Rental development plan

All going well, 10 new affordable rental units will be built in Queenstown by November, to be managed by Mana Tāhuna.

Its chief executive, Michael Rewi, says the charitable trust’s been doing a lot of mahi with the local Māori community, trying to support people into home ownership.

Seeing a need for some different options in Queenstown, Mana Tāhuna reps have been talking to various government ministries
about some ideas in Queenstown, ‘‘but to be honest, most of them involve us becoming a housing trust ourselves’’.

That’s some thing the trust has no desire to do, he says.

Instead, about a year ago, trustees started talking to ‘‘philanthropic people in our network’’ about a pilot-type rental and emergency housing development in the Whakatipu, while also working to secure some government funding.

That was until one benefactor, whose name’s staying under wraps for now, offered to fund the building of the one-bedroom units themselves, and hand them on to Mana Tāhuna to run.

Rewi says consent’s been lodged with Queenstown’s council — eight are planned as rentals, and two will be used as emergency housing to
support whanau in need.

‘‘They’re ready to go; builders are ready, plans are done, [we’re] just waiting on consent to come back from council.’’

Once they’re built, Mana Tāhuna will step in as property managers, taking care of maintenance, etc, and triage applicants from the community at large.

While Rewi says it’s too soon to say what the weekly rental will be, he confirms it will be ‘‘affordable’’.

‘‘It wouldn’t be in line with commercial market rates, it’ll just be fair and reasonable.

‘‘It’s really exciting.’’

While Mana Tāhuna has ‘‘no interest in being property developers’’, Rewi says if it’s successful they’ll look to either build more on the site, or speak to other philanthropic people who might be willing to follow suit.

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