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Ngāi Tūāhuriri have developed Papakāinga for descendants to live in

Halle Taite-Pitama
Whanau at Papa Kainga
Whānau photo outside one of the houses  Credit to Jadah Pitama

Six different whānau are thrilled to have a Papakāinga to move into.

The Māori reserve in Tuahiwi was set aside as a place of housing for those who come from the North Canterbury sub-tribe, Ngāi Tūāhuriri.   

In 1968 the Rangiora County Council prohibited the people of Ngāi Tūāhuriri from building on their lands by a regulation that said one house every 10 acres, but the people were only allocated 14 acres. 

Ūpoko (chief) of the Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga, TeMaire Tau says as a result people had to move into Rangiora, Woodend, Kaiapoi and Christchurch.

"The real reason the County Council stopped the people was because Pākehā farmers needed more hay.

"If you look at Tuahiwi now you will see that in the summer and autumn the lands are being baled by Pākehā farmers." 

His father, the previous chief, Henare Rakiihia Tau (Rik) originally started working on the matter with Makarini Pitama in 1978.  

Back then the hapū (sub-tribe) were allowed to build through to 2000, but were stopped again by Waimakariri District Council.

It took Ngāi Tūāhuriri from 2005 to 2014 for regulations to change.   

Rik sadly passed away in 2014, but before his passing he set up the Mana Waitaha Charitable Trust to get things through after the earthquake.

By 2014 the regulations stated that they could build seven houses on sections depending on the size.   

Following the regulation change the Waimakariri District Council helped with the water and sewerage as the houses were to be a test trial on actually building.   

During build papa kainga v2
During housing build Supplied by Joseph Hullen

The Papakāinga build started in 2019 and was officially completed in 2022. The overall project injection was $3.7 million - Te Puni Kōkiri helped with financial costs as well as the Rūnanga putting in $350,000. 

All whānau members were moved in by the start of 2023. Two of the six houses have gone to kaumātua, elders and the rest for other whānau. 

The idea is the houses are transitional so families can save money over a three-year period to eventually have enough to buy their own homes.

A whānau member living in one of the houses, Mikenzi Kemp-Blair, says it's great to be able to afford living with more independence. For him and his small whānau it is about being back in his tūrangawaewae with their own house in a safe communal area close to family.  

One of the kaumātua, Metapere Temepara-Crofts, explained why she loves being back home surrounded by whānau.  

"Having this house has kept me from going back to Australia and I have wanted to move back out here for years because my son is buried in the urupā (cemetery)." 

She is very passionate about doing her gardens and was unable to do much in her previous house -but now that is something you will often find her doing.  

Last year the Waimakariri District Council put water and sewerage through the pā (village) so they can have more housing so the next step is to have the whole  with water and sewerage.  

Recently they also removed Development and Financial Contributions which lowers the cost for housing. 

TeMaire Tau says for the future they need to have more of their people living in the so they need more housing both individual and community.

"Later in the year we will go through a process where they have individual sections on the land."