Message from the Co-Directors

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

    Happy New Year to all our readers in the housing and science community. We hope that you took some time off to reconnect with family and friends and have recharged to tackle the challenges in the coming year.

    Research continues at pace within the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge, with several projects either starting to make or making very positive impacts within the wider community as uptake of solutions begins to happen. Within that context, we note the release of the Government’s Te Ara Paerangi - Future Pathways White Paper on 6 December last year.

    There is an emphasis on the research workforce, with fellowships suggested as a way to mitigate the precarity our young researchers face in our small science system. Often our research organisations are struggling to secure home-grown talent and an expansion of postdoctoral fellowships is part of the solution.

    Funding, of course, is the ever-present issue for any changes within the system, and we also welcome the reiterated commitment to move the science spend to 2% of GDP in line with the rest of the OECD. This has been a promise pledged by successive governments for several decades, but perhaps the political will to make it happen is finally here.

    We hope you enjoy the newsletter, while there are many stories of hope, there are still ongoing systemic issues, for example, half of those currently experiencing homelessness in Aotearoa are under the age of 25, but new BBHTC research outlined below has identified key contributing factors to this ongoing crisis.

    Kia noho haumaru i te kainga e hoa mā
    Mauri ora ki a koutou katoa,
    Ruth Berry and Rihi Te Nana
    BBHTC Co-Directors (Tangata Tiriti and Tangata Whenua)

    Māori researchers shed light on severity of youth homelessness

    Homelessness is catastrophic in any phase of life, but is especially difficult for young people. Symptomatic of a range of complex challenges, homelessness signals real deprivation, when the basic need for shelter cannot be met. Photo: Taufiq Klinkenborg.
    Half of those experiencing homelessness in Aotearoa are under the age of 25 and new research has identified key contributing factors to the ongoing crisis.

    Ngā Wai a Te Tūī, Unitec’s Kaupapa Māori and Indigenous Research Centre in collaboration with Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective have released a research report exposing a severe lack of reliable data, services, resources, and funding targeting youth homelessness.

    Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective gives rangatahi experiencing homelessness a voice through providing advocacy support across social services and the housing system.

    Lead Co-ordinator of Manaaki Rangatahi Bianca Johanson says kaupapa and rangatahi Māori led research into homelessness is decades overdue.

    “We have been waiting for data and research that is kaupapa Māori led, that shines a light on the exhausting and painful human rights issue that is our rangatahi having nowhere to go that is safe, warm, and provides manaakitanga.”
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    A home is a place of hope

    Tiana Kiro and Beyonce Kahui
    Tiana Kiro, left, and Beyonce Kahui, two young māmā who recently travelled to Wellington with E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services to share their thoughts on alcohol harm and the need for alcohol reform. Photo: Zoe Hawke, E Tipu E Rea Whānau Services
    Article by Jacqueline Paul.

    A home is a place of hope. A home is a place of love. A home is a place of nurture. A home is a place of safety.

    And yet, we live in a country where many rangatahi and their tamariki have no place to call home. So, it can be hard to imagine home as a place of hope when you have no home.

    Our rangatahi research team recently released two research reports on rangatahi and housing. The first report, Youth homelessness in Tāmaki Makaurau in collaboration with Manaaki Rangatahi Youth Homelessness Collective, drew attention to youth homelessness with a particular focus on the growing number of rangatahi and tamariki experiencing the most severe housing deprivation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

    The second report, A critical review of Rangatahi Māori and housing policy, highlights significant concerns about housing policy and the lack of support for many rangatahi Māori in desperate need of warm, safe, and secure housing. The report calls for investment into rangatahi Māori-led housing research and better housing policy for rangatahi Māori.
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    Maia Ratana | Kaiako and Kairangahau at Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka

    Maia Ratana. Photo: Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
    Maia Ratana, one of the three researchers who make up the rangatahi ahu for Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua – the flagship Māori housing research programme for the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge was recently interviewed by Dale Husband for Waatea News.

    "If you think about state housing, and what Māori were living in as they moved into the cities during urban migration, those houses did not meet the way we live as Māori. At lot of the time, the lounge might be at one end of the house and the kitchen at the other, so how do you manaaki when you don't have spaces that reflect the way we like to live. Jade [Kake], myself, and many others have spent a lot of time and effort thinking about and working towards creating spaces that reflect the way we want to live as Māori," says Maia.

    Reflections on kaumātua, pakeke and seniors’ housing: Building robust solutions with research

    New Zealanders are living longer and are healthier than ever before, but we need a range of employment options so we can better access stable housing as we age.
    Launched on 2 November 2022 at the Moa Crescent Kaumātua village in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), a new information resource to promote better housing for our ageing population presents BBHTC/Ageing Well research exploring why changes are needed to our housing system, looks at some imaginative opportunities, and shares the housing experiences and aspirations of kaumātua, pakeke (older people) and seniors.

    Aotearoa New Zealand has an ageing population; people are living for longer and in better health than ever before. In 40 years there will be one million kaumātua, pakeke, and seniors who will be over the age of 65. Unless something is done to support this large group to better access housing and employment, our seniors, especially those living in urban environments, will find it increasingly difficult.

    According to Age Concern New Zealand Chief Executive Karen Billings-Jensen, the way we age has altered significantly and this is placing more pressure on people over the age of 65 in accessing secure housing and employment.
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    Wide-ranging new book revitalises understanding of home for Māori in the twenty-first century

    The concept of vertical papakāinga – high-rise, apartment-style accommodation – has been put forward as a way to meet the housing needs of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. While allowing for greater density, it requires careful navigation of aspects of tikanga and kawa, as whānau live above others’ heads (traditionally considered tapu). Image: Rau Hoskins.
    Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua surveys the many ways whānau, hapū and iwi experience housing and home across Aotearoa New Zealand.

    Arriving at a time of promise and change for Māori housing, these stories of home and belonging provide inspiration for the future. Over two dozen contributors from across the country also make this one of the most comprehensive accounts yet published of tangata whenua housing realities and aspirations.

    Narratives of resilience open the book, showing how social and economic history, and land and law changes have affected housing through time. Personal, heartfelt discussions of the relationships between housing, home and identity highlight contemporary challenges such as homelessness and rangatahi issues.
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    Huritanga: 10 years of transformational place-making

    LiVS container
    Lydia Hannah Thomas, Project Coordinator from Life in Vacant Spaces and Dr Reuben Woods (left), Director of Watch This Space getting an exhibition container ready. Photo: LiVS.
    In September 2022, Life in Vacant Spaces (LiVS) celebrated 10 years with a public exhibition at the Cashel St Mall in Christchurch.

    Funded by Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities, University of Canterbury, and Auckland University of Technology, the exhibition featured work by BBHTC researchers Amanda Yates, Hannah Watkinson, Rachael Shiels, and Kelly Dombroski.

    As part of the celebration, BBHTC researchers launched a book examining the collection of over 700 projects that LiVS have supported in the ten years since the devastating Canterbury earthquakes of 2010/2011. The projects supported by LiVS have varied in shape, scale, location, aims, outputs, participants, and people reached. The book captures just some of the diverse impacts of the projects supported by LiVS, using qualitative research and a series of questions developed by Community Economies researchers to help capture the diversity of impacts.

    Co-author, Dr Kelly Dombroski, says they used the Mauri Ora compass tool, developed by BBHTC's Urban Wellbeing team to examine the various projects.
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    Innovating housing futures: case studies from the Waikato and Nelson

    The Waikato. Photo: James Thomas.
    There have been several innovative responses to housing unaffordability in both the Waikato and Nelson. Researchers in the Affordable Housing for Generations (AHfG) research programme in the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge (BBHTC), Bev James, Gauri Nandedkar, and Simon Opit have been exploring the potential of local innovation through land and financial investment strategies.

    Bev explains that in the Waikato region, they encountered two linked innovative responses, “These were strategic networking, as exemplified by the Waikato Housing Initiative (WHI), and the establishment of a community land trust, as exemplified by the Waikato Community Lands Trust (WCLT).”

    The WHI is a multi-agency and cross-sectoral group with goals to improve the delivery of affordable housing that responds to local housing need. The WCLT is a charitable trust aiming to acquire land on which partners will build affordable housing.

    “These responses have gradually developed over the past decade, in the context of a deepening awareness of critical regional housing issues, including lack of housing supply, declining affordability of homes to rent or buy, a growing intermediate housing market, an ageing housing stock and poor dwelling conditions, as well as rising homelessness,” says Bev.
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    Maintaining residential dwellings

    Regular BRANZ House Condition Surveys have found that New Zealand dwellings are not well maintained, with households spending around one third of the amount required for maintenance. Low maintenance is a national problem. Photo: Nigel Isaacs.
    BBHTC researcher Dr Nigel Isaacs, a senior lecturer at the Wellington School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington, has investigated the programmes or requirements in other countries for maintaining residential dwellings to see if these incentives and programmes are useful in a New Zealand context.

    He writes that although designers, builders, purchasers, product suppliers, and politicians frequently focus on construction costs, the real cost of a dwelling over its life also includes its operating cost and cost of maintenance and refurbishment. Those latter costs are rarely taken into account when we consider housing affordability. And, unfortunately, the issue of maintenance, or more correctly a lack of maintenance, of New Zealand houses has a long history.

    "The New Zealand Building Code (NZBC) is unique among international jurisdictions in including a durability requirement to ensure that consented dwellings have a limited maintenance requirement over a specified lifespan, that requirement is implemented through NZBC Clause B2-Durability, but whether that means that New Zealand has minimised maintenance and repair costs is debatable. What is clear is that dwelling maintenance continues to present challenges to many owner occupiers and property investors."
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    New publications

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

    Where do graduates go? It depends on their degree

    Recent BSc Graduates at Victoria University of Wellington's capping parade in May 2022. Graduates from all fields of study other than agriculture are attracted to locate in places that have high overall quality of business, which tend to be the large cities. Photo: Louise Thomas.
    A highly-educated population is a known key driver of local growth and prosperity, but one of the main challenges facing non-metropolitan regions is convincing highly educated young people to move into their area and then keeping them. In turn, losing the brightest from a community can lead to reduced business creation, innovation, growth, and community well-being in such regions.

    Local decision-makers wish to attract and retain young qualified people, but what are the specific drivers that encourage graduates to settle in a particular place? What are the chances of students returning upon graduation? Is there potential to attract other graduates to the area?

    Research by Building Better Thriving Regions researchers through Motu Economic and Public Policy Research has analysed the locations of choice of university and polytechnic students in New Zealand two years and four years after graduation, taking into account the location of their tertiary education and their original home location. The research was recently published in the Annals of Regional Science journal, an international regional and urban studies journal that publishes papers which make a new or substantial contribution to the body of knowledge in which spatial dimension plays a fundamental role.
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