The first four of a planned 36 new Housing New Zealand homes to be built in Whakatāne have been blessed.

One of the four Kirk St homes will have new tenants from Wednesday.

Housing New Zealand programme director Nick Seymour said it was a great feeling to be celebrating the opening of the homes.

"It's a bit of a milestone for housing New Zealand in that this is the first time we have built new homes in Whakatāne for many, many years," Seymour said.

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The builds are part of phase two of Housing New Zealand's Regional Housing Programme that aims to meet the need for housing in regions throughout the country.

Seymour said Tuesday's opening was a pre-cursor.

"We're going to be building another 32 homes between now and Christmas 2019."

The new builds will see 14 one-bedroom, 16 two-bedroom and two three-bedrooms homes located in Crete St (4), Lovelock St (9), Russell St (4), Salonika St (3), Salonika and King Sts (4) and Soutars Ave (8).

"As well as the building, we are also forward to encouraging new tenants into these new homes and supporting them with their tenancy journey."

Seymour said one of the focuses involved in the Whakatāne build, and indeed all new Housing New Zealand builds, was recycling.

"We're trying to use as much material from the old houses that are being replaced, in the new homes we are building," Seymour said.

"We are recycling as much as we can, both for mana whenua and for ourselves as an organisation."

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The four homes were blessed by local kaumātua Hemana Eruera at a small ceremony where guests were able to walk through one of the new homes.

"We look forward to inviting member of the community back as we open the next lots of homes."