Ngati Whatua Orakei has signed a deal with Housing NZ Ltd to buy land in Kupe St near the Orakei marae.
The agreement will see Ngati Whatua Orakei buy 5 tranches of land along the ridge between now & 2021. The iwi organisation has bought the first block of 6746m², on the corner of Hawaiki & Kupe Sts, at market rates for $16.5 million.
Ngati Whatua Orakei spokesperson Ngarimu Blair, who sits on the board of the iwi’s commercial arm, Whai Rawa, said in a release last Thursday: “This is a real breakthrough for Ngati Whatua Orakei. As original occupants of Tamaki Makaurau, this land is hugely important to us. We have worked collaboratively with Housing NZ to reach a commercial agreement that gives us access to their land on the Kupe St ridge. Agreements like this one allow us to slowly build our base to what it once was – and that is exciting.
“This land is part of the original 700-acre Orakei block. After almost 120 years in Crown hands, we have managed to buy this land back. This type of transaction comes with responsibilities to our people & future generations.”
Mr Blair said the significant commercial purchase would give Ngati Whatua Orakei the ability to influence & enhance the surroundings & access points to its papakainga landholdings & the whenua rangatira.
He said the hapu was developing a long-term development plan for all of its Orakei landholdings, including the Kupe St ridge lands: “While the hapu has no immediate plans to redevelop the sites, they will carefully consider all of its options to ensure that any decisions made will be the best for reinvesting back in to Ngati Whatua Orakei whanau. The hapu already owns much of the land around the marae, which is the land that can be developed specifically for whanau housing initiatives.
“Whatever we decide to do with these sites should allow us to maximise the land value, which in turn will be used to build on & develop innovative initiatives for whanau & whanau housing opportunities on the papakainga.”
Housing NZ asset development general manager Patrick Dougherty said: “We are very pleased to have concluded this agreement, which is mutually beneficial for both parties. Ngati Whatua Orakei are the respected custodians of this area. It is very much their home patch and we are delighted to be selling this land to them.
“We have 55 tenancies left in Kupe St. They have been advised of the agreement and are aware of the potential sale in future stages. Housing NZ has a specialist tenant liaison team whose role it is to support tenants through the process of rehousing. We will work with the families to find them suitable alternative homes and will cover all reasonable costs related to this move.
“We will be investing proceeds from the sale into development projects across Auckland to deliver modern, warm & dry houses in which our tenants can live.
“The second tranche of property will be exchanged mid-2018 at a price yet to be negotiated. “The values will vary as we progress through to 2021, depending on factors such as the size of the sites and the market conditions at the time.”
Attribution: Joint release.