Published: 3 December 2022
Today nineteen whānau are moving into brand new, fully furnished homes at Te Ara o Takapū Taitā Lower Hutt. A blessing was held on site this morning at dawn led by Te Āti Awa to clear the way for the whānau.
Clarke and Bella Tarawhiti outside their new home with Peggy Luke-Ngaheke Chair Kahungunu Whānau Services (at centre)
The homes have been delivered through an innovative housing partnership called Takai Here Tāngata between Kahungunu Whānau Services, Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa, Hutt City Council and Council-controlled organisation Urban Plus Limited. This gives effect to the vision for the village provided by Kura Moeahu, “He Herenga Kura, He Herenga Tangata, He Herenga Whenua - A sacred connection that unites the people and binds us to the land,” where new pathways and practices are adopted to enable healthy, thriving, secure and affordable homes to be built across Lower Hutt.
Chair of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa Kura Moeahu says today marks a two-year journey to get the homes built in challenging times. “There is an urgent need to provide warm and dry homes for whānau who are in high housing stress. The partnership between Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa, Kahungunu Whānau Services, Hutt City Council and Urban Plus has succeeded in delivering nineteen homes that thirty-four people will be living in. This is significant for our people, and we want to do more.”
Clarke and Bella Tarawhiti who have moved into a one-bedroomed home are pleased that finally they have a permanent place to call home. The couple has lived in Lower Hutt for almost sixty years. Their most recent home, which they lived in with their adult son and grandson who both have high health needs, was cramped, unhealthy and unaffordable, “At our time of life we’re grateful to finally have a permanent home, to have our whānau nearby and to meet our new whānau who will be living alongside us in this beautiful village.”
Mayor Campbell Barry says the partnership acts on Council’s commitment to putting people and whānau at the centre of its own housing developments across the city.
“Our city is facing significant challenges with homelessness and housing costs, and it’s projects like Takai Here Tāngata that will make a real difference for getting people and whānau out of housing stress and into permanent housing. This demonstrates what we can achieve for our people and communities through genuine partnership, and I’m proud that by working together, we have been able to provide for these families,” says Mayor Campbell Barry.
Deputy Chair of Kahungunu Whānau Services Mike Hinton says Te Ara o Takapū is about the creation of a community that functions together and is full of hope. “Each of the organisations represented in the Takai Here Tāngata partnership have stepped up and come together to create the environment where this community can thrive. These whānau now have a safe and quality home and I’m overjoyed that they are moving in before Christmas especially in these testing times. When asked where do you live? They will now be able to proudly say Te Ara o Takapū!”
Keri Brown, Director of Urban Plus Ltd, says Urban Plus is proud to build homes for whānau who are experiencing housing stress.
"This development was important to Urban Plus Ltd, the contractors and sub-contractors. Energy hardship is an added stress. We wanted houses that whānau could afford the right amount of heat needed to keep warm, as we know many children are hospitalised from living in damp cold homes. The houses are top quality and highly efficient, so it costs a lot less to warm the home and hold the heat.
"We are planning for more partnerships like this and actively contributing to all children in Te Awa Kairangi / Lower Hutt living in a warm, dry home", says Keri Brown.
All houses have been built to Homestar-6 standards. This means homes use less energy and water, are built with less waste during the construction process, heating costs are lowered through increased thermal performance and materials used to build the homes have lower environmental impacts. Other features include energy efficient lighting, slab insulation, improved wall and ceiling insulation and improved ventilation.
Food packages have been provided by Urban Plus Limited and Kahungunu Whānau Services so that pātaka kai (pantries) in the homes are full stocked when whānau move in.
Furniture has been supplied by Kahungunu Whānau Services.
Wrap around support will be provided to the whānau by Kahungunu Whānau Services. This includes regular health services, parenting support and health checks for tamariki alongside other assistance. Each of the whānau was welcomed at a Pōwhiri held at Waiwhetū marae on Thursday.
The homes were built by Mike Greer Commercial Ltd who employed more than a dozen apprentices during the build.