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He Mātou Whare, He Mātou Kāinga Hoki – A House That is a Home for Whānau Māori

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In conversational interviews, 27 Māori were asked what makes a house a home for whānau Māori and how housing supports whānau ora.

The analysis is guided by the way in which the social and material environment is the source of self-identity. For Māori, this material environment extends beyond the four walls of a home and into the whenua, in acknowledgement of the importance of place for a sense of belonging. Likewise, the social environment extends to encompass whānau who may live in multiple dwellings, as well as whakapapa connections with tipuna who have passed and mokopuna yet to be born. What makes a house a home involves collective (social and cultural) capital, financial capital, and structural responsiveness. Barriers were poverty, poor quality housing and structural resistance.

Discussion of the material environment of the home was more about the health and wellbeing impacts of poor-quality housing. Whānau were also seen as under stress from the insecurity of tenure and lack of affordability of rental accommodation, with social housing and affordable housing seen as viable alternatives. The importance of neighbourhoods was reflected in participants’ talk about planning intentional communities for whānau, while some participants also reflected on place and whether or not they lived within their iwi rohe.

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