What we have been up to - our 2019 Chairs' Report
Chairs’ report Paekākāriki Housing Trust AGM 30 November 2019
The Paekākāriki Housing Trust was initiated in December 2016 in response to a valued local family facing homelessness. A group of residents decided to act to keep the Kingi-Warena whānau in the village and, in doing so, decided affordable, appropriate housing was an issue for more than just one family, and something had to be done. We believe a good community is no accident, and so asked our community what was needed through a series of community hui.
Long story short, we bought that house for that whānau using 100 per cent local funding. They will purchase it off the Trust in 2022 and in the meantime are already paying off the interest on the loans provided by 20 local investors. See here for details on that first project and the Trust generally.
We officially incorporated as a charitable trust in November 2017.
The objectives of the Trust are:
(a) to ensure a strong, diverse and connected community and reduce financial hardship by assisting those people in need to access affordable and appropriate housing in Paekākāriki; and (b) to recognise mana whenua Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki’s special connection to this
So what have we been doing this past two years to achieve these objectives?
Early on the trustees decided to follow a strategy of ‘make the most of opportunities as they arise and try a number of things out’. We have limited resources, exist almost exclusively on volunteer time and are working out where to focus our energies as we go.
We’ve been focusing on strategic medium- and long-term issues:
A big focus on the Wainuiwhenua project
Wainuiwhenua is a community-led group working with local iwi to achieve the best future uses of surplus Transmission Gully land for the Kāpiti District. At around 450 hectares, these lands form the hinterland around Paekākāriki village and frame the entrance to the Kāpiti District. Primarily an environmental, climate change and economic development project, we are working hard to ensure affordable housing is included in the mix. Co-chairs Keith Johnston and Tina Pope are key members of the working group. Trustee Holly Ewens has also implemented a successful communications strategy aimed at new councillors. The group heads to the first Community Board meeting in December and then to Kāpiti Coast District Council in the new year.
Support for Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki
Mana whenua, Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki are in an exciting phase of rebuilding, and two of our own trustees—Levi Farrell and Halen Farrell—are on their new executive committee.
After a 10-year hiatus, the hapū have had several well-attended hui and recently an AGM, at which they unanimously supported the Wainuiwhenua proposals.
Tina Pope has been providing hands-on support and mentoring for new chairs Levi Farrell and Paranahia Broughton, reviewing their constitution, and seeking funding opportunities. The Trust has provided research on the history of Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki and the land transactions that have stripped the hapū of their whenua since the 1830s. Thanks to Rachel Patrick for her great work on this.
The hapū have been focusing on building their strength and relationships, and working to build a marae. Until this foundation is in place, housing possibilities for their whānau must wait. The Trust will next look at ways to move things along in relation to papakāinga housing while the hapū is consolidating, for example, investigating the possibility of having land set aside for Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki, ready for when they are in a position to progress housing.
Exploring co-housing possibilities
The Trust secured around $8000 from the Wellington Community Trust to explore possibilities for co-housing in the village, with the primary objective of finding much-needed housing for our seniors here. Simply put, co-housing is intentional clustered housing with some common facilities and shared neighbourhood life. Cohousing communities are created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home but residents come together to manage their community and share activities. There are many different models.
The focus for this project was the Finns building, which at the time was on the market. We saw it had the potential for independent flats with communal spaces. We partnered with Jan Hinde and The Urban Advisory in this mahi. After deciding early on that the building would not be suitable, Wellington Community Trust has agreed to let us use the remaining $6000 or so to consult with our community on housing needs and solutions. This work will happen next year. Thanks to Jan Hinde for her assistance with securing this funding and helping to forge this strategic relationship. Thanks to the Wellington Community Trust for their generous support.
The partnership with The Urban Advisory is an important one. They are a consultancy specialising in integrated, people-centric urban strategy, neighbourhood development and research. They are a key player in what’s happening in Porirua right now, working with Ngāti Toa and government to deliver substantial regeneration and new building of housing there. Their values align with our own. They believe that by thinking about our built environments in a different way, like prioritising people’s wellbeing and sense of place, we can create more inclusive, connected and equitable communities.
Property ownership We own one property on Tilley Road, thanks to loans from 20 locals. The family living there has the opportunity to purchase it from the Trust at its original price plus costs in around 4 years. In the meantime, the Trust rents the property to them and banks the income over and above costs such as repairs, rates, insurance and so on. This will go towards covering the cost of the interest on the loans. The funding model is for the sole benefit of the family, to enable them to remain in the village, provide security of tenure and a pathway to home ownership. In effect the family is paying a mortgage now and the Trust does not benefit financially at all.
This funding model could be reproduced to purchase other properties, but we need to think about how to build our own capital to help us assist other people. One thing we know for sure, banks will not be part of our financial models in the near future. Thanks to Mark Galbraith for considerable work on financial models and thanks to our lenders for believing a great community is no accident and playing an important part in addressing the housing affordability crisis here.
Earlier this year, the Trust put an offer in on another property, the Log House on Tilley Road, after the generous offer of 100 per cent lending from a local family. We saw this as a strategic purchase as it adjoined the Tilley Triangle, part of the Wainuiwhenua lands. Unfortunately our offer was not accepted.
The Kāpiti Coast District Council has offered 4 Te Miti Street to the Trust at a market value. We will be considering whether to take them up on that offer shortly. With the new council elected we now have an opportunity to renegotiate better terms. We need to consider what use we’d put that property to and, if we wish to go ahead, what financial model to use.
Advocating to Kāpiti Coast District Council about housing issues
The Trust believes council has a key role in addressing the housing crisis in Kāpiti and we’ve been working to influence council in a number of ways. The Trust has submitted to council in both their long-term and annual plan processes. We have met with council staff several times including the senior leadership team member responsible for housing. We have provided input into the council’s housing paper, prepared by The Property Group and soon to be considered by councillors.
There are multiple and diverse solutions to the housing crisis and community housing (rental and ownership) must be in the mix and supported better by local and central government. Central government is starting to step up but Auckland pulls most of the available resources. The four “well beings” mean councils must address this huge problem, which will only be exacerbated in our district with the expressways, Transmission Gully and a possible extension of the Kāpiti rail commuter service to Otaki. Housing is less affordable in Kāpiti than in Wellington.
To date, council’s stance has been that the housing crisis is a central government problem to fix, and not for local government to address. We think otherwise, as do other councils around Aotearoa. We want council to acknowledge the real housing problems in Kāpiti and that they have to play an active role in providing solutions.
There are multiple ways council could have a role in supporting better housing: capital grants, low-interest loans, guarantees, land, licence to occupy, developer contributions, visionary zoning. We have asked council to be an activator and enabler, and to partner with
providers like ourselves to find good solutions. Research is clear that community housing providers build better communities with better social outcomes; that housing developments must meet community aspirations and social cohesion must be a factor. Council needs to identify and remove barriers for social housing providers and innovative developments; its planning and regulatory processes need to allow for innovation and opportunities.
Research also tells us that mixed developments around transport hubs work best for communities: Mixed providers—private, community and public; Mixed tenure—rentals, private ownership, rent-to-buy, shared equity; Mixed income; Mixed age; Mixed culture. The evidence suggests that Kāpiti is not meeting best practice by building big houses on small sections away from transport hubs, a la Guildford Terrace and the like. The District Plan does not support effective housing development, and all the players involved in housing development seem to acknowledge this. A review of the District Plan is vital.
We’re encouraged by the fact that there is now a senior leader responsible for housing and that council have invested in a position paper, for which the Trust were consulted. We meet with the new councillor responsible for housing portfolio, Rob McCann, in a couple of weeks and hope that the new elected members ensure a shift in policy around housing.
Submissions and relationships The Trust has submitted to Aged Concern, to the select committee considering the review of the Residential Tenancies Act, Community Housing Aotearoa, and twice to KCDC.
We’ve been busy meeting other social housing providers, housing trusts, in particular Dwell, developers, architects, builders, academics, the Sustainability Trust, Prefab NZ, transitional housing providers, and innovative thinkers in the sector. We’ve attended multiple housing conferences and hui. We’re members of the Kapiti Community Housing Collective, KCDC Housing Taskforce, and Community Housing Aotearoa. We’ve met twice with The Hon Kris Fa'afoi, Associate Minister of Housing and local MP.
We’ve been busy reading current research on new housing models, what makes strong communities, and what is working around the country to address the housing crisis. We’ve been reading the current research published by the National Science Challenge “Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities”; and overseas research. Mike Stringfellow and Sophie Handford have researched housing models and local body interventions. Thanks to Jennifer Martin, Paul Hughes, Mike Stringfellow and Spencer Crocker we have good baseline data on Paekākāriki demographics and the current housing stock. Mike Stringfellow is leading a piece of work on needs analysis now, with assistance from housing expert Dr Patricia Laing and long-time Housing New Zealand staffer Stephen Cross, along with several local researchers.
Flo McNeill and Natasha Perkins are undertaking research on water in Paekākāriki—fresh water usage, grey and black water disposal—this summer. Nick Platje and Vanessa James
are looking into the Public Works Act. Both pieces of work are joint funded by the Trust and Victoria University of Wellington.
The Urban Advisory and the Trust are conducting a consultation in the first half of 2020 on housing needs and solutions for Paekākāriki.
We’ve held three community hui now, to report on our work and to ask for input and opinions from our community. The repeated large turnout at these hui shows that housing issues are an important concern for the whole community. Our work has always been guided by the concerns of our community.
As a result of the most recent hui, we set up three new working groups to lead priority projects:
• Accessory dwellings – identifying ways in which we can increase the number of secondary dwellings in Paekākāriki in order to meet demand for small dwellings, in particular for our elderly
• Retrofitting to ensure homes are warm and dry – looking at ways to support homeowners, landlords and tenants to have warm, dry houses
• Property management – looking at ways to engage with landlords, and to manage properties in Paekākāriki.
The Trust considered the limitations on our capacity and thanks to the generous donation of one family have employed Mike Stringfellow as part-time coordinator. This has already been transformative for our work and we hope to increase his hours through income generation, funding and donations.
Mike has extensive experience in housing—advising tenants on their rights, mediating for Tenancy Services, developing policy around emergency housing and homelessness, business modelling and analysis in various government and community roles, including Department of Building and Housing, Housing New Zealand, Office for Treaty Settlements, and Tenants Protection Association.
Mike’s initial focus is on needs assessment, strategic planning and property management.
Our thanks go to our trustees—Tina Pope, Keith Johnston, Holly Ewens, Sophie Handford, Mark Galbraith, Levi Farrell, Murray Julian, Linda McLachlan and Halen Farrell. We farewell Sophie Handford after two years’ service.
We appreciate the support of working group members—Mark Amery, Justice Corbett, Kerren Hedlund, Christian Judge, Spencer Crocker, Taja Farslow, Jennifer Martin, Trish Sarr and others who have helped in many ways.
Helen Burch is doing wonderful work as our administrator, for which we are grateful.
We thank our local lenders, twenty of them, and many more who were willing to put up their money to support our first initiative.
Thanks to Wellington Community Trust and Paekākāriki Community Board who have provided much-needed funding, as well as our anonymous donors. And to Wakefield Law who have provided legal advice and support.
And, finally, thanks to our community, who have got in behind this work and continue to believe we can keep creating a strong, diverse and connected community for all who live here.