Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou consider purchasing state homes

By Heeni Brown

There is one whānau in Kaitī, Gisborne, who have bought their state-owned home after living in it for the past 40 years, and they back the idea of local tribes having control over the rent in their region. 

As the Government looks to sell old Housing New Zealand homes, Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou is considering purchasing them.

Kaitī is a heavily populated state housing area, and it's rare to find a homeowner, but the Tuwairua whānau do.

Wanita Tuwairua-Brown says, “There's only three actual home owners up this street and if you look at the conditions they're homes are in, they are much looked after.”

Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou aren't in a position to buy the more than 1000 state houses in the Gisborne district, but they are looking elsewhere.

While the state houses in Kaitī continue to have the Government as its landlord, the Tuwairua whānau want more done for the people in their area.

Maudi Tuwairua says, “I think it's up to the Government or whoever is in charge of the homes is to give them a chance and help them to at least put a deposit down.”

The Prime Minister today says there have been discussions with community housing providers and iwi, but he says a decision on whether to sell off their state housing to them is long way off yet.

“I haven't seen any formal requests.  I think it's very much in its infancy and we haven't made decisions yet on how that might work,” says John Key.

Mayor Meng Foon says the Government has played a poor part in keeping the state houses in his district to a liveable standard and says iwi rūnanga will do a better job at being landlords.

According to Meng Foon, “I see many of these homes are run down with broken windows.”

Te Rūnanganui o Ngati Porou Chief Executive Teepa Wawatai says the Crown needs to come out and provide more clarity in the process and their intentions of these state homes.