Wesley Hastings Methodist Church – Samoan Parish Choir

80 Caernarvon Drive, Flaxmere had been earmarked in 2022 to be transformed into something meaningful for a Samoan community in Hastings. The parcel of land belongs to church-owned land in Flaxmere and held the promise of a brighter future for the community.

Wesley Community Action and the Hastings Samoan Parish were united by a shared goal of creating homes where families could thrive. With the blessing of the Board of Administration of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, they embarked on a journey to turn this dream into reality.

At the time of planning, there were some 804 applicants within the Hastings district alone, a clear need for more social housing to be built in the wider Hastings region. The new homes were planned for those on the Housing Register, with a particular focus on Pasifika aiga (families).

Their plan was ambitious yet simple: to construct 12 beautiful homes, a blend of three-bedroom and four-bedroom dwellings, known as Punavaiola. But they knew they could not do it alone. That is when Easybuild, a renowned company from Upper Hutt, stepped in with their expertise in offsite fabrication, ready to bring the vision to life.

Fuelled by a combination of early-stage funding, operating supplements, and income-related rent subsidies by Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the construction commenced. But just as progress seemed to be in full swing, nature intervened. Cyclone Gabrielle swept through, causing a temporary halt in construction. After nearly two years of perseverance and hard work, the day finally arrived when the Certificate of Code Compliance was issued - a testament to their resilience in the face of adversity.

On Saturday, 23 March 2024, the doors swung open for families stepping into their new abodes, their hearts brimming with hope and gratitude. For them, Punavaiola was not just a collection of houses; it was a symbol of promise, a sanctuary where dreams could take root and flourish.

Punavaiola will be a beacon of community for years to come, a testament to what can be achieved when hearts and hands come together for more social housing delivered.


Photo caption: Wesley Hastings Methodist Church – Samoan Parish Choir.