhea iwi.

The funding supports the Turanga Builtsmart facility set to be built at Aerodrome Business Park.

Toitu Tairāwhiti chief operations officer Annette Wehi says resource consent has been granted and they are working with Gisborne District Council to ensure a smooth process for building consent.

Civil works will start this month.

The facility will be officially opened in Gisborne on August 4 at the Iwi Assets and Māori Land Symposium to be hosted by Toitu Tairāwhiti.

“In April, a team of Tairāwhiti-based business owners and tradies, with iwi representatives, travelled to Builtsmart in Rāhui Pōkeka (Huntly) to experience the 48 bay on-site manufacturing facility,” Mrs Wehi said.

A team of tradies will be based in Huntly for six weeks to build a three-bedroom and five-bedroom home for Tairāwhiti whānau that have been approved among the next 150 kāinga.

Once the Tūranga Builtsmart facility is operating the team will return to the region and continue building here.

Mrs Wehi said the Turanga facility would stimulate the local economy by providing up to 30 new jobs and building 24 homes at one time in the region.

Mrs Wehi said the government funding was part of a wider project to provide safe, healthy affordable kāinga on land owned or managed by Māori.

“We have 51 kāinga in the current pipeline and 100 kāinga undergoing critical repairs at present.

“Toitu Tairāwhiti Housing Ltd are committed to our housing goal of 500 kāinga over four years and 1000 kāinga in 10 years throughout Tairāwhiti.

As well as the Builtsmart facility, another project is under way — Turanga Tangata Rite Wellness Centre.

This is being led by Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and will be located near Gisborne Hospital.

It is a development for a minimum of 150 kāinga in partnership with Kāinga Ora to provide affordable rentals and affordable home ownership for first home buyers.

“Turanga Tangata Rite focuses on the wider hauora benefits for whānau and spiritual, mental, financial and physical wellbeing —a place that offers home for ngā matāwaka (all whānau of the region),” Mrs Wehi said.

“Not only Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, not only Māori but a kāinga enveloped in wellness for all whānau in the development. This is part of the 500 kāinga in four years.”

Building a future for whānau: A group of Tairāwhit-based business owners, tradies and iwi representatives visited the Huntly Builtsmart Transportable Buildings facility to see how it works. A similar facility is to be built in Gisborne. Picture supplied
GETTING IT DONE: Toitu Tairāwhiti chief operations officer Annette Wehi and Toitu Tairāwhiti Housing Ltd director Willie Te Aho are all smiles over how far this kaupapa has come. Picture supplied