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Moa Crescent Kaumātua Village: Hauora Kaumātua, Toiora Kaumātua

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In Cram, F., Hutchings, J., & Smith, J. (Eds.), Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua: Māori housing realities and aspirations. Bridget Williams Books., , 164-176

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This chapter provides an insightful exploration into the development and impact of the Moa Crescent Kaumātua Village in Kirikiriroa/Hamilton, a project led by Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa in collaboration with Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust.

The village, designed through a co-design process involving kaumātua, represents a significant advancement in providing culturally responsive, secure, and affordable housing for Māori elders. This urban papakāinga addresses the critical housing needs of kaumātua, many of whom moved to urban areas as young people and faced the prospect of living in inadequate housing conditions that adversely affect their health and wellbeing. The authors highlight the village’s role in fostering positive aging by ensuring that kaumātua are well-housed, respected, and cared for. The shared spaces and community gardens within the village are noted for enhancing residents’ connectedness and reinforcing a sense of community, responding to kaumātua’s desires for marae involvement and cultural identity preservation. Through a Kaupapa Māori research approach, the chapter centres on the narratives of nineteen kaumātua residents, with the experiences of two individuals, Koro and Kui, detailed to illustrate the transformative impact of living in the village. Their stories underscore the improvement in autonomy, identity, connectedness, cultural wellbeing, and access to Te Ao Māori resulting from their relocation to Moa Crescent. The authors conclude that the success of the village is fundamentally tied to the active participation of kaumātua in every phase of its development, from planning and building to daily living, showcasing the project as a model of kaumātua mana motuhake. This chapter contributes to the discourse on Māori housing by presenting the Moa Crescent Kaumātua Village as a pioneering example of how housing initiatives can meet the unique needs and aspirations of kaumātua, emphasising the importance of culturally grounded, community-focused approaches.

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