‘Shovel-ready’ government funding clinches Ngāti Whakaue 1000-home plan

By Tapatahi

Ngāti Whakaue Tribal Lands general manager Ray Morrison is delighted his iwi’s plan for 1000 Rotorua homes has won the government’s tick for “shovel-ready” projects.

Ngāti Whakaue is partnering Rotorua-Lakes District Council and NZTA Waka Kotahi in a development that will create 300 jobs and feature improved roads to resolve traffic issues, stormwater infrastructure, cycleways and iwi homes following a Rotorua “wood-first” policy.

Now the government is handing over $55 million to get the project moving around Wharenui Rd and SH30.

This is the first “shovel-ready” project in the Bay of Plenty made by the Covid Response and Recovery Fund.

General manager Morrison told Tapatahi the roads border Ngati Whakau’s 300ha of land “so that unlocks an opportunity for urban land development across the full spectrum of housing.”

“All roads lead to this being really good news for Rotorua simply because, when you drop $55m into a local economy like ours, it’s got to have some far-reaching and long-term benefits.

Growth aspirations

“For Ngāti Whakaue, specifically, we’re a large landowner and this provides us with much-needed momentum and well-timed support in allowing us to create a platform for our own growth and development aspirations.”

He said that In turn that would allow the incorporation to build its value proposition with the real benefit in housing and other opportunities.

Morrison told Taputahi Ngāti Whakaue launched a housing strategy in November 2019, which was unanimously supported by its owners and shareholders at the annual meeting. “Our people communicated that housing is the No 1 priority.

“So with good planning and a stage approach to urban planning and design and also working with the good people at Kainga Ora and the Ministry of Housing, this will allow the incorporation to ease the housing pressure in Rotorua and, ultimately, support whanau into new homes.”

Late last year the Ministry of Housing coordinated a housing hui in Rotorua to address the city’s housing problems.

From that came a strategy group, which later formulated a housing plan for Rotorua.

“I think the announcement will give the breath of life the strategy needs, so we look forward to being part of that,” Morrison said.