Northland social housing initiatives have been given more than $3 million from the Government, in a move one housing advocate says is a great start to helping house the region's needy.
On Sunday Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced funding of almost $900,000 for Ōtangarei Papakāinga, in Whangārei, towards achieving its vision of a proud, vibrant, prosperous community.
Mahuta said the efforts were underpinned by the development of Ōtangarei Papakāinga.
"The Government's funding has now been confirmed and construction is expected to start soon. I'm so proud to be with you today and to share in this success. Congratulations,'' she said at the announcement in Ōtangarei.
"It is clear to me that Ōtangarei whānau are passionate about their community and what the future looks like for its tamariki.''
She said the project is an example of a successful partnership between Government and Māori.
Government funding for this project included a grant of $450,000 from Te Puni Kōkiri and $431,241 from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. The Ōtangarei Papakāinga contribution is $50,000 and Te Hau Awhiowhio o Ōtangarei Trust will provide a loan of up to $200,000.
"Warm, safe, healthy homes are the right of all whānau. This housing project will do more: It will provide a platform for you to rebuild your future, ensuring the ongoing wellbeing of this community," Mahuta said.
Ōtangarei Papakāinga chief executive Martin Kaipo said the funding was a great step towards providing much-needed social housing in the community and the group was already talking with the Government and other stakeholders about ensuring there were appropriate wrap-around services available for the papakainga project.
''Everything from budgeting advice, social workers, employment help, the wrap-around services that will help make people stronger into the future.''
Kaipo said the first stage was to construct six units on a property next to Fishbone Park and it was hoped work on the ground would start next month.
''It's not the total answer, but it's a great start to help providing this much-needed housing in the area. Hopefully this is the first step for the tenants. We can get them into a rental situation and hopefully transition them into owning their own homes eventually. This offers real hope.''
Kaipo said it was also key to get the right support networks in place to help the tenants.
Yesterday Mahuta also announced an investment of up to $2.3m into the Whaingaroa Community Development Project.
She said the first tranche of funds, $650,000, will be made available at the end of February. The project will focus on housing initiatives in Kaeo/Whangaroa rohe including housing repairs and affordable home ownership options through investment packages.
Mahuta congratulated Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa for successfully bringing this project – called Te Oranga o Ngā Hapori – to fruition having spent the past three years working with Te Puni Kōkiri and other partners. The aim was to identify the aspirations of the hapū and whānau that will ensure the future wellbeing of the community.
"Together we need to design and create innovative approaches to accelerate whānau, hapū and iwi development. Whānau leading their own development aspirations provides the platform to drive and lead development in their community. If we can support all whānau to thrive, this will create a step-change for New Zealand and create a more prosperous future for everyone,'' Mahuta said.