A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is set to be signed next month between Housing New Zealand, Napier City Council and Maraenui-based community group Rōpu a-Iwi Trust will give much needed direction for the future housing plans of Maraenui after state houses were left empty for more than three years in the area.
These vacant, lifeless shells have been dubbed the "eyesores" of Maraenui by locals, but new life is about to be breathed into the area.
According to Andrew Cairns, “Opportunities like this don't come around very often, so it is very exciting, it gives us that opportunity to revitalise this community, and some people have talked about it as the most unique opportunity in decades for Maraenui.”
Though details of the MoU set to be signed next month are still being finalised, the agreement will set in place the long term housing future of Maraenui for the next forty years rather than the short term.
“The MoU is really just setting out principles for how we're going to work collaboratively together and also with the community,” says Cairns.
Maraenui has made some housing progress with the opening of seven new two bedroom units in April this year, but last month's announcement to demolish 33 buildings in the area, will mean serious public consultation on what to do with the empty spaces left behind.
Mayor of Napier, Bill Dalton says, “Maraenui is a very important part of Napier's landscape, and it's important that we get a good outcome, and by all working together we will get an appropriate outcome.”
Though this MoU is a good first step for rejuvenating area, it's not an overnight solution as solving housing issues is a complex process and will require much planning and consultation.