Remaking community: Building principles of communal tenure into contemporary housing developments

James Berghan; David Goodwin; Lynette Carter

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

Models of land administration often promote a more individualised, Western-style of tenure. The dangers are that Māori values might become diluted or even lost in this transition as social responsibilities become divorced from land rights. Recognising this, planners of some Māori land development projects have sought to reintroduce key communal or socially-based tenure principles to the planning equation. By understanding how these complex principles operate and interrelate, and by assessing their success, the two case studies examined in this paper point to the possibility of creating a measure of social capital potential. This could be used to leverage funding decisions through a system capable of demonstrating marked differences where particular principles are supported, incorporated and invested. It could conceivably produce a distinctive planning model based on social sustainability to inform decision making processes in urban environments and land development projects.

Other reports associated with this research

Berghan, J. (2020). Ecology of community: Exploring principles of socially-based tenure in urban papakāinga and cohousing communities (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from

Berghan, J. (2021). Kaupapakāinga: The potential for Māori cohousing. Report for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Affordable Housing for Generations. September 2021, 37 pgs. Wellington: BBHTC.

Articles associated with this research – Karere Tūhono

Case Study: Social mortgages and affordable housing

21 April 2020: Could some of our problems with affordable housing be solved by establishing communities based on social mortgages where there are mutual responsibilities, shared values, and close relationships? Building Better researchers James Berghan and David Goodwin from the University of Otago investigate. >> Read More.

News: Ecology of community

20 December 2021: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: He Kāinga Whakamana Tangata, Whakamana Taiao (BBHTC) was pleased to invest in a PhD scholarship to allow James Berghan (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri) to complete his important mahi on social tenure. In 2020, James successfully defended his PhD thesis at Otago University and is now officially Dr James Berghan. He is now also a Lecturer in Urban Design in the School of Surveying, at the University of Otago – the first Māori academic to join the school. >> Read More.

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

alternative living, case study, papakāinga, urban papakāinga, co-housing, community development, Māori, housing, tenures, communal tenures, making communities, urban wellbeing, affordable housing, cohousing

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Surveying; Housing; Community Planning; Communal Tenures


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha


Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Berghan, J., Goodwin, D. & Carter, L. (2018). Remaking community: Building principles of communal tenure into contemporary housing developments. In Remaking Cities: Conference Proceedings, pp. 45-51. Melbourne: RMIT university.