Programme opens doors to Māori home ownership

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Hundreds of people have signed up for a programme that aims to help Māori families into home ownership.

The course, run through Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the tribal council of the South Island ‘Ngāi Tahu’ iwi (people), offers financial literacy, education on home loans and tailored advice.

Māori home ownership is disproportionally low, and has been declining for decades. The 2018 Census showed that just 31 per cent of Māori own homes, compared to 58 per cent of Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent).

Trudy Thomson, who leads the programme, said “We’ve supported 45 whānau (families) onto the open market, so they’re whānau that had the ability to purchase a home and [sort] the finances, but didn’t have an understanding of how to do that process.”

Sara, one of the participants who previously went through the programme, said the support she received changed her life and set up a better future for her children.

“Myself, my parents, my grandparents, we all grew up in state housing, and to be able to own my own home and break that cycle is amazing.”

General Manager of Oranga at Ngāi Tahu Trevor McGlinchey said that the programme had the potential to grow Māori home ownership more in the future.

“Our hope is that over the next few years we’ll see a bigger increase in the number of people we can home. So, we’re in negotiation with government agencies about how they can support us to do that.”

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