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Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua: The role of marae in reimagining housing Māori in the urban environment

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Genealogy, 7(3), 47

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This article presents the Marae Ora, Kāinga Ora (MOKO) project, a Kaupapa Māori research initiative aimed at exploring the role of marae and kāinga in enhancing the wellbeing of Māori families and communities in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), New Zealand.

With a focus on housing provision, the project involves five marae in South Auckland collabourating to address the housing crisis affecting Māori disproportionately. The study investigates the potential for marae to utilise their resources in developing sustainable housing solutions and fostering community wellbeing. The MOKO project represents a significant effort to integrate traditional Māori values and community structures into contemporary housing solutions for Māori in urban settings. The research is grounded in Kaupapa Māori principles, emphasizing self-determination, collective responsibility, and the cultural and social significance of marae in Māori life. By partnering with five marae in South Auckland, the project highlights the innovative and adaptive approaches these cultural institutions are taking to address the urgent housing needs of their communities. The article details the historical context of housing deprivation among Māori and the specific challenges faced in Tāmaki Makaurau, where Māori are overrepresented among the homeless and those living in severe housing deprivation. It also outlines the aspirations and developments of each participating marae, showcasing their commitment to creating marae-led housing initiatives that reflect their unique identities and the needs of their communities. A key strength of the MOKO project lies in its participatory methodology, involving marae-based researchers in all aspects of the research process. This approach ensures that the findings and recommendations are deeply rooted in the lived experiences and aspirations of Māori communities. The project’s focus on sustainable, culturally grounded housing solutions offers valuable insights into the potential of marae to lead holistic approaches to addressing social issues, beyond just housing. The MOKO project serves as a model for how traditional cultural institutions can play a pivotal role in contemporary social challenges, offering lessons for both New Zealand and other contexts where Indigenous communities seek to integrate traditional values with modern needs.

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