"A person nurtured in a community setting contributes strongly to society" is the driving force behind Waingakau Village - a 120-home housing project in Flaxmere.

Construction for Waingākau Village, a development which aims to make home ownership accessible to more, began on June 14th.

Waingakau is set on 15.5 hectares of semi-rural land located in Kingsley Chatham, on the western edge of Flaxmere; with views towards Te Mata Peak and the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.

The development will have a mixture of homes on offer, including 76 houses in a co-housing village and 44 houses in a conventional private development.

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Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga board chairman Mike Paku who officially opened the site said the housing project takes a fresh look at enabling families into home ownership; pathways to home ownership include supported rent, rent to buy, supported ownership, full ownership and co-operative ownership.

"Waingakau represents the fulfilment of a long-held aspiration put in place by our kaumatua and kuia 30 years ago," Paku said.

"Sporting New Zealand's first co-operative community and world's first indigenous co-housing community, Waingakau is leading the way in rebuilding nurturing communities that put people first.

"Te Taiwhenua wishes to recognise the support and collaborative partnership it has developed with Hastings District Council in developing a new housing model that meets the needs of whanau."

The development will have homes at approximately $2025 per square metre – this cost was the average quality build cost for Hawke's Bay as at August 2017.

Waingākau is affordable as the homes will have a compact footprint, so will use less materials and energy, and the land is cheaper.

Homes are expected to be priced from $140,000 to $380,000 for 1 to 4 bedrooms within the cohousing villages.

The Minister for Māori Development and Associate Minister of Housing Hon Nanaia Mahuta congratulated the rōpū behind the Waingakau Housing Development.

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"This development will provide much needed housing for whānau Māori in the region where mixed ownership models including social housing, private rentals, assisted ownership and private ownership will be possible."

Hastings District Council mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says the need for quality, affordable housing is a focus of the council, with the council actively supporting the development over the 18 months leading up to the start on construction.

"There is an enormous need for housing in our district ... I am incredibly excited to see this project getting to this stage.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to offer affordable quality housing to a cross-section of our community. I applaud the vision and the transformational change to our community's lives this project to bring.

"Housing is one of our Council's key strategic priorities and we are working closely with our iwi partners and central government on many projects like this which will address our housing issues."

Paku said that in Zurich, Switzerland, a quarter of all new housing had been built by co-operatives since 2000.

"Our premise is about working together to build a community that values guardianship of the land and of our people, brought about through kindness, relationships, unity and togetherness."