Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Orakei iwi plans $24m housing project beside Bastion Pt

Ngati Whatua Orakei plans to build up to 75 houses and apartments in Kupe St.
Ngati Whatua Orakei plans to build up to 75 houses and apartments in Kupe St.

Ngati Whatua Orakei have $24 million plans to build up to 75 houses and apartments alongside Bastion Pt, underwriting mortgages for whanau to assist in home ownership.

Ngarimu Blair, a board member of Ngati Whatua's commercial arm, Whai Rawa, said building of the first 25 to 29 houses and units would begin this year in Kupe St, the main vehicle entry into the marae on Bastion Pt.

A further 46 houses and units might be built on the opposite side of Kupe St after that.

Mr Blair said banks and the iwi would underwrite mortgages to help whanau get their own property.

"We want to invest in our assets and our people and this kainga development will be an important first step to home ownership," he said.

"We also want our people to be close to our marae and to whanau support networks, while also making the most of the city's top schools and universities.

"We are working with our partner banks to develop a new financing arrangement, which will see the iwi underwrite whanau mortgages. We will back our whanau by giving them a hand-up to ensure their mortgages are sustainable and affordable."

Mortgage repayments on a three-bedroom place could be about $425 a week, which he said was affordable.

"Those currently renting elsewhere on low incomes will have wrap-around services from Whai Maia, our tribal development arm, to pathway them into home ownership."

The plans were outlined at a hui on Sunday at Bastion Pt, which about 150 people attended, said Mr Blair.

Ngati Whatua had received 50 registrations of interest in the first stage of housing, he said. The iwi was fortunate to be in such a strong position, able to view applications for housing with the precious land resource.

"Over the weekend we shared the concept plans with the iwi and there is a real buzz and excitement as the dream of home ownership is now within the grasp of most of our people.

"Within the next 15 years we hope to have housing available for many of our tribal members. This is a great opportunity and will help our iwi members into home ownership and hopefully bring some of them back from overseas."

But further detailed planning with whanau and the Auckland Council was needed before any resource consent was lodged, he said. "We're going to fund this. We're not going to wait for Housing NZ or social housing because you can be waiting forever."

The housing was planned to rise up to four levels in some parts and the land was mainly vacant, although two iwi houses might need to be demolished, Mr Blair said.

Ngati Whatua owned those state houses and leased them to Housing NZ, he said.

The site for the first stage is on the left of Kupe St, heading towards the water.

- NZ Herald

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