Huntly state homes redeveloped to provide affordable housing

By Te Ao Māori News

The small community of Huntly opened the first of their houses under the Nikau Whānau Estate Trust.  Former Kiwi player Tawera Nikau and a group from Matahuru Marae took the initiative recently to purchase and redevelop state homes in the area.

The beauty about this project is, the whānau moving in also took part in the renovations.

John Biddle is a beneficiary from Matahuru Marae who has just bought his second home, thanks to their whānau trust.

Biddle says, “Our family trust, Nikau Whānau Estate Trust created the Nikau Housing Ltd Company that actually purchased sixteen of these homes from Housing NZ, myself and one another family member purchased two of them.”

Nikau Housing LTD purchased the 16 state houses in Huntly for $1.2 million.

Tawera Nikau says, “One of the key elements of purchasing the houses from the RFR, was to give the opportunity for our own whānau to own their own homes.”

As part of the 95 Waikato-Tainui settlement, the iwi receives Right of First Refusal on Crown land including state houses. Through the settlement, iwi members like Tawera Nikau took the opportunity to buy them.

Nikau says, “Over the years we've looked at papakāinga housing, social housing for our own whanau. It was a really good opportunity with the RFR properties and the price of the housing was a really good investment for the Trust.”

The houses have three or four bedrooms, ranging from $110,000 to $170,000.  Some have been bought for the long haul, with some seeing the investment value.

Biddle says, “I purchased this as an investment property. It's a second home, to teach the rest of our family members how to do something similar.”

It's hoped that Waikato-Tainui's decision to claim land in Auckland will also provide a pathway for their beneficiaries living in that area, to buy their own home.