Large Families to be left in cold despite HNZ redevelopments

By Talisa Kupenga

Housing New Zealand (HNZ) will demolish an uninhabitable multi-million dollar state housing complex in Onehunga to make way for around 70 new homes. But a community leader is concerned the new development does not cater for big families.

Thirty-four of these two and three-bedroom properties will be demolished to make way for new [one and two-bedroom] units.

Hāpai te Hauora’s Rangi McLean says "I do not really see the benefits for Māori because we have big families. The idea of cutting our families down in size does not sit well with me."

The news comes at the peak of a national housing crisis. HNZ says the development is a positive opportunity for it to create more social housing and make better use of its land.

"At the meeting at Te Puea the other night we saw the multitudes of large families still living on the streets because the small houses cannot accommodate them," McLean says.

Housing New Zealand could not yet tell Te Kāea how many of the new units would be one or two-bedroom, but if we assumed it was to be half of each, that would only equate to 95 total rooms provided. That’s only five rooms more than what is already there.

"It is the big families that are missing out and the government is not addressing this issue,” McLean says.

"If these families are forced to downsize it will affect them mentally, physically and spiritually."

Tenders are now being let to knock down the properties, but it is not yet clear when demolition will begin.