11 Oct 2019

Photo of iwi Ngāti Koroki Kahukura on the land

A life-changing housing development initiated on iwi-owned land in the Waikato is breaking new ground and opening up home ownership for 11 whānau.  

It’s a contemporary response to papakāinga, established through a shared-equity model that has been accomplished through Westpac’s relationship with iwi Ngāti Koroki Kahukura.  

Traditionally a shared-equity model is premised off two parties in co-ownership, but in this instance, it has been reimagined as families taking full financial ownership of their mortgages with iwi gaining a lifetime of interest.  

“The iwi came to us with a proposal to build family homes on this block of land under a papakāinga scheme,” said Fonteyn Moses-Te Kani, Head of Maori Diversity and Inclusion at Westpac.   

“We worked with them to come up with a shared-equity scheme which met the aspirations of the iwi, whānau and met our requirements.”    

Tammy Tauroa, who manages the development for the iwi, said the scheme had “allowed us to own our own homes and importantly re-occupy whenua once traditionally utilised for kāinga within the iwi”.  

“We will have security for our kids and build assets for future generations.  It has incentivised in a way, the reorientation for us back to our lands,” Tammy said.  

Tammy, whose family will live on the papakāinga, worked with Westpac, a legal team from Neverman Bennett Law and and Te Puni Kōkiri to develop the financial scheme, which has over ensuing months been successful.  

The iwi realised that the greatest barrier into home ownership for their whānau and iwi was the ability to raise and meet deposit criteria.  

“Despite the barriers, we have sought solutions which, although highly complex, when you bring things back to the intent of the programme, it is a simple model,” she said.  

“Iwi have utilised the land to support equity into whānau, which can in turn be used to leverage into shared-equity agreements.  

“Other models weren’t a good fit because the iwi didn’t necessarily want the land to be fully relinquished or commercialised so we partnered with Westpac to create the shared equity scheme that worked for us,” she said.  

The houses will be built on freehold land titles which create greater opportunities for lending and thus move whānau more quickly into brand new and affordable homes on their ancestral land.    

“There are individual lots on the land and the families have individual mortgages, but we have a common bespoke wastewater system, common water, and common communal gardens promoting an environmentally sustainable papakāinga,” Tammy said.  

“Westpac is committed to supporting new and innovative ways for families to access affordable home ownership for financial independence,” Westpac’s Head of Specialists in Commercial Corporate Banking, Steve Atkinson said.  

“Shared-equity schemes can reduce the need for a large deposit and break down those barriers to ownership,” he said.  

The project is based on a sustainable model, both economically and environmentally, and is the first of its kind in the region.  

Building commences in January 2020 with G.J. Gardner Homes.