Ngāti Whātua want in on Government plan to develop Crown land

By Maiki Sherman

Auckland iwi say they're interested in purchasing Crown land being made available for housing developments, adding that they would also invest in such housing.

The initiative comes as part of the Government's Budget announced yesterday, aimed at easing the housing pressure in Auckland.

Ngāti Whātua run a slick business when it comes to property development in Auckland and says it wants in on the Government's plan to develop Crown land.  

Ngarimu Blair says, “The first thing for us as an iwi is to purchase and hold on to that land.”

The Government is preparing around 430 hectares of Crown-owned land for housing development.  As part of the Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Treaty settlement, the 13 iwi have first right of refusal to purchase land.

Ngāti Whātua owns around 150 houses and is currently building another 30.  Māori are certainly looking to become more involved in the sector. 

Blair says, “In the Auckland CBD are some of the properties that Ngāti Whātua has developed and so we have the skills.”

Minister Te Ururoa Flavell says, “What I am hearing is that Māori want to be more involved in the housing sector.  Not to simply be a tenant, but to be more involved.”

The big question is whether housing intended to be built on Crown land will be affordable for families living in poverty?

“The hope is to build houses to cater for the entire market and so we need to sit with the Crown and discuss how to make that happen,” says Blair.

The tender process will open shortly for development contracts.