Kei Roto I Te Whare

by / August 13, 2012

Indigenous and Māori housing

“It is the perfect time to think big, think differently and prepare ourselves to work together in new and innovative ways, however, it takes courage, patience and much understanding to achieve this.”

Tēnā koutou, my name is Kaye-Maree Dunn and I am honored to contribute to this year’s Te Ao Mārama. I wanted to start with a mihi to our various tribal leaders who have passed on that have made their own significant contributions to Indigenous Housing Developments across the world that have impacted upon their people and their territories. I would also like to acknowledge our current leaders who are tirelessly working on making a difference at a whānau (family) hapū/iwi (extended family) and community level.

I thought it best to start by reflecting on the significant Māori Housing Developments that have taken place in 2011-12. It is wonderful to note that just over $3 million of social housing funds has been invested into Māori Housing Projects in Northland, Tauranga, Wairoa and the East Coast. 150,000 homes have been made warmer and drier with the Governments insulation programme. We have a dedicated Associate Minister for Housing—Hon Tariana Turia, a spokeswoman for Iwi Leaders in Housing—Naida Glavish, a National Māori Community Housing Trust—Te Matapihi He Tirohanga mo te Iwi, a vocal and active Māori caucus of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, a brand new Māori Trustee and a promise to refocus and prioritise Māori Housing potential in Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry of Māori Affairs). We have also had two significant reports that took a comprehensive review of the history and potential of Māori Housing from the Office of the Auditor General that looked at the Effectiveness of Government support of Māori Housing on Māori Land and the latest Productivity Commissions Inquiry into Housing Affordability with a focus on Māori housing issues.

I firmly believe that now is an opportune time to think big, think differently and prepare ourselves to work together in new and innovative ways to actualize Māori housing aspirations. Attending the World Indigenous Housing Conference in Vancouver was an amazing experience and provided a wonderful opportunity to work with other senior leaders from different countries to share our respective views on indigenous housing potential. The World Indigenous Housing Conference was the first international event to bring Indigenous housing leaders and senior government officials from around the world together to learn from best practices, build a global network, and showcase Indigenous cultures. Over 800 delegates from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States participated in this event, giving our people access to an international arena of influential leaders and decision makers in Indigenous housing.

One of the key outcomes of the World Indigenous Housing Conference (WIHC) was an assertion that “successful indigenous housing devolution requires resources and capacity building and those national governments around the world must enact legislation and allocate adequate resources to indigenous housing to build capacity within indigenous communities and devolve housing programs to indigenous self-management”.

Aotearoa took a co-ordinated delegation group of over 37 key leaders from across the country, proudly led by our Associate Minister Tariana Turia and Iwi Leaders Group Spokeswoman Naida Glavish. This experience gave us an opportunity to share our stories and experiences in Māori Housing Development with a view to maximizing our collective strength, to take key learning’s and apply them here in Aotearoa. By being exposed to speakers under the key themes of Sharing Our Stories, Governance and Capacity Building, Government Partnerships, Housing as a Determinant of Health, and Disaster Preparedness our NZ Delegation members will continue to better strategise, contribute and plan housing developments at whānau, hapū and iwi level.

For further information on the conference and presentations, check out the portal http://indigenoushousing.org/

I was asked, why is housing for your iwi, hapū, whanau so important to your mahi, at your organisation (what does the motivation come from?)

My motivation comes from the belief that all New-Zealanders must have access to warm, safe affordable housing and I am proud to work with an organisation that is committed to working in partnership with others to co-create better living solutions.

I was asked: “How high up the priority order is housing becoming to the future aspirations of Māori in Aotearoa (from being on the ground where you are)?”

How do we create communities, family homes where we “get along”, where we support and look after one another? Where our needs are met and where all our children are safe and warm? Housing as a discrete area on its own, it is inextricably linked to all other facets of human and community development and needs serious focus and attention.

The potential for Whanau Ora and Housing potential is still untapped, but the ability for whanau/families to be resourced to discuss and plan for their housing aspirations, to build on their own land is only the beginning. I would like to see a fully resourced National Māori Housing Organisation which holds
the role of advocacy and regional housing development and support. I would like to see the proliferation of facilitators, navigators and connectors—much like the Māori Welfare Officers of the past whose sole role is to help support whanau get through the mine field of local and central government policy, funding, resource access and planning. Imagine having access to the wide range of magnificent designers and architects, trainers, builders and financiers, who are woven together for the sole purpose of supporting and actualizing Māori Housing aspirations.

I was asked: “What actions are making the most difference through the housing projects you’re involved with?”

Active sharing and collaboration—especially groups with limited expertise or little or no resources have been able to approach other groups for help with templates, advice on design, financial and tenancy management, alternative and affordable building solutions, co-operative models so they can achieve their goal of living with and close to their whanau.

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