Forty-nine new homes will be built in a development at Whenuapai in an iwi-led partnership made up of Pare Hauraki Iwi and Te Tumu Kainga.

The Whenuapai Housing Development Partnership announced today the purchase of a greenfield site and said the project is the first of a number it hopes to undertake "to help address Auckland's housing shortage as Treaty of Waitangi settlements are finalised."

Pare Hauraki Iwi and Te Tumu Kainga, a charitable trust, have teamed up with New Ground Capital, Mike Greer Homes and the China Construction Bank to develop the 6,400 square metre site.

Designed by Stevens Lawson with support from Calibre Engineers, Campbell Brown Planning and Sola Landscape Architects, the development will be leased to the New Zealand Defence Force for staff accommodation.

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Partnership chair Paul Majurey said the project is a significant investment for iwi.

Paul Majurey. Photo/Supplied
Paul Majurey. Photo/Supplied

"It also demonstrates the growing role of iwi in the local economy as we look to develop our commercial asset base in the post-Treaty settlement phase, which will only increase as more settlements are finalised, such as the Hauraki Collective and Marautuahu Collective settlements," Majurey said.

"Iwi will become more and more important as developers of housing projects, including affordable housing, which we hope will help ease housing shortages as well as helping to grow the asset base of iwi for the long term," he said.

Te Tumu Kainga general manager Declan Millin said it was an exciting opportunity for the trust.

"[The project] enables us to extend partnerships with Iwi organisations and create new relationships. Following our successful involvement developing affordable housing at Waimahia Inlet, the financial returns from this development will allow us to continue our charitable trust aim - delivering better accommodation outcomes for Maori," Millin said.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff spoke at the project's sod turning event yesterday, welcoming the project and the involvement of iwi.

"This type of project addresses Auckland's housing shortage. It's a great example of iwi working with Auckland Council and central government to unlock suitable land for housing which Auckland desperately needs," Goff said.

For Majurey, having the Defence Force lease the land holds a special symbolism.

"For many years, the Defence Force occupied land taken from iwi all over New Zealand. Hauraki iwi suffered worse than anyone in terms of land alienation," Majurey said.

"Now, as settlements occur and land is returned to us, we are leasing property in fully commercial relationships. It is a sign of the changing face of New Zealand and of the progress we are making from landless to landlord."