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Waitangi Trust Providing A Roadmap To Home Improvement And Ownership

The Waitangi National Trust, alongside key partners, is providing visitors to this year’s Waitangi Day commemorations with the know-how to potentially owning their own home.

The Trust is bringing together housing construction, financing, service providers and housing products to a prime location on the Waitangi grounds to provide aspiring homeowners and housing developers with the opportunity to engage with each other and assist in developing roadmaps to making a home a reality.

Attendees at the inaugural Waitangi Housing Expo 2024 can build a ‘roadmap to my home’ as they walk through a cul-de-sac of on-site houses and cabins, and housing-related stalls. Stalls will include key amenities that could improve their current living conditions such as waste water management, solar energy, composting toilets, development support and water purifying systems amongst a raft of other key features. Attendees can also access the knowledge and experience of those who have navigated the housing process and been successful in their housing developments.

Pita Tipene, Chair of the Waitangi National Trust, says the free-to-all expo will have an upbeat fielday atmosphere, with displays, interactive activities, giveaways, and a spectrum of housing solutions of different sizes and price points that are whānau centric.

“Very few people have the experience and a detailed view of what is involved in building a house or housing development so we’ve brought the players together. This expo is for everyone, but particularly for Māori with collectively owned land where they can develop their own housing.

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“There are several whānau housing models that now exist in pockets around the country that are facilitating and accelerating home ownership whose developers are keen to pass on their knowledge regardless of whether you are an individual, iwi, trust or business collective.

“The need for housing is a critical issue in this country and it’s manifesting in different ways, with high house prices, poor quality and crowded homes, and high rents. There’s a growing demand for social housing which has resulted in over 3,000 families living in emergency housing and there are still over 30,000 live applications in the public housing register,” says Mr Tipene. “The idea for the housing expo came out of a need for action in response to this situation.

“There’s no better place to hold this housing expo than on the grounds where Te Tiriti o Waitangi was signed and discussions of equity, partnership, protection, and reciprocity were confirmed by rangatiratanga and kawanatanga.

“Waitangi is a place to have robust conversations that are important for our country and the circumstances of our people and communities. Moreover, it is a place to develop solutions,” he says.

The Expo includes open discussion sessions throughout the day where housing developers will talk about their housing development journey.

“Toitu Tairawhiti will be here to talk about its community housing programme and the work of rehoming Tairawhiti locals following the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle. One of our expo construction company, Site Scope provided part of the recovery solution,” says Mr Tipene.

“There will be discussions on Papakāinga developments and feasibility, as well as local Community Housing Providers sharing information on the services they can offer. Leaders of iwi and whānau developments will share the lessons learned on their housing developments as well as barriers and solutions for whanau to apply on their own whenua.

“No matter where you are in your housing journey, the expo can provide the blueprint to get you started, even for those who have never thought home ownership would ever be an option for them. For those not ready to build, they can access products that will make their current living situation more comfortable.

“Housing matters to everyone in New Zealand and for many home ownership has become a mere dream. A healthy home that is warm and dry is not only important for fulfilling a basic need for shelter, but it also provides the social and economic foundation of a healthy family and is a key determinant of their ongoing health and wellbeing,” Mr Tipene says.

The Waitangi Housing Expo is expected to be a key feature at Waitangi commemorations for the next few years. The expo whānau day will be open on 6 February from 9am-4pm.

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