Editors amendments made on 22 February 2022
Whāingaroa will be home to a brand new papakāinga in the coming months which will see tangata whenua finally return to their ancestral land.
After recently getting earthworks consent, Rākaunui 1B Ahuwhenua Trust marked the start of construction with a blessing in September 2021.
In what will be a staged approach, the 5.6 ha piece of land on Wainui Rd in Raglan will soon be home to 22 dwellings, a whare whakaruruhau (communal space) with a kitchen and ablution block. A community garden is also proposed. The housing will be a mixture of collectively owned affordable rental homes and whānau owned homes. The development will also give a real and meaningful connection to the nearby Poihakena mārae.
The whānau behind the papakāinga development have always known and had a connection with Whāingaroa with childhood memories so the desire was strong to reconnect with their whenua and each other. There is a lot of excitement within the whānau to have this opportunity to live together on our ancestral whenua and we are feeling very blessed, Trust chair Monika Newton-Karekare says.
“Housing has become unaffordable in Whāingaroa for tangata whenua, making it difficult for whānau to live on or near their ancestral lands. This papakāinga will make an essential contribution to housing supply for whānau who would otherwise not have the ability to live within this community.
“Our communal area is a huge focus for us, this area which we are developing will allow whānau to visit and holiday from wherever they are living. We aim to hold wananga on a monthly basis once we are organised with different kaupapa, but all with the intention of bringing more whānau back to meet each other, learn about ourselves and our whakapapa. Our expectation is for whānau to form a strong connection with our mārae Poihakena. We will have a connecting pathway through to the mārae from the papakāinga, this is to encourage whānau to participate and contribute in any and all ways that they wish and are able.
We the whānau who whakapapa to Whāingaroa celebrate not only with each other, with our ahi kaa, our whanaunga and we have no doubt that our papakāinga will become a valuable and contributing part of all whānau that make up the community of Whāingaroa,” Monika says.
Waikato District Council Raglan ward councillor Lisa Thomson is excited by the opportunity this latest development and what it means for the relationship between Council and tangata whenua in her community.
“This partnership and us as Council being able to have that relationship with hāpu to help them bring this dream to life is so special. It’s also come at a time when our whānau are struggling to make home ownership possible. This whanau has really worked hard to make this project a reality. They’ve really considered affordability – it’s not just a one size fits all approach. I can’t wait to see the completed project.”
The relationship Council has with hāpu was especially evident with the establishment of the Waikato Agencies Papakāinga Forum, with workshops held with those involved as early as 2014/15.
This forum brought together Waikato District Council, Waikato Regional Council, the Māori Land Court and primary funders Te Puni Kōkiri. Each of these agencies are involved in getting papakāinga development across the line in the Waikato district and it is for this reason the forum was created – to make this journey easier.
This development in Whāingaroa is being progressed under the Pa Zone chapter of the Operative District Plan. The papakāinga chapter, which makes up part of the Proposed Waikato District Plan.
Appeals to the Proposed Waikato District Plan – Decisions version close on March 1, 2022 (30 working days from the decision). The plan will become fully operative when all appeals are resolved.
The whānau have been supported through the Te Puni Kōkiri papakāinga process by Paul Sheeran and his team at Sheeran Associates, who are the leading papakāinga specialists throughout the motu.