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Māori Researchers Support Student Rent Strike

Generation Kāinga (Gen K) researchers support the current student rent strike at The University of Auckland. Rangatahi researchers leading the Gen K project endorse the call from Students for Fair Rent to lower the rent of their student accommodation in order to ease cost-of-living pressures many students are facing and enable more students to access tertiary education.

In 2023, the University of Auckland announced there would be an 8% increase in student accommodation fees in 2024. Today, students are paying between $470 and $510 a week for a catered hall (based on UoA rates) which can equate to 80-90 percent of their income. According to Students for Fair Rent, students are having to take on part-time work, often up to 30 hours per week to pay for their student accommodation. The group is arguing that rent should be more aligned with the average rent in the city center which is $230 per week for a room in a flat.

The Gen K research team are particularly concerned with the impact these student accommodation prices are having on current and prospective Māori students who already face significant barriers to accessing and completing tertiary education. Student housing is meant to be a supportive pathway to education for tauira (students). The pressure that is placed on students to meet unfair rent costs drives rangatahi, particularly those from poorer families, away from opportunities that should be available to everyone, no matter their background.

Student accommodation should be an affordable option for students wanting to access higher education, and universities have a responsibility to support students to engage fully in the education that is being offered.

About Generation Kāinga

Generation Kāinga is a four-year MBIE Endeavour project which addresses Māori housing tenure and focuses on enabling rangatahi to transform the future of kāinga through Indigenous collective and participatory processes. This project takes on a strengths-based approach that highlights rangatahi aspirations, abilities and collective agency to create the kāinga we want for the future.

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