One Māori student advocate at Massey University fears rent increases to Wellington rental properties and a lack of accommodation availability could put students off studying. This follows a reported warning from property experts of the market heating up during the next few months.
Second-year Massey University student Joseph Ngametuangaro has been looking for accommodation in Wellington for over a year. He blames the struggle on rental prices out of his student allowance range.
"In the last month I would say the rent has gone a little bit up like I would say from maybe $200 to $350.”
For now he's staying with whānau in Stokes Valley 40 mins away from his campus. Despite being out of pocket at the end of the week after rent and travel expenses he counts himself lucky.
"I've seen a lot of students from uni, some of them have actually become homeless. I think I've seen about five or six and they're pretty much desperate to find a place. They usually look online to find people that have cheap places- usually it's like, short term."
With experts warning of rental market competition up in next few weeks, Māori Student representative Hine Tihore fears more students could be put out on the streets before the semester begins in February.
"I think there's also a possibility that students might be a bit dismayed or might not even pursue study because it is hard to find somewhere suitable to live."
But she says there is help available.
"My best advice would be to reach out, to reach out to the student associations, so for Massey that's MAWSA, but also students can and should reach out to whānau, the Tauira Māori associations, to marae and churches- basically just anyone they can because no one should have to live in a place that's unsafe."