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Ikaroa Rawhiti Maori Regional Housing Forum - Speech


Hon Tariana Turia

Associate Minister of Housing



Friday 24 May 2013


Ikaroa Rawhiti Maori Regional Housing Forum - Speech

Ikaroa Rawhiti Maori Regional Housing Forum & Te Matapihi He Tirohanga Mo Te iwi Maori Housing Hui , Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Gisborne

E nga iwi o Ikaroa Rawhiti ara ko Ngati Porou, ko Te Aitanga a Mahaki, ko Rongowhakaata, ko Ngai Tamanuhiri, ko Ngati Kahungunu, koutou katoa kua tae mai ki tenei huihuinga e pa ana ki nga take whai whare noho, tena ra koutou katoa.

Thank you for inviting me to speak here today at your forum. I want to acknowledge Tiopira Rauna and to commend you for the significant role that the Ikaroa Rawhiti Maori Housing Forum has played over the last seven years, in supporting Māori housing in this role.

More recently, over the last two years, Te Matapihi He Tirohanga Mo te Iwi Trust has been formed to advocate and promote Maori social housing. We are at a critical point in our history, where it is vital that Maori capability is called upon to develop affordable housing for Maori. I see hui like this as important in bringing together the key stakeholders – whanau, hapu and iwi; Maori developers and Maori housing providers including Māori social housing providers.

Good quality housing is vital for the future development of our whanau. It is key to our overall health and wellbeing. And it is essential for Whanau Ora. Where you live, how you live and who you live with – impacts heavily on who we become, what we do, and the quality of our lives.

The kaupapa for this hui is ‘what are the barriers to Maori housing in the Ikaroa Rawhiti electorate’. First and foremost, we have to recognise the significance of sufficient family income and how that can act as a constraint.

Across Ikaroa Rāwhiti the median family income is $44,900 – some $14,000 less than the median family income for New Zealand as a whole.

That has important implications when it comes to tenure of dwelling – 41.8% of your whanau are paying rent – compared to nationwide just 26.7%.

I’ve never been one for statistics – but these figures certainly create a context for our hui today – in terms of outlining the scope of the challenge to own your own home.

It hasn’t always been like that - In 2004, housing affordability was similar for Maori, European, and Pasifika households for the first time. That’s only a decade ago – and so I think it helps to provide us with the hope that we once again be homeowners and mortgage free – if we so choose.

There is one other key aspect of housing barriers that I want to touch on and that is the challenge of healthy homes.

You might have seen in last week’s Budget our announcement of an additional $20 million towards preventing rheumatic fever, on top of the $24million we negotiated in the previous years.

Why is it important to think about this at a housing hui? Well, the risks for families living in sub-standard housing are huge and are taking a toll on their health. Children who live in damp, cold over-crowded homes are at risk of third world diseases like rheumatic fever. This can have long lasting devastating results and the need to take antibiotics for at least ten years of their lives. Maori and Pasifika people suffer at a disproportionate rate of rheumatic fever compared to other groups. This long term damage is such a huge price to pay.

Warm, dry affordable housing is essential for good health but housing is more than just a roof over our heads. Our homes are where our whanau gather, it is a place where we foster our happy memories. It is a place to retreat from the hustle and bustle of our working lives - a haven of peace in our busy lives. It is the place where sometimes our babies are born and often it becomes a place where our loved ones lie before their final journey.

Our early wisdom often connected the waka, the house and the human life as the three treasured possessions of our tupuna.

According to Sir Kingi Ihaka “he matua waka e taea te raupine mai; he matua whare e taea te ropiropi e te ringaringa; he matua tangata, ki te mate ana, e kaore rawa e taea te raupine mai e te ringaringa”.

In other words – while a canoe can be repaired and a house can be fashioned by hand, if a person dies no human hand can bring it back to life.

And so in coming to this hui today, I have been thinking about the solutions that we can build, to help restore and give life to all our whanau – housing solutions alongside of initiatives to bring warmth and security to our homes.

As the Associate Minister of Housing, I am excited by the housing projects undertaken by iwi organisations in conjunction with Putea Maori from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. This fund is enabling housing development on multiply-owned Maori land.

The putea was first launched in October 2011 and $8m in grant funding was allocated to Maori organisations in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay. From that initial allocation, Te Runanga o Ngati Porou received $300,000 towards building three homes.

Putea Maori can provide 75 percent of the total project cost including construction and site work when building on multiply owned Maori land.

I want to use the opportunity of this day, to announce over three million dollars of investment has been released from the Putea Maori Grant for social housing development.

The putea has been allocated to three organisations specialising in housing for kaumatua and for housing development on papakainga – Mangatawa; a Māori Incorporation in the Bay of Plenty, Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa Trust in Hamilton and Unaiki Memorial Trust who are utilising innovative technology with the support of Auckland University and He Korowai Trust to build three new homes for whanau in need.

I’m hoping that next time I return to this rohe, I will be announcing similar investments in initiatives championed by the Ikaroa Rāwhiti regional Māori housing forum!

There has been some other good developments in Maori housing. Recently I announced that $12m over four years will be made available to Maori organisations like Maori land trusts and other collectives.

This funding under the Kainga Whenua Infrastructure scheme is to assist with the infrastructure work required for new greenfields development on ancestral land.

There have also been changes to the Kainga Whenua scheme which have opened the way for Maori who own homes or have mortgaged homes to apply under this scheme to build on their tribal land.

Te Puni Kokiri’s Special Housing Action Zones programme targets the serous housing needs amongst whanau, hapu and iwi. This programme target communities and is a partnership between crown agencies and the hapu, iwi or community group.

This programme has made significant advances in developing housing solutions on Maori land by trialling different approaches like in the case of the Western Bay of Plenty model – as well as the development of tools ‘Te Keteparaha mo nga papakainga’.

I am pleased to announce that the Papakainga Toolkit initiative is working with four regions – including Tairawhiti – to help facilitate housing aspirations on Māori land. I look forward to hearing how it progresses.

The significance of our connections to our lands cannot be under estimated. But the reality is, is that economic circumstances have kept many of us from building on our ancestor’s lands. I am excited that these changes to these loans schemes and other initiatives will allow Maori to consider the options for reconnecting with their whenua. Noho ora mai ra.

ends


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