Puriri Park in Whangarei is a lovely expanse of "green space".

Let's just call it a park.

Central government is looking at putting a "sustainable" housing project there.

Let's just call it state housing.


Puriri Park is adjacent to the road of the same name in Maunu, and even two thirds of the way through autumn, you could call it "leafy".

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A comfortable, quiet lifestyle awaits in Puriri Park Rd.

It's a road that has gradually extended into rural land. It starts in the 1960s, maybe even late 50s, before hitting a 70s and 80s patch.

The longer you travel, the more modern the homes, apart from a lone bungalow, one of the area's original dwellings.

Housing NZ is eyeing roughly just over half of Puriri Park for state housing.

And saying little about it. There is speculation, misinformation and anger in the local community.

The land has been in the Ministry of Education's name for more than 40 years.


Whangarei MP Shane Reti has provided locals with facts showing that in 2014 the MOE offered the land, which bisects two Whangarei District Council land parcels, to the WDC.

The WDC declined the offer.

HNZ also declined the land. But four years later, with Whangarei and Northland facing a rental crisis, HNZ is back.

If Puriri Park was to be developed privately, you would have to expect that standalone homes would be worth $600,000 to $700,000-plus.

A private developer would not build low cost housing based on the Maunu area's demographics. Should HNZ?

And if HNZ is at all conscious of "ghettoization" - creating ghettos - then Puriri Park must surely be unsuitable. What else would a state housing development in Maunu create?

Residents would be - are already being - subjected to negative, stereotypical stigma, and the development would stifle and possibly lower property prices.

It wouldn't be a smart move.

Selling the MOE land to a private developer and investing the funds elsewhere would be.

Cold comfort for Northlanders on a HNZ waiting list, living in motels.

But potentially, a state housing development in Puriri Park is going to create more social challenges than it solves.