New affordable housing offered to descendants of iwi who lost land 200 years ago
Wellington’s Te Aro Pā papakāinga opens its doors
On Saturday 19 March Te Aro Pā papakāinga, at 312 Evans Bay Parade, officially opens its doors to fourteen, affordable new Wellington homes.
Owners, Trustees, neighbours and many people who’ve helped make this development a reality will gather to celebrate and welcome whanau into their new homes.
The people moving into these lovely, light and warm homes might be new to the neighbourhood but some of them will have a long history with Te Whanganui a Tara. Sharing connections back to the original inhabitants of Te Aro Pā.
The original pā was on Wellington’s waterfront at what’s now the intersection of Taranaki and Manners streets. It was here their tupuna lived until displaced by a growing British settlement in the 1870’s. These landowners were later allocated reserves in in Aro Valley (next to the current day Happy Valley landfill and wastewater treatment plant) and more recently swapped this land for the site at Evans Bay.
Almost 200 years later, it’s fair to say the journey home to Evans Bay has been a long and difficult one. The opening of this development is a historic moment that signals the start of a new era and something for its owners and the whole city to be very proud of.
Descendant, owner and Advisory Trustee, Holden Hohaia says, “The original inhabitants of Te Aro Pā were Ngāti Ruanui and Taranaki Iwi and today’s owners are their descendants. My fellow Trustees and I are keen to see this new papakāinga as place for both descendants and the broader Taranaki Whānui tribes to live if they need affordable accommodation.”
The Trustees hope that over time the community of people who come and go in this papakāinga build on the shoulders of their tupuna to create a strong positive foundation for many generations to follow.
“When visions become a reality people become confident and trustworthy I believe through the collective the future looks great. These apartments will inspire and lift all those who will live in them.” Says Taku Parai, Descendant, owner and Advisory Trustee.
Ten three-bedroom units and four one-bedroom units, in two blocks separated by a shared garden, have been designed by Wellington architect Roger Walker. His brief was to design housing to support affordable, modern Māori living that looks great and feels like home.
“I wanted the homes to be sustainable and low maintenance, and take advantage of the community focus of a papakāinga and reflect the heritage of the owners. It was a challenging site, but such privilege to work with Te Aro Pa Trust to help them make the best use of their land.” Says Roger.
Mayor of Wellington Celia Wade-Brown says Te Aro Papakainga is a very welcome, affordable housing project. “The modular energy efficient design is an exemplar in the city,” she says.
Led by Te Tumu Paeroa, many people have played a part in getting this development off the ground including Wellington City Council, Te Puni Kōkiri’s Māori Housing Network, Homestead Homes and Dwell Housing.
Jamie Tuuta, the Māori Trustee and CEO for Te Tumu Paeroa said “Developing Māori land is not easy, there are often multiple owners with different aspirations which makes decisions harder and even more difficult to finance. This block has over a 1000 owners and was particularly difficult because of its history. This is an outstanding achievement made a lot easier because of the support of the Māori Housing Network and Wellington City Council.”
Māori Development Minister Hon Te Ururoa Flavell supports this position, saying “Te Aro Pā papakāinga demonstrates the ability Māori have in creating their own solutions to housing needs in Wellington. I am pleased the Māori Housing Network is supporting whānau by letting them know what funding is available to them, while also offering expert advice, information and support to help improve their housing situation.”
We’ve still got some apartments available for rent. If you or anyone you know has links to Te Aro Pā (the original Ngāti Ruanui and Taranaki Iwi of Te Aro Pā or are part of the broader Taranaki Whānui tribes) and might be interested in a new home, contact the property manager and social housing provider Dwell, www.dwell.org.nz