Community housing creates 30 new affordable homes in Auckland
The Kāinga Tuatahi housing project located on ancestral land at Bastion Point is nearing completion. Built for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the project has a strong emphasis on providing affordable housing for their tribe on land that they bought back from the Crown in 1996.
Ngarimu Blair, a board member of Ngati Whatua’s commercial arm Whai Rawa said banks and the iwi would underwrite mortgages to help whanau get their own property.
“We want to invest in our assets and our people and this Kainga development will be an important first step to home ownership” he said. “Eighty percent of our dwellings meet the Government’s affordable definition, being $550,000 or less,” Blair said of the scheme, declared a Special Housing Area under the Auckland Housing Accord between the Government and Auckland Council, which demands 10 per cent of places are affordable”.
The first stage of the project encompasses 30 medium density houses on a 40 acre site that will one day house around 3000 people.
“If we built stand alone housing with everyone having their own section and a big fence around them we’d only fit 900 more people in but with a well designed masterplan we’ll get over 3000 people here” says Blair.
The masterplan designed by Boffa Miskell incorporates the cultural values of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei into a contemporary design with health, wellbeing and the community being key themes for the development.
Native and locally sourced planting has been used to create a sense of space between buildings, while a communal orchard and vegetable gardens will encourage healthy lifestyles. Open spaces and communal amenities such as BBQs, playgrounds and pocket parks facilitate community and group gatherings. Each house also has its own private open space for time away from the wider community.
Safety has also been a consideration with appropriate sight lines to communal spaces created and ‘slow zone’ access ways that encourage pedestrian activity and low speed traffic. And up to 60% of the families power needs will be provided by solar panels. The masterplan was designed by Boffa Miskell.
“The most significant challenge has been the weather” says Kate Healy, COO Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rewa Ltd. “We had a really long wet winter in Auckland”
“To combat this we pulled in more resources when it was fine to get the concrete work done so that once we were out of the ground it wasn’t such a problem to carry on with things” says Craig Inverarity, Arrow Construction Project Manager.
However the Arrow team is the first to admit that installing tonnes of tall, narrow precast panels on top of a hill in the middle of winter was a test and was done with great care.
“What is placed there in a short time needs to stand there for a very long time” says Craig. “We are creating a home for somebody in the end and that is very personal”.
The first families moved in on 26 February 2016.
“It is very exciting; we are now just down the road from our home which is the Orakei Marae. Our kids and grandkids now have a place to stay and learn everything about their culture” says Rosina Borrell who moved from Onehunga with her husband.
“The children get to grow up next to the Marae amongst all their family and the community that they will hold forever in their hearts” said Rewa Harriman another home owner who watched the development take shape with interest.
12 houses are currently occupied and another 18 will be finished by the end of May.