The housing woes of the Napier suburb of Maraenui have taken one step forward, after Housing New Zealand, the local Council and a host of other community groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding to revitalise not only the housing stock of Maraenui, but also the community well-being.
Signed, sealed and delivered as close to 10 different organisations commit to making Maraenui a once again flourishing suburb of the future.
Chief Executive of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, George Reedy says, “The MOU represents the opportunity for Māori to take control of its housing needs of its whānau so in the Hawkes Bay we wanted to support the Maraenui initiative.”
According to Andrew Cairns, “We've been working on this for quite a while so it's a very big day and it cements our commitment to relationships with all these organisations.”
All the agencies involved will now work towards creating a master plan for the future housing needs and development of Maraenui. Analysing the needs of the community as a whole.
Maureen Mua of Rōpu a Iwi Trust says, “We consult with them, we tell them what's actually happening, which has been one of the biggest problems, is around community consultation. We've actually got something on the board now that we can go back to them and report to them on.”
The Maraenui Suburban Revitalisation Project was born three years ago after Housing New Zealand announced it would be moving state housing tenants out of the area as it moved to get rid of sub-standard and earthquake prone houses in the area. Leaving behind empty houses that became community eye-sores.
“The houses have been empty for so long that we need to have to do it in such a way that people are enticed or what to come back to the suburb, that's going to be the next challenge for us,” says Mua.
Each organisation will lend its expertise as they explore different housing options that are affordable, such as social housing, as well as encouraging economic development, employment and training initiatives in the area.