Published: 14 June 2017
A new Papakainga housing development policy, opening the way for utilisation of Māori land, has seen Hastings District Council named a finalist in the 2017 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards.
Now in their fourth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
The Papakainga Development Policy & Implementation Project 2007-17 is a finalist for the Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development.
The project began in 2006 when the Hastings District Council began work with Te Puni Kokiri and the Māori Land Court to develop the Papakainga Development Guide. Papakainga is a housing development on Māori land, and in the case of Hastings that now includes ancestral land owned by Māori.
Māori have always aspired to achieve Papakainga developments but a lack of finance and limitations in the former District Plan rules meant only one Papakainga was successful until the completion of a District Plan review in 2014.
Following amendment of the Papakainga Section of the District Plan, whanau wishing to develop Papakainga on their land have had a clearer pathway to achieve this goal. In addition to the plan change, Te Puni Kokiri committed $35m nationally to Maori housing in the last budget which allowed the council to guide eight Papakainga to completion, with three more in the pipeline in the district.
It is this result which has seen the Council a finalist in this year’s awards.
The Council has not achieved increased Papakainga housing developments in isolation, with key strategic relationships with the Maori Land Court and Te Puni Kokiri completing the recipe for success.
Awards judges said the issues this policy addressed had been ongoing and by working with the relevant public sector agencies, as well as Whanau Trusts, Land Trusts and Ahu Whenua Trusts the Council has been effective in supporting Māori to occupy Māori land.
“The released land will contribute to housing and bring all the social good that goes with that, at a time when housing is a pressure point.”
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the finalists in the EXCELLENCE Awards showcased outstanding leadership being provided by local government throughout the country.
“Local government is at the centre of every community in New Zealand, helping shape the environment in which we work and play,” Mr Yule says.
“Being named as a finalist is a great achievement and reflects the vision shown by councils and the innovative work being done by staff. The finalists include some truly exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities.”
Local authorities were invited to submit award applications in five categories:
Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.