He mātou whare, he mātou kāinga hoki – a house that is a home for whānau Māori

Cram, Fiona

Abstract – Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

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.

Articles associated with this research – Karere Tūhono

News: A house that is a home for whānau Māori

10 June 2020: What makes a house a home for whānau Māori? What are the things that enable the ideal and what are some of the barriers? In conversational interviews, Building Better researcher Dr Fiona Cram spoke with 27 Māori key informants about what makes a house a home for whānau Māori and how does housing support Whānau Ora (Māori collective wellbeing). >> Read More

Keywords – Kupu Hāngai

Māori, papakāinga, housing, renting, homeownership, independence and wellbeing

Fields of Research – Āpure Rangahau

Māori; Housing security and mental health


Date – Te Wā Whakarewa



Type – Te Auaha


Citation – Kupu Hautoa

Cram, F. (2020). He mātou whare, he mātou kāinga hoki – a house that is a home for whānau Māori. Report for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Revitalising the Production of Affordable Housing for Productive, Engaged and Healthy Lives. May 2020, 32 pgs. Wellington: BBHTC.