Maori, more than any other New Zealanders are affected by overcrowding, substandard housing and low levels of home ownership. Research by Housing New Zealand makes for sobering reading; it’s estimated there are 30,000 sub-standard homes just in Northland area where there are often barriers to accessing adequate sewerage, drinking water and energy supply.
Together with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and He Korowai Trust, we are working on a pilot project which aims to tackle this challenging inter-generational problem and improve sub-standard housing for Maori communities in rural Northland. Improving the quality of housing for these rural communities is complex and requires understanding of sometimes competing social, economic and health factors and their long term implications.
Focused on community-based development solutions which address these critical housing needs and the aspirations of Maori whanau, the pilot contributes to MBIE’s outcome of safe, healthy and affordable homes for all New Zealanders.
The pro-bono project, part of our ANZ CRS program, aims to develop solutions using a collaborative consultation approach with key stakeholders at a local, regional and national level. This involves partnering with key housing stakeholders to leverage off their skills, relationships and resources, and building credible evidence about Northland’s housing challenges so that effective responses using reliable information are available to regenerate the poor quality homes.
So far we have completed twenty assessments in Te Hapua in Northland’s Parengarenga Harbour, which has involved reporting on weather tightness, insulation, access, hygiene and infrastructure and providing recommendations on improvements and repairs within set funding guidelines.
Outcomes are being delivered already. Repairs to the assessed homes are underway, with another forty assessments to come once the first twenty homes are completed, and this is just a beginning, with thousands more homes requiring attention.
Project lead Billie Teshich, from our Construction Services team says: “This is an opportunity for us to give back through AECOM’s CSR program and contribute to making a positive difference to a community in need while complementing our paid work. Of course meaningful lasting change takes time, but it’s humbling and rewarding to know we’re playing a part in helping to support healthy living environments and the creation of warm, safe and dry housing so these communities can flourish.”