Message from the Co-Directors

    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te motu, tenā koutou katoa.

    We hope that you had a relaxing and reenergising break over the Xmas and New Year.

    Here is our first BBHTC newsletter for 2022, in it you will find a very interesting range of thought provoking articles that include:

    • A review of the MAIHI Ka Ora, the National Māori Housing Strategy;
    • A recently published PhD that examines social (communal) tenure;
    • Media constructions of housing and home in Aotearoa New Zealand;
    • Non slip, sustainable pavers;
    • A North and South article that discusses how the property market is destroying our social fabric;
    • Sustainable ideas and activities that could reduce emissions; and
    • How the Mauri Ora Wellbeing Compass aided Te Arawa whānui in their submission on the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.

    Happy Reading!
    Mauri Ora ki a koutou katoa,
    Ruth Berry and Rihi Te Nana
    BBHTC Co-Directors

    Te Tiriti-anchored housing strategies

    The Government’s recently released MAIHI Ka Ora, the National Māori Housing strategy, envisages a future where “all whānau have safe, healthy, affordable homes with secure tenure, across the Māori housing continuum.” – it’s an ideal that should ultimately be extended to all New Zealanders, so why the particular focus on a Māori Housing strategy?

    Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora research has helped highlight the alarming decline in Māori homeownership - in 1936, 71 percent of Māori lived in dwellings that the whānau owned, by 1991 the ownership rate had fallen to 56 percent, by 2013 it was at 43 percent (See Homeless and landless in two generations). Māori homeownership rates are well below those of the rest of the population, even when accounting for the differences in age structures of the populations.

    Ngā Wai a Te Tūī researcher and Building Better research partner Jackie Paul (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga) says this is a social and cultural issue, which needs to be challenged. A circuit-breaker is needed.

    Ecology of community

    Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora (BBHTC) was pleased to invest in a PhD scholarship to allow James Berghan (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri) to complete his important mahi on social tenure. In 2020, James successfully defended his PhD thesis at Otago University and is now officially Dr James Berghan. He is now also a Lecturer in Urban Design in the School of Surveying, at the University of Otago - the first Māori academic to join the school.

    Dr Berghan’s PhD studies social (or communal) tenure – a system of rights which are based on social norms, processes, and relationships.

    “Social tenures are a feature of many Indigenous cultures, where land and resources are managed from a collectivist, rather than an individualist, standpoint,” says James.

    “For instance, in New Zealand, Māori society was traditionally based around territorial tribal living, with hapū (sub-tribes) controlling and defending particular territories. Western governance ushered in by Te Tiriti o Waitangi eroded this form of living by favouring individualised land tenure."

    Dr James Berghan at graduation. Photo: Kate Herdman.

    COVID-19 and media constructions of housing and home in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Mainstream media persistently reduces housing to a property investment and housing stock as a commodity for trade according to new research by Building Better’s Dr Gauri Nandedkar, a researcher in the Affordable Housing for Generations team.

    “Despite the home being the central mechanism of defence in the Government’s ‘bubble’ strategy to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, with the public required to isolate at home, mainstream media rarely made connections between public health strategies to manage COVID-19 and the state of housing, and persistently treated housing as an aspect of the property market - a financial asset, commodity and wealth generator - even while the pandemic and the requirement to isolate were in full swing.

    “Some Māori media did make more direct connections between COVID-19 and housing and framed those connections through its focus on whānau and wellbeing."

    Narratives in Māori media throw into sharp relief a media discourse treating housing as a vehicle for investment and wealth accumulation. Photo: Suzy Hazelwood, Pexels.

    Non-slip, sustainable pavers could resolve Timaru's slippery tile woes

    New ideas can be a slippery slope, but not if University of Canterbury student Imogen McRae has her way.

    The third-year product design student has been working on developing non-slip pavers made of waste material sourced from South Canterbury businesses as part of Venture Timaru’s ‘Sustainable Is Attainable’ initiative. She recently featured in the Timaru Herald News and on Stuff in this article by reporter Yashas Srinivasa.

    The project is sponsored by Venture Timaru, AgResearch, and is part of the Building Better Home, Towns and Cities Thriving Regions programme.

    University of Canterbury school of product design student 20-year-old Imogen McRae is working on non-slip pavers for Timaru’s CBD.

    The great divide

    In a single generation New Zealand has transformed itself from a home-owning democracy into a society fractured by property wealth — between those who have it, and those who do not. How did it happen and what is it doing to us?

    This North and South magazine cover story, involving BBHTC researchers and evidence, is one that affects every Kiwi. In a must-read article, award-winning journalist Rebecca Macfie follows the thread of soaring house prices, plunging home ownership, and exploding housing insecurity all the way back to its starting point. It’s the story of a country where most people could afford a healthy home, where you could work hard on a modest wage and buy a house in which to raise a family and leave something behind for your kids, a country with one of the lowest inequality rates in the developed world — and how we deliberately dismantled all of that, piece by piece.

    Although the housing crisis is in the news every day, what Rebecca uncovers, aided by BBHTC research, is shocking.
    • Since the late 1980s, houses owned by investors have increased by 191 per cent.
    • More than 40 per cent of children live in rented houses.

    Christchurch Conversations: Towards 2030

    What if you could get everything you need for daily living within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from home? Is it worth getting an EV? How can we keep our homes comfortable and the country running while reducing emissions? How do we make homes and buildings that are suitable to our changing climate?

    These were just some of the questions raised in Christchurch Conversations: Towards 2030, a series of five events this year presented by Te Pūtahi Centre for Architecture and City Making, in collaboration with Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Urban Wellbeing - Ngā Kāinga Ora programme and the Christchurch City Council (CCC), exploring how the city can achieve its climate goals and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The talks are now all available on Te Pūtahi’s YouTube channel.

    The free events took place in-person and online, and featured experts, businesses, individuals, and community groups who shared their knowledge and experiences on the given topic with the audience.

    Christchurch locals shared their experiences of having easy access to the things they need for day-to-day living, by bike or on foot. Photo: Robyn Simcock, Landcare Research/BBHTC.

    BBHTC wellbeing compass aids in Bill submission

    In late November, Te Tatau o Te Arawa, which represents Te Arawa whānui, made a submission on the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.

    In the submission Te Tatau called for the Bill to be wellbeing and urban regeneration-led to allow for wider positive effect. Te Tatau o Te Arawa is a research partner in Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Urban Wellbeing - Ngā Kāinga Ora programme. In making the submission on the Bill they referred to the Te Tatau Mauri Ora Housing Development Wellbeing Compass co-created with AUT’s He Puna Ora Urban Regeneration Lab as part of the BBHTC Kāinga-Ora Urban Wellbeing programme. The compass tool is used to create a holistic social, cultural, and ecological wellbeing model for wellbeing-led urban planning and development.

    Manahautū of Te Tatau, Jude Pani, says they would like to see that any changes to allowances for building densification be undergirded by mātauranga Māori and mauri ora (wellbeing of tangata and taiao).

    “While we are notionally in support of the Bill, we want to see it done right. To Te Arawa whānui that means making sure that higher density developments have the inclusion of urban and peri-urban papakāinga and whenua Māori.

    "Mauri ora – wellbeing – created by the built environment matters, and has been ignored for too long. The compass is a valuable tool to remind us of the different aspects of wellbeing we should be considering in building developments."

    Spotlight on housing

    The Royal Society Te Apārangi's recent report Spotlight on housing features research from a number of Building Better reports and contributions from several Building Better researchers.

    The report, one in a series by Te Tapeke Fair Futures panel, puts a spotlight on housing through a fairness lens and finds that differences in housing is a large contributor to inequity in New Zealand.

    “Differences in housing are a huge part of inequity in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says panel member Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, University of Otago – Wellington, “but the wide-reaching impact on our society also means that if we solve the housing issue, we all benefit, not just those struggling to find decent housing.”

    New publications

    The Building Better research library continues to grow at pace on our website. New publications uploaded since the last newsletter include:

    Pensioner in emergency housing says more support is needed

    BBHTC researcher Bev James appearing on TVNZ 1 News.

    This TVNZ 1 News broadcast and article interviews BBHTC researcher Dr Bev James. The item reports that figures from the last Census show severe housing deprivation among Kiwis aged 65+ rose more than in any other age group - a 24 per cent increase between 2013 and 2018.

    The Government’s Homelessness Action Plan 2020-2023 says older people are “increasingly vulnerable to homelessness”, with single older women renting in the private market identified as a particularly at-risk group.

    Building Better housing researcher Bev James says homelessness among older Kiwis can often be “hidden”.

    “We're not talking about these people necessarily being visible like rough sleeping or on the streets. They're more likely to be in situations where they're sharing with others in difficult circumstances.

    "They're under sufferance there or they're in sleepouts, garages, sheds, non-residential dwellings like farm buildings or commercial buildings.”

    Tell us what you think

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