Housing is an important issue for many Kiwis and I'm pleased that the first Government/iwi partnership was announced in Hamilton.
This project will house 50 whānau from Waikato-Tainui from Hamilton. The partnership project is named Te Kārearea after native falcon and in recognition of local hapū Ngāti Wairere's close association and links to the area in Hamilton East, and Jebson Place where the new development will take place.
Other partners include Housing New Zealand and the Hamilton City Council. This pilot project uses land that is Crown surplus property.
Our Tainui people have always been vocal that housing is a major issue with over 700 people attending housing workshops this year.
It's no accident that the new houses are named after our amazing bird of prey as once upon a time that part of Hamilton, according to the Ngāti Wairere, was so rich in insects, smaller birds and bats that Te kārearea came to the area to feed.
Now the certainty of homes in the area will provide greater security for whānau to plan for their future.
The redevelopment will cost $11 million dollars and the project replaces 58 old state houses. The new homes will be offered first to registered members of the Tainui people.
For me transforming Jebson Place into Te Kārearea is symbolic. Making sure our people have warm and secure houses is important to me personally.
As I have always said our people are lagging behind the rest of the population when it comes to home ownership. At the last census only 28 per cent of Māori adults owned their own home, compared to 50 per cent of the total population.
Our promise to build these affordable homes will become crucial as median property values in our city are estimated to reach $600,000 by the end of the year.
Te Kārearea will be part of the solution with a mix of housing from two to four bedrooms. Expressions of interest are now open at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month also saw the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announce $1.7 million of investment for feasibility studies into a tourism hub for Te Aroha and an industrial hub for Waharoa.
These are both crucial projects and are the first financial initiatives for our Waikato region from the Provincial Growth Fund.
As the Prime Minister has said this is a powerful demonstration of how our coalition government is partnering with the regions to invest in projects which will deliver sustainable regional economic development and improve outcomes for local people.
I'm keen to see similar projects in other regions.
Nanaia Mahuta is MP for the Hauraki-Waikato electorate and the Minister for Local Government and Maori Development, and associate Minister for the Environment.