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Mā te whenua e whanake ai te whānau
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Language: English | Māori
Language: English | Māori



Developing a papakāinga on your whenua Māori can be a long process, but there's help available as you work through it.

Developing a papakāinga on your whenua can be a way to help whānau with quality affordable housing and to provide ongoing accommodation and/or revenue for future generations.

Papakāinga also reflect a whānau support system — the kāinga are more than physical structures. They provide opportunities for whānau to strengthen connections between generations, reinforce cultural and spiritual identities, and revitalise Te Reo Māori.

However, barriers like planning restrictions, lack of infrastructure and getting consent from multiple owners can make development a long and sometimes difficult process.

For some landowners it can be a multi-generational venture, so it's good to involve rangatahi in the process too.

When we talk about a papakāinga on this website, we mean a group of 3 or more houses, built on whenua Māori, operating as an intentional community according to kaupapa Māori.

What's involved

It can take several years to even get to build stage, but it should be quicker if you're organised, have a governance structure in place and have good whānau engagement.

We’ve pulled out the key steps here:

  • 1. Whānau planning — around 12 months mahi
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    Develop and share your vision with your whānau. This step will involve a lot of kōrero, hui and preliminary research and is often the most time consuming step in the papakāinga housing development process.

    Considering the potential of the whenua

    Developing a strategy

  • 2. Workshops and research — around 6 months mahi
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    This step requires you to undertake research, learning and gathering of information about your land, its governance, and the whānau who might want to live there.

    Your detailed research and investigation will give you confidence that your papakāinga housing development is viable and will identify any likely barriers.

    Find out about the current state and potential of your whenua

    Understanding governance

  • 3. Project planning — around 6 months mahi
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    With the information you have gathered from steps 1 and 2, owners and trustees are in a better position to engage professional services and get technical advice.

    This involves getting technical reports, considering site options, technical design details and associated costs.

  • 4. Due diligence — around 3 months mahi
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    This is when you'll work with any funding providers to negotiate funding. They'll do a thorough assessment of your project and will expect to see things like:

    • business case and project plan
    • resource and building consents
    • cost estimates and quotes
    • projected ongoing operating costs and revenue for the papakāinga
    • project management details.

    Search for funding opportunities

    Developing a business plan

    Meeting council compliance obligations

  • 5. Building and project management — around 18 months mahi
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    With all your funding, project plans and consents in place, infrastructure and building work can get underway. It's good to get any building contracts checked by your lawyer.

  • 6. Maintenance and management — ongoing mahi
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    The mahi doesn't stop when building work is finished. There will be new responsibilities for the trust to manage as landlord of the papakāinga. There will be ongoing mahi managing and maintaining the houses and working with tenants.

You can find more information in:

Te Puni Kōkiri guide to developing Papakāinga housing


These toolkits also outline in detail the steps and rules you'll need to follow for specific regions.

Far North District Papakāinga Toolkit

Waikato Māori Housing Toolkit

Western Bay of Plenty Māori Housing Toolkit

Ngāpuhi Papakāinga Toolkit

Hastings District Council Papakāinga Guide


Funding help

The Māori Housing Network can provide you with information, advice and identify potential sources of funding to help develop housing on your papakāinga.

Māori Housing Network

The Kāinga Whenua Loan scheme provides loans to whenua Māori trusts and individuals with a right to occupy their multiple-owned Māori land.

Kāinga Whenua loan scheme