22 Jun 2023

Three housing initiatives supporting Māori, Pasifika and people buying through co-ownership have recently been granted funding from the Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund. The initiatives were selected as part of its most recent funding intake - ‘Bringing quality homes within reach of more New Zealanders’ - with the aim of enabling systemic change in the housing sector.

Financially supported by Westpac NZ and mutually governed by the bank and the Government, the Fund is awarding more than $900,000 to the initiatives. These are: Our Whare Our Fale, who design affordable homes for Pasifika families; Ka Ururoa, an iwi-led initiative helping Māori achieve home ownership and Equotee, a software programme that helps people manage home co-ownership.

Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund Director Simon Rogerson says the new partnerships support innovation in creating quality housing for more New Zealanders, underpinned by a strong community value and needs focus.

“The three housing initiatives offer unique and targeted solutions that recognise people’s diverse needs when it comes to housing and will help get people into homes at a time when many people are struggling in today’s tight housing market.”

The new partnerships will not only help people into homes but also focus on the needs of the communities they serve, Mr Rogerson says.

“We’re funding the critical research and design stage of the Our Whare Our Fale programme, that will bring community cohesion and wellbeing through the delivery of up to 300 affordable homes for the Pasifika community in Eastern Porirua in conjunction with Ngāti Toa and create a design that can be used across Aotearoa.

“The Our Whare Our Fale project will bring a village concept to the new housing development that will help residents engage with their family and community.”

Mr Rogerson says Ka Uruora is proven and unique way of helping tangata whenua into homes.

“Ka Uruora is an innovative iwi led engagement initiative offering education, services, support, and pathways for Māori to achieve home ownership and quality housing.

“Ka Ururoa supports tangata whenua throughout the whole home ownership journey, starting with financial education, followed by an iwi-assisted savings scheme that will help Māori into discounted rentals, shared home ownership or full home ownership. WGIF funding will support the scaling of this invaluable mahi to more communities across Aotearoa.

“Co-ownership is a great way for people to get a foot in the housing market and own their own home without having to carry the burden of paying a mortgage by themselves”. Equotee’s software will help Kiwis, primarily co-owners, papakāinga, equity-partners or guarantors to manage home co-ownership with built-in legal agreements and tracking.

It will also allow owners to leverage their equity for home improvements, enhancing the quality of housing stock in New Zealand over time.

“We are delighted to fund these three projects which will improve lives by helping people into better quality, fit for purpose housing.”



Editor’s note

About Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund is a joint initiative established in 2015. Funded by Westpac NZ and mutually governed by Westpac NZ and the New Zealand government, its aim is to drive innovation and change at a government level to solve real-world issues and help create solutions that are tangible, valuable, and inspiring for all New Zealanders. We listen to those who want to make a difference – government agencies, organisations, business or everyday New Zealanders who have identified a problem worth solving - and provide funding and expertise to explore, validate, or implement smart solutions. We help connect potential partners and customers in the government and private sector, bringing people together with shared problems or experiences. More information can be found here. The Fund recently commissioned the Ākina Foundation to measure the Fund’s impact, the report can be downloaded here.


Project blurbs

Our Whare, our Fale

Central Pacific Collective (CPC) aims to build up to 300 fit-for-purpose, secure and affordable homes for Pacific families in Eastern Porirua. The funding proposition is a research project within the Our Whare Our Fale programme to inform the important design characteristics when developing housing for Pacific communities. The project will inform the design of housing and, more importantly, the design of the community, and how the houses and amenities relate to deliver community cohesion and wellbeing outcomes that support the vision of “Reimagining the Pacific village in 21st century Aotearoa”.


Ka Uruora

Ka Uruora operates a collective iwi-led partnership delivery model that collaboratively brings together iwi, Crown, community & values-aligned funding & service partners to deliver housing & supporting services to improve Māori inter-generational access home ownership & quality housing. Based on its Taranaki experience and learnings, the Ka Uruora model is now ready to be rolled out as a national iwi-led model to other regions across Aotearoa. This funding application would support Ka Uruora implement the expansion of its model into the new regions, including establishing local iwi-led engagement, education, support & service delivery partnerships to support local iwi and Māori in these regions access home ownership & quality housing.



Equotee is developing a flexible equity management platform for homes. It is meeting a rise in a trend of first home buyers "banding together to achieve more" for affordable housing In Aotearoa. Whilst among the younger generation a new co-ownership mindset is emerging, Equotee will also meet multiple needs including those of papakāinga, equity-partners or guarantors. The software is intended to enable users to leverage their equity positions to reduce barriers to housing pathways or to enable co-owners to do more with existing equity such as home improvements or the retrofitting homes to lower carbon footprints.