By Beckie Wilson

The building of a new Maori community is underway on one of rural Wairarapa’s most prominent maraes.

The new housing development will be utilising the Hurunui o Rangi Marae land PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The new housing development will be utilising the Hurunui o Rangi Marae land PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The six-house social housing papakainga development will be offered to descendants of the ancestors of Hurunui o Rangi Marae, Gladstone.

Papakainga is a form of housing development which occurs on multi-owned Maori or ancestral land.

Last Tuesday, members of the community and the marae “turned over the soil” to begin the building of four three-bedroom homes, two two-bedroom homes and a new marae.

The six homes are expected to take about two years to build, with the new marae to follow.

Hurunui o Rangi Marae trust member and Papakianga committee member Henare Manaena said it will be a thriving community which he believes is the first type of papakainga development on marae reserve land in the country.

The marae was a bustling settlement back in the 1930s, so this development was “nothing new” for the land, he said.

“We want to encourage families to come back to Hurunui o Rangi Marae to live, and live in the environment where our ancestors lived before.”

“There is a lot of history there and a number of important cultural values important to us,” he said.

The six houses will be built on a block of land, with an “open-plan” style settlement, meaning no individual sections.

The building is expected to start in the next couple of months.

Maori Development Minister, Te Ururoa Flavell, applauds the start of the build of affordable rental housing options for whanau of Wairarapa.

“Developments like these are fundamental to building strong communities, and it’s great to have these new homes being developed and led by whanau, for whanau,” she said.

This papakainga development is a collaborative effort and includes funds of $1.6m from the Maori Housing Network led by Te Puni Kokiri and a Kainga Whenua bank loan secured by the Trust.