[image] four people standing at the entrance of a house

As the sun rose on a crisp morning, it heralded not just the beginning of a new day, but the dawn of a remarkable endeavor dedicated to honoring our kaumātua and kuia with the homes they truly deserve. It was a momentous occasion as Te Rūnanga o Kirkiriroa (TROK) proudly unveiled Te Puawaitanga, Kaumātua Village on the 21 March 2024.

Once the grounds of the Frankton Bowling Club, this space was transformed into a haven for kaumātua, boasting 24 pristine 2-bedroom units that would now serve as their sanctuary. What set this development apart was its heart: a vibrant community hub nestled at its core, where essential services catered specifically to the needs of the residents.

The journey to this extraordinary achievement was one of collaboration and shared values. It all began with a conversation back in 2020 between Yvonne Wilson, the Strategic Relationship Manager for TROK, and Pragma Home Builders. From that moment, a partnership blossomed, rooted in the principles of Rūnanga: Whanaungatanga, Arohatanga, Manaakitanga, and Rangatiratanga.

Both TROK and Pragma were driven by a common goal to serve the community. TROK, a longstanding Iwi provider with a rich legacy of caring for whanaunga, expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders and agencies who rallied behind this noble cause. Their support was pivotal in addressing the pressing need for housing among kaumātua, many of whom found themselves displaced or struggling to afford private rentals.

In a heartfelt acknowledgment, Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga received special recognition for their unwavering support, with particular praise for DCE’s Kararaina Calcott-Cribb and Jo Hogg for their leadership. This partnership is an example of how MAIHI Ka Ora is having a positive impact on whānau wellbeing.

As Co-Chair Hagen Tautari and Tumu Whakarae (Chief Executive) Andrea Elliot-Hohepa reflected on the significance of this moment, paying tribute to the late Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, who paved the way for initiatives aimed at ensuring whānau whaanui had access to warm, safe housing. They also extended their gratitude to former Mayor of Hamilton, Sir Ross Jansen, for his invaluable contribution to this endeavor.

Amidst the speeches and accolades, the voice of Ngahuia Terei, a current tenant of Te Puawaitanga, resonated deeply. She shared her poignant journey of struggle, recounting the challenges she faced in securing stable accommodation after being given just 46 days' notice to vacate her previous rental - a stark reminder of the pressing need for initiatives like Te Puawaitanga.

In essence, Te Puawaitanga stood not only as a milestone achievement for TROK but as a testament to the collaborative aspirations of Māori communities. It symbolised a collective commitment to ensuring our kaumātua could thrive in warm, safe, and supported environments, where their wisdom and mana could continue to flourish for generations to come.


Photo caption: Left to right, Alonzo Mason, Regional Advisor, Te Puni Kokiri, Mihaka Panapa, Paul Venter and Jordan Fox from Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga