Habitat for Humanity Tauranga has built its first home on Maori land in Te Puna.
A young Te Puna family has moved into a three-bedroom home they helped build on their ancestral land with the help of Habitat for Humanity Tauranga.
Tarryn and Aaron Motutere had rented in Te Puna for years and had only dreamed of building their family home.
"We had started looking into building before, and then became really motivated after we moved in with the whanau (family) and started cleaning up the paddock," Aaron Motutere said.
In May 2015, the Motuteres moved back to the family's land to help out after Mr Motutere's father died. "We knew then that it was the right path for us," he said.
Te Puni Kokiri provided the vital funding to get the project underway.
"Without the help of Te Puni Kokiri, we would not be able to build a home on the land," Mr Motutere said.
The remainder of the funding came from a variety of sources including the Kainga Whenua Loan scheme through Kiwibank and Housing New Zealand.
The Kainga Whenua Loan Scheme initiative aims to address the low rates of home ownership and access to adequate housing found among Maori in the rural areas.
After meeting set criteria, whanau can access a loan of up to $200,000 to build on collectively owned ancestral lands.
However, the journey was not without its challenges. The Motuteres struggled for nine months to find a builder willing to give them a quote for constructing a house under $150,000.
At their wit's end, they approached Habitat for Humanity Tauranga. Habitat partnered with the Moturere family, providing them with a quote and plans for their house.
Habitat for Humanity worked closely with Mr and Mrs Motutere ensuring all the necessary paperwork was completed and filed with the bank.
"Without Habitat, our dream would have stayed just that, a dream," Mrs Motutere said.
"They held my hand through the whole process, and helped me tick all those boxes, and now it is our reality."
Habitat for Humanity Tauranga was confident many more people could benefit from the Kainga Whenua loan scheme.
"This is the only way for a whanau to get a mortgage to build on collectively owned Maori land," general manager Tim Maurice said.
"I am so proud that Aaron and Tarryn have been able to access a loan with Habitat for Humanity's help, but many whanau are often not as fortunate."
He said Habitat for Humanity believed more banks need to get onboard with supporting whanau to build on their family land differently.
"Something needs to be done to address the problem because everyone deserves a decent place to live."
Habitat for Humanity is a global shelter charity with operations in over 70 countries and has been working with communities in New Zealand for over 25 years.