September 25, 2023
Forest use change best for housing
A Maori architect and developer says iwi need to bring their forestry resources and their housing need together.
Maori groups in Northland, Te Tairawhiti, and Hawke’s Bay are seeking to establish mass home-building projects with government backing, and Tauranga’s Ngai Te Rangi iwi wants to import American-style relocatable trailer homes for its people.
University of Auckland professor of architecture Anthony Hoete says need is driving Maori innovation in housing, but there are scale limits on the current preferred model of building complete houses offsite and shipping them to the site.
“We’re a timber country and we’ve got to stop shipping our logs abroad. Maori – particularly as they own half the forests – have got to start looking at repurposing our sawmills, our Tasman’s and our Kinleith’s, and get into mass engineering techniques, and start not only boosting the housing supply, but also boosting the economy through mass timber engineering techniques,” he says.
Professor Hoete says mass housing-production facilities in Aotearoa are a better long-term solution than importing homes from overseas.