EPISODE SUMMARY: On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism, we visit the site of a whānau papakāinga in Waiohiki, south of Taradale in the Hawke’s Bay, where the Hawaikirangi whānau of Ngāti Pārau are in the process of erecting a 5-dwelling development on their ancestral land.
GUESTS: Paora Sheeran, Hinewai Hawaikirangi
Jade Kake: It’s a clear day in Waiohiki, just south of Taradale in the Hawke’s Bay. Otatara Pā looms in the distance, holding a commanding position on a nearby hill. Waiohiki Marae is just down the road, and Tutaekuri the awa meanders between the pā and the marae.
Paora Sheeran: Kia ora, kia ora koutou, nau mai hoki mai ki Kahungungu, nau mai haere mai. O te rā ngā ki Waiohiki nei, ki tenei papakāinga o te whānau Rapihana Hawaikirangi. He whenua Māori tenei, he whenua mai mai. Nā reira, ko i riro ai te whānau nei te whenua, i te wā o rātou tīpuna. Ko mau rātou i te whenua nei. Nā reira, he taonga. He taonga te whenua nei mō te whānau. Nā reira, harikoa te ngākau, harikoa rātou ngākau. I hunga ai i tenei papakāinga, i runga anō i tenei whenua, tuku nei iho, i o rātou nā tīpuna. Nā reira ko te ingoa te whenua nei, ko Waiohiki. Nō reira tenei te mihi ki a koutou, puti puti huri noa i te motu. Nau mai, nau mai, nau mai. So Otatara is the Pā, so that was part of why they wanted to move here, so that they could be close to their maunga, their awa. Tutaekuri te awa, and of course the marae just over the road about 50 metres is their marae, Waiohiki Marae.
JK: Tēnā koutou katoa
Nau mai haere mai ki te Indigenous Urbanism, Aotearoa Edition, Episode 14.
I’m your host Jade Kake and this is Indigenous Urbanism, stories about the spaces we inhabit, and the community drivers and practitioners who are shaping those environments and decolonising through design.
On this episode of Indigenous Urbanism we visit the site of a whānau papakāinga in Waiohiki, south of Tarradale in the Hawke’s Bay, where the Hawaikirangi whānau of Ngāti Pārau are in the process of erecting a 5-dwelling development on their ancestral land.
We spoke with Paora Sheeran, nō Kahungungu, a key driver of papakāinga activity in the Hawke’s Bay, and the project manager for this papakāinga.
PS: We met with the whānau, probably in February 2017, here, on the side of Hatas lane over there. This was obviously just grass, at the time. And they had aspirations to build a papakāinga on their ancestral land. And so we met, we talked about the process, and very quickly we ran a feasibility study process to get from aspiration to a fully costed out project which includes five houses, all of the infrastructure, sewerage, water, upgrade the power, telecom, stormwater, new access way, landscaping, and all of that. So as you can see today, there's three of the houses are standing, closed in, and at a point of the building stage. Stage one's going to be around putting the infrastructure for the five houses in, but building three homes. So TPK approved funding for infrastructure for five homes, and a percentage to assist towards building three rental, affordable rental properties. The other two properties are, they're going to be home ownership. So whether that's home ownership under the trust, or whether that's home ownership in individual whānau. The houses consist of, so we've got two three-bedroom homes, and that's for Hinewai and her whānau. Her brother TK and his whānau, and then the middle house is for their mum, Karen. And so the houses are, the land is put into a whānau trust, and the whānau trust is the one who applied for the funding, and will own and administer the housing on behalf of the whānau. Cause they've got two sisters who are doing university degrees in Wellington, and that was the idea, was when they eventually come back, they will move to the papakāinga as well. So they don't know if it's going to be individual home ownership, or whether the trust will take on that as well.
JK: Oh okay, so Hinewai and her brother both have young families, and they've got two sisters who are studying. And they're mum's going to be here in the middle house.
PS: Yeah, real tight family. And I think that's been the key, to the speed of this whole process is that the whānau are tight, they are united, and just get things done.
JK: We also spoke with Hinewai Hawaikirangi nō Ngāti Parau. Hinewai is a Trustee for the Rapihana Hawaikirangi Whānau Trust and the whānau driver for this project.
Kia ora Hinewai, thank you so much for meeting with me.
Hinewai Hawaikirangi: Tēnā koe, ngā mihi nui kia a koe. Ko Hinewai Hawaikirangi tōku ingoa, ko Ngāti Parau te hapū, ko Otatara te maunga me Hikurangi, ko Tutaehuri te awa, ko Te Whanganui a Rotu te moana. Āe. I'm Hinewai Hawaikirangi, and I'm a trustee of the Rapihana Hawaikirangi Ahu Whenua Trust. Our journey started for us as a family probably three years ago where we succeeded to Māori freehold land from our dad when he passed. Like a lot of Māori whānau do. We were lucky that it was only us four siblings who succeeded to one block of land. But that block of land wasn't big enough to be able to build the number of houses for us four siblings. But we all wanted to live there, because we understood that it's important that we occupy our whenua, that we're close to our marae, we're close to out maunga, we're close to our awa, and we're engaged in our whānau activities. So, what we looked at was, next to my father's block were two other vacant blocks. They were owned by whānau, they were left derelict because they had no connection to the whenua anymore. They either moved away from the region, or they weren't interested in building there, or using the land in any way. Our goal as a whānau was to look into these two land blocks next to our father's. We didn't really know who to go to, to find out how to get a hold of the blocks. But, through asking other whānau members around who the owners were, we eventually got to them. We were lucky that one block owner was just a koro, and the other block owner was a small trust of three siblings. So, in terms of being able to negotiate with the owners, we were lucky in that respect. But, before we did that we had to look at the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act. In order to see if this actually applicable, to buy Māori freehold land, and how we had to go about it. We had a vision as a whānau to all live there, so to realise that we needed the other two blocks, to have three blocks together, to have a big enough land block to put four to five houses.
JK: And you were telling me that none of them were large enough to develop?
HH: Yeah. So that was also advantageous for us as a trust was that, these two blocks were undevelopable, per the district council planning. In the Waiohiki area, we're classed as plains zone, which means you have to have at least 2500 square metres to be able to put one dwelling and a secondary. So, these two blocks that we were looking to buy were smaller than that. So for the owners, they weren't big enough to develop on anyway. But, with the three blocks combined, we could. What I did first was have that conversation with the owners. And say, look, we are whānau, and I talked about how we connected as whānau, where our common tīpuna had come from. So, we approached the land owners, and we started that initial discussion of, would the whānau like to sell? For the purpose of building a papakāinga for our whānau. And, initially they were on board with the idea, but then it was up to me to go away and put a proposal to them around the amount, who our lawyer would be, and some of the conditions we were thinking of in terms of a sale and purchase agreement. So, that's when I approached the Māori land court. Initially I spoke to the general manager, who has now left, at the Takitimu Māori Land Court. And she said, yes, yes there is a way to do it, and have a look at this part of the Act, and this section of the Act. So I went away and did that. And I felt that we met the criteria to be able to buy Māori freehold land, as first class alienee. So, I prepared all the evidence needed to show that we're a first class alienee, and at the same time started negotiating with the two block owners. I then started to prepare the documentation to firstly, send to the whānau, to the owners, the block owners, as well as preparing what the Māori land court would require. I then drew up a valuation assessment of the land that showed that the rateable value that the Hastings District Council put on those land blocks was inaccurate. And the way I found that out was, firstly asking Council how they calculate the rates. What equation do you use, and what specific things go into that equation, to get you to a rateable value. Particularly in the Waiohiki area. What that showed me was that they calculated the rates based on these town services, and that it's a block of land that can be developed on. So, I soon discovered that, in fact those two things aren't applicable to the blocks we wanted to buy. There are no town services to the two blocks, the two land blocks individually weren't big enough to develop on, so those two parts of the equation actually don't fit into how they calculated the rates. So that's when I could argue, well actually, we are going to take out those components of the equation, and look at a new equation, to actually look at the true value. Not incorporating the cultural or historical value - cause you can't put a value on that - but more the value in dollars. So I came up with a new equation, and explained that to the owners. But there's also real risks with buying those two pieces of land, because there was an easement that would take up 500 square metres, that we have to share with the nearby users. So, that was a risk, and then there was a power pole on one of the two blocks as well, that wasn't registered, but it's there and we weren't sure, at that stage we weren't sure whether or not we could use that land incorporated in the blocks. So, again, that was another risk factor that I put into the case to the judge, and explained to the owners. So we came to an agreeable amount in the end, and that's when I included my lawyer to draw up a sale and purchase agreement for the two blocks owners, for their lawyers to see. We'd come to an agreeable price and that was in the lawyers hands now, so I went back to the Māori land court and I was ready. I said, look, we've come to, almost agreed upon a sale and purchase agreement, I'm just coming in, I was given a case worker, I said I'm coming in to start the paperwork with the Māori land court as first class alienee, and under that section of the Act. And I went in there with my one year old, at the time, you know, ready to discuss how our case was going to go, and she came back and just said no, no you can't buy Māori freehold land. I said, what do you mean you can't buy Māori freehold land? It doesn't happen. And I said, uh, I think you need to go and talk to your general manager, cause I've had an initial discussion with her and under this section of the Act, we're first class alienees, and we have all the evidence, and the sale and purchase agreements are coming together, so, under that section and that criteria we do satisfy, that section of the Act. She had to go away to her Manager and ask, and when she came back she said, oh, yeah, actually yeah you can. I said, well, what if I came in here with the idea and you've just said no, but actually I can. And I said, you've been recommended as one of the better case workers, and you're not even, you're not equipped to help answer these questions I have through the Act, and denying something that I've worked really hard for the last two months, because you've made a judgement that I've come in here on this off the whim idea, and just because you've never heard of it being done before, you're not willing to actually investigate to see if it's doable. By the end of that meeting, I said look, I'd really like a case worker who will work with me, because I don't necessarily need someone to be an obstacle. I can do the research myself, I need someone who will just help me process what the Māori land court's here to do. And so, at that stage I did get another case worker, who was willing to work with what I had already done.
JK: But that wasn’t the final Māori land issue encountered on this project - they also ran into difficulties when it came to the title and access. Here’s Paora Sheeran again.
PS: We had a small delay here, learning lesson. Māori freehold land, not all of it was surveyed, back in the day. Because I used to work at the Māori land court, and we did a project where we registered all Māori freehold land with LINZ, land information New Zealand. So all we did was, we got them a title to register the names of the owners, if there was a survey completed, then they got what's called a computer freehold register. If it wasn't surveyed, they got what's called a computer interest register. So really all it is, it's a title, where you register the interests on there, but the actual boundaries aren't defined. And so, what we found out is you can't register a building consent on a computer interest register. To add to that, the roadway, the original Māori roadway used to come straight through here, on to the site, and that's what both, that's what all the land blocks around here used, for access. So obviously we had to shift the access over there. Then we got into some Māori land court difficulties, because part of the roadway on one of the blocks had been cancelled, but not on the other blocks. And so, Māori land court had to do a whole process of identifying why that happened, when it happened, and how is this going to be fixed. So, we actually had a, probably a 90 day delay, of just sorting that out.
JK: Back to Hinewai.
HH: Probably the next stage was looking at how do we finance this loan to buy the two blocks. Now as we all know, when we have Māori freehold land and we want to loan to either buy land, using Māori freehold land as security, or if we want to get a loan to build on Māori freehold land, all banks policies are just an umbrella no, we don't loan for that. Because in the past, it's probably been too difficult with Māori land having, usually, too many shareholders. In our case, that's not, and there's only the four of us as shareholders, and we're under a trust. But they just blanket, the policy, and say it's just an automatic no. And there's no special considerations around that. So, okay, so now Māori land court are on board, and we can do it, with the decision of the judge. We have sale and purchase agreements in place, with lawyers involved. Now how are we going to get a loan to buy the two blocks, which we now know the value of, and the price that we're willing to settle for. So ANZ is our bank, and they had this blanket policy as well. But, we found a way through my mother's house, that she had enough equity to borrow this amount, and it just sit with her house. The difficulty there is, my mum doesn't whakapapa to the land, and the Māori land court, when you purchase other Māori land, which is, you know, extremely difficult, as you've heard through just my case, that the land needs to sit or be owned by those who whakapapa to the land, which my mum doesn't. So, what I did to get around that, and I saw it as an obstacle, and actually a couple of managers first said no, no, no. But then I went to my business banking manager, and she found a way, because she is the type of person who will try and find a solution if I put it in front of her. But what I did was, okay, I drew up a legal document to say that mum relinquishes any power of ownership, she's purely just the financer. Almost like donating, but she's just financing the buying of the blocks, but the blocks, she has no interest, in the blocks. So, the bank was okay with that, the judge was okay with that, and that was another piece of evidence, in terms of having the ownership go through the Māori land court. I think they were the main obstacles, to put to the case, into a case for the judge to be able to allow the share transfer, therefore the ownership, into our trust, our family trust. So now we have, you know, we have three blocks of land to build our papakāinga that we've all envisaged, and spoke about, and wanted. Now we actually have the land, sufficient amount of land to make that realisation come to life. All of that was probably about three months of work. From initially getting in contact with the landowners, through going through lawyers, through going through the bank, through going through the Māori land court process, and there being multiple noes along the way, to going to the judge, to the hearing, and him within two minutes saying, you've got all the evidence you need, are there any objections, and it happened. It was done, we had the land. So, this three month process, running parallel with that, was applying for the Te Puni Kōkiri papakāinga grant. So, we're running them in conjunction with each other, hoping that they both are successful, because say if we got the land, great, and we didn't get the grant, we've got three blocks of land that we can't utilise within that year of funding, that we're servicing a mortgage for two of the blocks on. Then, in our proposal for the papakāinga, it says we have three blocks, so, if we go to the Māori land court and the judge says the evidence is not sufficient, or I don't see this as a fair sale, then we get the grant, we don't get the land, and that falls over. It was a huge risk. I think at the time in my mind I was positive, and I knew it was going to happen, but it was a lot of hard work, and it was a lot of persistence to hear no, constantly, but find another way, or find a back door. Because sometimes you have to think that there are multiple ways to get to the same outcome, and the traditional ways of banks, of the Māori land court workers that I had to come up against, the systems like the Councils way of rating land, especially Māori freehold land, any one of those obstacles could have meant that we failed. But, finding other ways to solve the problems, that was the fun and the challenge of this whole project.
JK: When I first heard Hinewai's story, I was blown away by the innovation that she was able to achieve and the tenacity of her whānau to just keep pushing - because there are still so many barriers. The thing that was really exciting to me was the fact that she was able to create new ways of thinking about whenua Māori, and to creatively interpret the Act to realise the aspirations of her whānau. Hinewai's story is significant, because it highlights the sheer tenacity required by Māori landowners to develop their whenua. I believe if we're able to tell these kinds of stories, it might help other whānau who maybe want to give up, or don't know that they can do these kind of things, or hope they can and get told no. By telling these stories, we might actually be able to influence systems change within Māori land administration, legislation, and financing. The project has also provided the foundation for economic development opportunities. Hinewai is a trained teacher of science and te reo Māori, and along with her husband Cameron Ormsby, Hinewai runs Napier Māori Tours, a local Māori tourism business.
HH: My background is a secondary school teacher, and that's what I've done for a while, and a mum. But, I think being involved in this project, and having to manage so many relationships, but also reconnecting with my whenua, and that started with when we had to look at our whakapapa back to the land. If we're going to build and live on it, we really, really need to know intimately our whakapapa and who our tīpuna were that lived here. And then that brought me into connections with other whānau, which then brought me into, oh okay, I want to know more about our pā. You know, and that was a process, this has been a process ever since I've moved home maybe five, six years. But, being involved with the papakāinga really strengthened it and honed in that knowing exactly, exactly what our history is. So Napier Māori tours started a year ago. Me and my partner, we own it, and we are the lead guides. And we tell our story about our tīpuna from the pā site. So, the papakāinga project has been integral to wanting to know more about our history, and then having the confidence to deliver all that, and that's a part of being a lead guide. Also being proud of where we're from, and what our history is, that's been a big part of moving back to our ancestral land. And wanting to share our knowledge with the rest of the community, and our visitors internationally. In a way the papakāinga project has reconnected me very strongly to our ancestral land, including our pā site, which is one of two tour sites that we used for Napier Māori tours. We've been enticed back to our land, and our stories and our history, and the papakāinga, the touring on our original pā site, Otatara pā, having the marae there, having the awa there, which we, as a whānau we plant native trees along there to restore riparian margins and bring back the ecosystem, with the native trees. You know, that's all together, I don't see them separately, they all work together, and they strengthen each other, those aspects of our life are now strengthened by being at the papakāinga, close to the marae, close to the pā site, which is now our work place, next to the awa which we grow plants, grow native trees for, that we beautify the rivers edge. It's all encompassing. Seeing our houses on our whānau land, right next to our marae, and all our children, my siblings children playing together, and growing up together. It's almost winding back time, like at the Pā site, at Otatara Pā, just across the road from us, how our tīpuna used to live, with their own whare yet all these communal areas. It's like, reversing the colonisation process or the urbanisation process.
JK: Indigenous Urbanism Aotearoa Edition is a production of Te Matapihi. Sandy Wakefield does our sound recording, editing, and mixing. Our theme was composed by Thomas Burton. I’m Jade Kake, your host and Executive Producer.
For more information about today’s show and other episodes of Indigenous Urbanism go to indigenousurbanism.net. You can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you like what you’re hearing, please give us a review or rating on iTunes.
Coming up next on Indigenous Urbanism, we continue our haerenga across the Hawke’s Bay to visit a new five house papakāinga development, on the hills of beautiful Waimārama.
PS: So we’re in Waimārama, which is in the Hawke's Bay, Kahungunu, as you can see it's coastal. We're right on the beach there. This is the Waimārama 3A1C2 Incorporation, and this is their papakāinga.
JK: For the Renata whānau, the development of papakāinga on their ancestral land is an opportunity to get back to their tūrangawaewae, and to connect with their marae and wider whānau.
Eru Smith: It feels great, feel very proud.
Brenda Tatere: I’m grateful that we can do this, that I can do this, real grateful.