60 new homes from Kāinga Ora for vulnerable Rotorua whānau

By Herewini Waikato

To help meet the high demand for housing in Rotorua, Kāinga Ora is building 60 new homes on Collie Drive, Pukehangi. 

These homes are for those in greatest need of a home. Jesseith Matthews, who is disabled, has been living in emergency housing for eight months with her three children.

All she wants for Christmas is a permanent home for her and her children.

Some say staying in a motel can be like a holiday. But this wahine from Te Tai Tokerau thinks otherwise.

“Oh hell no it’s a stress pot,” she said.

Jesseith Matthews in her motel unit.

Left homeless

Matthews’ rental of three years was sold by its owner, which left her homeless.

Matthews told Te Ao Mārama she pays $1,244 per week for her two-bedroom motel unit. "It's not worth it. I sleep in the lounge on a double bed and my kids share the two rooms,” Matthews said.

Kāinga Ora is building 60 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes off-site in a factory. They will be bought by trucks to the site and infrastructure, decks and fences will be added. This method is used to ensure the quickest production and Nelson Meha of Kāinga Ora is overseeing its completion.

“There is a lack of houses available for Māori and for all here in Rotorua,” Meha said. “We have this land and we will build homes for those with the greatest need.”

In greatest need

Kāinga Ora will match homes to people and families on the housing register.

These would become their long-term homes, with priority given to those in greatest need.

Councillor Tania Tapsell knows all too well the importance of this development, she said.

“We have up to 800 people in emergency housing. We are doing all that we can to not only get them out into homes of their own but also so we can ensure that our community can continue to thrive.”

As Christmas is only a few weeks away all Matthews wants is a whare for her family.

The first 37 homes will be completed by the end of 2022.