Dreams of building kaumatua housing at Papakura Marae are a step closer.
Marae Chief Executive Tony Kake has told Papakura Local Board that pledges to complete the $2.7million in funding that will be required have been made.
“It’s fantastic news because our kaumatua are integral to the running of Papakura Marae and what we want to achieve,” he said of the plans that will see six of the nine units planned begin to take shape next year, and the underground infrastructure for all nine put in place.
“There is a long way to go, because we will need to seek consents, and we have already reimagined what we want to do so that some trees can be saved. But it’s looking good and the goal is in sight.”
Mr Kake says Te Puni Kokiri, Auckland Council and Marae whanau have been amazing supporters of the Papakāinga/Māori housing initiative since the idea was suggested.
“Everyone is quick to bag the council but Papakura Local Board, Manurewa-Papakura Cr Daniel Newman and council Maori Housing lead Shane Cook and his planning and regulatory colleagues have all been incredibly supportive. We wouldn’t be where we are at without that support.
“It’s humbling, and we are grateful for all the support, financial and in terms of expertise.”
In June, the council’s Community Development and Safety Committee approved $150,000 from the Cultural Initiatives Fund for Papakura’s Papakāinga/Māori housing project.
Councillor Newman says the marae’s excellent record makes it easy to support. “Everything Tony and his team do makes a positive impact and a difference to the lives of the people.
“I’m in awe of the energy, passion and dedication they show, and it should be rewarded because Papakura Marae is a bastion of our community.”
Last December Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $1 million investment to support the Kaumātua housing plan, praising council’s role in allowing the development on its land.
“We need to design and enable innovative approaches to accelerate whānau, hapū and iwi development,” she said then.
Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says the proposed units are disabled and tamariki-friendly because mokopuna are often cared for.
“When these homes are built, they will be filled with people who are amazing repositories of wisdom and humility, and I can’t wait to see the life that brings to this special place," he says.
Mr Cook says because the Marae is on council land, hurdles have had to be overcome.
“But when good people inside the council get alongside good people from outside it and work as partners, you can achieve great outcomes.”
The marae hosted the inauguration of local board members after the October elections, presenting each member with pounamu taonga as koha to symbolise the value of the partnership between the board and marae.
“It’s not easy to lead, to be the people who forge a new way of working together, but these homes will stand as a symbol of what partnership can bring about,” Mr Kake says.