Housing crisis

Te Arawa calls for an end to the emergency housing crisis in Rotorua

Te Arawa kaumatua Monty Morrison. Photo/Andrew Warner

Te Arawa leaders are calling on the government to end the emergency housing crisis in
Rotorua – saying the global reputation of the iwi and the city is at stake.

Iwi leaders gathered to discuss the impact of emergency housing on whānau, hapū, iwi
and their rohe (region).

They seek to intervene at the governmental and operational level and want greater accountability for the resources used.

A TVNZ program further highlighted the crisis following numerous reports from the Rotorua Daily Post.

The Rotorua Daily Post revealed details from a Rotorua Police intelligence report on Saturday that showed crime and police calls around emergency accommodation in Rotorua had increased significantly over the past three years.

Rotorua Police have now admitted that emergency accommodation has increased demand on their resources and say manpower has not been increased during this time.

The Human Rights Commission now wants to speak to people living in emergency and transitional housing to be part of their housing inquiry.

Te Arawa spokesman Monty Morrison said like everyone else in Rotorua and around the
country, Te Arawa was “extremely aware of the concerns” coming from a range of people whose emergency accommodation needs were being met in Rotorua.

“We have long had concerns about the safety of the whānau and their tamariki staying at
emergency housing. We are also concerned about the impact the emergency housing has had on nearby homes and businesses, Morrison said.

“Our iwi experts in this area say that while emergency housing provides short-term relief to the government, the health, welfare and social needs of our whānau in these settlements are not being met.”

He said crime and anti-social behavior had increased and they feared the global reputation of Te Arawa and Rotorua as a hotbed of manaakitanga was also at stake.

Ngāti Whakaue, who owns most of the land on which these facilities are located, also met last week.

Morrison said Ngāti Whakaue was looking to lend his operational expertise and knowledge of local conditions to create an iwi-led operational group. This group will work with ministries and government entities to oversee and monitor all operational interventions.

“We want greater accountability for the resources that are used and to ensure that they are well targeted and achieve the desired results,” Morrison said.

In addition to working at the operational level, Te Arawa believes it can also add value at the
level of governance.

“Te Arawa is willing to work with Ministers to ensure that the policy parameters are correct and aligned to end the current crisis… We particularly want to support strategies that will enable Rotorua to regain its reputation as a premier tourist destination and safe place to live.”

The group agreed to meet on September 22 at Te Papaīōuru Marae, where they will confirm the approach proposed by Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa.

After today, we will be able to meet government ministers.”

Te Tatau o Te Arawa called the first hui and will facilitate the next meeting to be held inside the Tamatekapua meeting house at the Te Papaīōuru Marae.