27 Jun 2017

Home ownership rates among Maori and Pasifika plummeting?

From Nine To Noon, 9:19 am on 27 June 2017

The National Māori housing organisation, Te Matapihi, believes political inaction is the reason for a huge decline in Māori and Pasifika homeownership.

A report, State of the State New Zealand 2017, found between 1991 and 2013 Māori home ownership declined by 32 percent and Pasifika 38 percent.

Sold sign outside a new house being built in East Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Rau Hoskins, chair of Te Matapihi said there had been nine years of political inactivity around Māori and Pasifika housing.

He said that had lead to mulitiple families living under one roof and people returning to whanau land in sub standard accommodation but worst of all homelessness.

Mr Hoskins said the Māori Housing strategy which was developed in 2014 has never been implemented and there had to be bold political action in the future.

He said the reason Māori whanau were in bad housing situations went back to the post-war urbanisation of Māori, who were actively ushered and supported into the cities by the then Māori Affairs Department to support the post-war manufacturing boom.

"If you get ushered into a home it's good for you and for the next generation but it'swhen times become tough and you haven't personally developed the housing intelligence to past on to your children and grandchildren especially when government policy change."

He said moving Māori housing away from the Māori Affairs department to the housing corporation, and then to the social housing unit, and now Te Puni Kokiri had also been a factor in the low numbers of Māori home ownership.

"We really do need a 1935 style approach to housing within the next generation to start remeding some of these issues, we also have to focus on the resilience of our whānau and building housing intelligence and because the action is so dire we need some bold action by governement." 

Inez White, a Rotorua based registered property valuer, runs coaching programs for first home buyers and families who want to get on the property ladder.

Her organisation, Indigenuity, has seen 25 families buy homes in Rotorua, Auckland, Whangarei, Taupō and Murupara.

She said buying houses wasn't a conversation many Māori whanau had because they had lived on their land in a papkainga, but that had changed.

"Those stats are reflecting that only two generations ago we were still living in some form of rural or papakainga situation." 

Ms White helps whanau get on to the property ladder and said it could be a big adjustment for many people who had to re-evaluate their budget, and where they wanted to live, to what they could actually afford.