Northland communities tackling housing crisis

By James Caldwell, Mare Haimona-Riki

Community members in Whangārei are taking a whānau approach to tackle the housing crisis in their region. Associate Minister for the environment, Nanaia Mahuta, along with local leaders attended a meeting today regarding this issue that has plagued many of the region's residents, especially Māori.

As at the end of September this year, there were 485 people on the housing register across Northland alone – an increase of around 30 percent from just a year ago.

Minister Mahuta acknowledges the role of the government and community working together.

“The community really wants the government to listen to the conversations that are taking place amongst us as we seek to take care of the homeless,” says Mahuta

The meeting was held at a shelter for homeless called Open Arms in Whangārei.

Ngahau Davis, trustee of “He iwi kotahi tātou” believes this issue could be solved by going back to the way 'we used to live.'

“We have lived in communal living, we went away from that, that's why we are in the place that we are now, the future is that we return to some of those morals and values, it's not gonna be easy because we have to adjust. 

“Tama tū tama ora, tama noho tama mate, to stand is to live, to lie down is to die. I believe that is true for any community, any whānau.”

Minister Mahuta says that the plan is to build 180 extra homes by 2022.