Māori make up 60% of homeless, 40% of public housing tenants - Te Matapihi

By Bronson Perich

The general manager of a national Māori housing advocacy says that Māori are moving away from the cities due to high housing prices. GM Wayne Knox of Te Matapihi says that although the highest level of Māori who need housing are in the cities, the rural regions need help too.

 “A lot of our whānau are wanting to move back to their whenua. In particularly because the urban environment, and terms of home ownership or even renting is just unfeasible for them,” Wayne Knox says.

Knox believes that the recent allotment of $40 million into Māori housing will be used to help the most vulnerable whānau.

“Absolutely I think the intention of the new $40 million pūtea that’s recently been announced is to address the most vulnerable whānau,” Knox says.

Wayne Knox talks housing - Photo / File

He says that up to 60% of homeless and up to 40% of public housing tenants are Māori. However, housing the homeless is only the tip of the iceberg. Recent statistics show that one out of three Māori and Pasifika live in damp homes. So the problem is, he says, one of quality as well, as the quantity of houses.

“Overcrowding has really been highlighted during lockdown because of the need for whānau to be able to isolate,” Knox says.

Going forward, Knox says that a Māori-led housing solution is key. What that will look like on the ground, he says will vary. This is because of the diverse problems, solutions and situations that face Māori.