New housing strategy described as game changer for Māori homeowners

By Jessica Tyson

The new national Māori housing strategy, Maihi Ka Ora, is expected to be a game-changer for Māori homeowners and whānau living in emergency and transitional housing.

There are six major components to the strategy including Māori-Crown partnerships, Māori-led local solutions, Māori housing supply, Māori housing support, Māori housing system and Māori housing sustainability. All are anchored in Te Tiriti. 

And Associate Minister of Housing (Māori housing) Peeni Henare says the strategy will be reviewed every two to three years “to make sure that we’re actually living up to what we’re saying here”.  

He says that in the past too many strategies were written “without our people”.

“This was a particular pathway that we decided to take where we worked with iwi and [represetatives of] Māori housing interests, to be able to develop a strategy that will not only bring us together to work collaboratively but also look for an enduring and long-term vision on Māori housing aspirations.”

Henare says the strategy will not be a repeat of the previous He Whare Āhuru He Oranga Tangata Māori housing strategy.

$730m difference

“The difference this time is we’ve secured $730 million to be able to support Māori housing strategy from building all the way down to our whānau who are still in transitional housing and emergency housing.”

He says in the past many of the barriers to more housing were within government agencies but the new strategy is endorsed by a number of Māori housing providers.

“What the strategy does is it coordinates government agencies and everyone else involved in the housing sector. We know it can’t just be done as we’ve done it in the past. So we’ve got to break down the barriers.”

He says Maihi Ka Ora also takes a holistic approach to housing.

"It grows from an understanding that a healthy, secure and affordable house is only part of the solution to the crisis we are facing. We must also make sure that what is inside our whare, our whānau, is just as healthy as the building that surrounds them."

“We all know the statistics. The number of Māori who are homeless, those who cannot find an affordable rental, many who see owning their own home as an aspiration for the well off. But the statistics we see, the numbers used to describe the state of crisis we find ourselves in, they have faces. They are our whānau. Our cousins, our nannies, our children and their children."