Wainuiōmata whānau grateful for new warm home ahead of winter

By Aroha Mane

Eddie and Michelle Edmonds and their son Kaitiaki Manawa have just moved into their new home in Wainuiōmata.

Their new home is based on iwi land 'Te Punawai' and is a Taranaki Whānui housing development initiative that will put a roof over their families before the harsh winter cold sets in.

Many are unfortunate not to live in a warm dry home throughout COVID but the Edmonds whānau are one of the lucky few.

"It's just a privilege and very grateful for leaders of the iwi to make decisions that this should be a papa kāinga for Te Āti Awa.

"I'm just grateful that we get to raise our son or raise our little whānau on this whenua," says Eddie Edmonds.

Michelle Love Edmonds says, "It's a feeling that we're happy to achieve and especially for our boy, it's awesome." 

Te Punawai is one of many housing developments that Taranaki Whānui are involved within the Wellington area and the wellbeing of their people has always been at the forefront of these initiatives. 

Ihakara Dentice says, "For us, it's one of the most crucial things considering how we develop these homes here for our whānau. That was one of the primary considerations for us to ensure we have warm safe homes for our whānau, for our mokopuna, for our tamariki."

Stats NZ released figures yesterday that 1 in 3 Māori and Pasifika people still live in cold damp homes. Part of the Government's COVID response was to ensure that all New Zealanders had a warm dry home at this time.  

The Ministry of Health Director-General, Dr Ashley Bloomfield says, "It is an ongoing issue and as our housing stock is upgraded and renewed here in New Zealand, it's one of the key focuses is ensuring that houses are insulated properly.

"As you're also aware that last year there were requirements brought in on landlords to ensure and requiring them to insulate any of their rental properties appropriately."

There is a mix of housing options to serve varied needs across Taranaki Whānui and affordability through clever design and using high-quality materials. The end result is nothing more than spectacular.  

Ihakara Dentice says, "We've got too many of our people going into hospital with preventable diseases and pneumonia, rheumatic fever and all those sorts of things. And we just thought look it's really important to have a safe warm home."

The Edmonds remain humble in their success in acquiring their own home and say they know too well the struggles that come with renting.  

Eddie Edmonds says, "We've worked hard to be in this position to but it's also a great opportunity."