Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei uses commercial homes to fund papakainga

By Aroha Mane

Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrakei is using their treaty settlement land on Auckland’s North Shore to fund their papakainga initiatives.

The Iwi has built their first commercial home in Belmont and placed it on the market. Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei plans to build a total of 350 homes.

Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei Project Manager for Oneoneroa Anahera Rawiri told Te Ao, “We're excited to launch the opening of our new commercial homes in Auckland, at the area originally known as Oneoneroa. It was also the name restored to the land when the iwi purchased it.”

Oneoneroa is not a papakainga (iwi-housing) initiative but a commercial investment. Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei remains committed to housing its people, but needs the funds to do so.

“Here in Belmont and October 2019 the average price for a home he was $1.1 million. The market has been quite interesting for us here in 2012 there was quite a lot of opposition for us coming to this area. We paid for this land is part of our commercial redress package from the crown. I think there's a lot of misconceptions about how we got this land.”

In 2011 the iwi signed their deed of settlement which included a redress package. That redress package was used to secure surplus New Zealand defense force land on the North Shore.

“We purchased this land in 2012 as part of our settlement. We put down a deposit of $18 million for the land which in total costs $120 million.”

Profits from the commercial arm will be transferred to the iwi's housing programme.

“All profits from the commercial arm will go back to the iwi. We've been able to do things like public-housing, upgrading rental homes for the people and we’re currently working on 10 brand new kaumatua flats.”

The project was also an opportunity for the iwi to employ their own people.

“We are really excited to have our own people working on the site we've got Ōkahu-Natives who have been advising and supplying all of our native plants. We've been working with all our contract is to make sure our people are front of the line when it comes to employment opportunities.”

So far, the build of three homes is complete and another 10 are expected early next year.