Rangatahi Māori demonstrate the value of transformational approaches to housing

From left, Jacqueline Paul, Maia Ratana, Pania Newton, and Hanna-Marie Monga. Photo: Tuputau Lelaulu

A talented team of Māori researchers are working alongside communities to create a repository of knowledge and resources dedicated to ensuring housing security for rangatahi Māori.

Tātaiwhetu ki te Rangi, He Rangatahi ki te Kāinga is a four-year research project investigating pathways to safe, secure, and affordable homes for youth in Tāmaki Makaurau. It will also explore potential kāinga (housing) innovations designed to support Māori intergenerational housing aspirations.

Led by Ngā Wai A Te Tūī Māori and Indigenous Research Centre with the support of Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) early research from this project has already identified a severe lack of reliable data and support services available for rangatahi.

The Rangatahi ki te Kāinga team includes Maia Ratana (Te Arawa, Ngā Rauru kii Tahi and Ngāti Raukawa), Jacqueline Paul (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Pania Newton (Ngāpuhi, Waikato, Te Rarawa), Hanna-Marie Monga (Ngāti Whatua, Te Uri o Hau and Cook Islands), and Grace Walker (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāruahine).

As part of the project a podcast series is in production which provides youth with a platform to share their experience and highlight innovative solutions-focused approaches combating housing deprivation.

Architecture lecturer Maia Ratana says she was alarmed to discover how difficult and distressing the process of accessing support was for rangatahi Māori.

“A big part of the problem is there are no obvious pathways or clarity of information for rangatahi finding themselves with nowhere to stay at night and unless they are already aware or in connection with providers like Lifewise, Mā Te Huruhuru, or the Salvation Army, youth looking for answers to basic questions won’t find it.”

Under the guidance of Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan (Waikato-Tainui)the team hopes to address a dire need for innovative rangatahi-led solutions in the housing sector.

“Without transformative change, the increasing housing prices, excessive cost of living, and shortage of houses in Tāmaki Makaurau will hit rangatahi Māori the hardest. Delivering safe, secure, and affordable housing through socially cohesive processes that support the development of stronger and resilient Māori communities is absolutely vital,” says Professor Lee-Morgan.

Jacqueline Paul has dedicated her career to addressing housing deprivation for Māori, she is currently studying to receive her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.

She says this project will shine a spotlight on the housing realities for rangatahi Māori and play a critical role in better understanding whānau centered housing.

“We hope to enhance awareness and understanding of the diverse needs of whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau and we hope to contribute to developing new pathways to support Māori housing outcomes.”

Pania Newton is playing a key role in the development of papakāinga for her whānau and iwi. In 2019, she led a peaceful protest to prevent the development of housing on sacred whenua at Ihumātao and says we are seeing “an awe-inspiring interest and resurgence of papakāinga housing.”

Master of Architecture graduate Hanna-Marie Monga is using her expertise to contribute to architectural design practice focused on South Auckland Communities. Her passion is housing Pasifika and Māori whānau in culturally appropriate spaces designed to enable and encourage intergenerational living in urban environments.

“Home ownership can provide a pathway to independence, security, and success. How can rangatahi achieve home ownership with Tāmaki housing prices being further out of reach and unattainable?”

Each of the researchers involved is living and breathing their passion to actively address an issue that has had a devastating impact on Māori wellbeing. The team plans to release the podcast series early next year.

Read the research

Paul, J. (2022). A critical review of Rangatahi Māori and housing policy. Working Paper for Urban intergenerational Kāinga Innovations (UIKI) research programme. October 2022, 24pgs. Auckland: BBHTC.
Paul, J. & Ratana, M. (2022). Youth Homelessness in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Scoping report for Manaaki Rangatahi ki Tāmaki Makaurau Youth Homelessness Collective, 56pgs. Auckland: Ngā Wai a te Tūī Māori & Indigenous Research Centre. ISBN 978-0-473-62560-3.

More information

For all media enquiries, please contact Taiha Molyneux.

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Date posted: 31 October 2022