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Marae and emergency accommodation: A response to Auckland’s housing and rental shortage

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Auckland Council, ,

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This discussion paper explores the significant role marae played in addressing Auckland's housing crisis during the winter of 2016.

With an emphasis on Te Puea Memorial Marae, the paper explores how these marae, deeply rooted in te ao Māori and guided by principles such as manaakitanga and whānaunatanga, offered emergency housing to predominantly Māori households rendered homeless by skyrocketing rental costs. The marae’s response not only underscores their crucial role within Māori communities but also highlights their adaptability to the evolving needs of Māori in urban settings, particularly in times of crisis. This initiative, while showcasing the marae’s commitment to community welfare, raises concerns about the potential for systemic reliance on marae, potentially overshadowing the deeper, structural causes of homelessness that require address. The paper situates these marae initiatives within the broader context of marae evolution, tracing their historical adaptability from responding to urban migration challenges to providing disaster relief. It calls for a nuanced understanding of marae responses to the housing crisis, advocating for structural solutions to the root causes of homelessness in Auckland, thereby ensuring the support for marae goes hand in hand with broader efforts to mitigate the housing crisis’s impact on Māori communities. This piece contributes to the discourse on housing, urban development, and the role of Indigenous practices in social support, offering insights into the intersection of traditional values and contemporary social challenges.

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