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Kaumatua housing plan gets a boost

More kaumatua units for Papakura

Published: 31 March 2021

Three extra kaumatua housing units will be built at Papakura Marae – bringing the total to nine.

With six units nearing completion, the Papakura Local Board has granted approval for another three on the Te Koiwi Park land.

Board landowner approval was needed, and extends to all the associated waste and potable water infrastructure.

The new units will be built alongside the six units being completed, with all nine sited within the marae’s existing leased area.

Papakura Local Board members visited the marae to see the nearly completed units and the site of the proposed homes.

Board chair Brent Catchpole says what the marae has been able to achieve needs to be celebrated.

“We are going to see these homes filled by kaumatua who can offer so much in terms of their knowledge, tikanga and wisdom to the marae. It will be like having living taonga on hand.”

Board seniors’ portfolio holder Sue Smurthwaite says the way the six existing units have been designed, built, and integrated into the site made granting approval for three more an easy decision.

“Papakura Marae plays an enormous role in the heart of this community. It is filled with people working tirelessly for the benefit of not only Māori whānau, but the whole of our town.”

Manurewa-Papakura Councillor Daniel Newman says the way the board and marae work together should be a model for urban marae elsewhere in the city.

“I’m delighted approval will see more units built, and I salute Whare Papakāinga leader Anne Kendall and marae CEO Tony Kake for the way they have championed this project and brought the board into it.”

The marae has already raised millions of dollars to build the first units and Mr Kake says seeing them nearing completion is satisfying but also challenging, since work to secure financing for the three new proposed homes will have to begin.

“But small steps. No use going out for funding until you have the required permissions in place, so having the board’s support is crucial to us.”

There are already applications for the homes and Mr Kake says allocating them will be a difficult task.

“But that is going to be a good problem to have because our kaumatua are integral to the running of the marae and what we want to achieve here.”

He says Te Puni Kōkiri, Auckland Council and marae whānau have been amazing supporters of the Papakāinga/Māori housing initiative since the idea was first imagined.

“The board, councillors and council Principal Māori Housing lead Shane Cook and his colleagues have been incredibly supportive. We wouldn’t be where we are without that.

“These homes will be filled with people who guard our wisdom and history, and I can’t wait to see the life that brings to this place.”

The marae was established in 1979 to provide cultural, health and social services for Papakura and surrounding areas.

It currently serves more than 5000 people through its health and social services programmes, meets its traditional marae role, acts as an important community facility, and hosts many community groups and schools.

Almost 40,000 people visit the marae, which is used seven-days-a-week, all year round.

The units are all board and batten clad with corrugated iron roofing, aluminium windows, wooden decking and open-plan living designed with elderly access issues in mind.

They also contain te ao Māori features such as tukutuku panels, carved posts and second bedrooms for mokopuna to stay.

“Having more units can only have a positive impact on Māori by further strengthening the marae’s sustainability and hence the contribution and support it provides in the community,” Mr Catchpole says.

“We hope our decision to approve more homes on the site helps demonstrate council’s commitment to advancing Māori social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being.”

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