Te Puna Wai Papakāinga opens first home for Wainuiomata whānau

By Jessica Tyson

Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika is a step closer to providing homes for future generations following the opening of Te Rā Whakatō Mouri, the first stage of their Te Puna Wai Papakāinga Housing Project.

The project is planned to provide 82 homes, opening the doors to a new life for whānau in Wainuiomata.

Port Nicholson Trustee Ihakara Puketapu Dentice says it's a communal Māori land where whānau can come together and support each other, “under our mountain Pukeatua, next to our spring Pukeatua”.

But it was a very rocky road getting there, regarding land retention. If whanau didn't take them, some properties would end up on the open market.

Anania Randall, of Te Atī Awa, says, “It’s been a very good project coming together as a people focusing on housing and land retention for us it is about that sustainability for the future, for our tamariki and our young families.”

Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta says the project has had the support of Te Puni Kokiri to help fund 34 properties.

“Twenty one will be for elders, 23 for the people and the rest are for those who want to buy or rent them,” says Mahuta.

For whābau who migrated there to find work, the valley was a very different place.

“My thoughts go back to when elder Kara was working for the Māori Affairs, where the seed was sown to help families who wanted to buy homes by capitalising on the family benefit, and its similar to what is in place now,” says Mahuta.

Now those aspirations have been set in stone, and watching over them are their tūpuna Tohu and te Whiti.

“Therefore its been a long time working hard to get this idea up now we see the outcome of a housing project makes me happy,” says Mahuta.