Hamilton social housing project Wairere Village back on track video

Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa chief executive Mere Balzer at the opening of the Wairere Village show home.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa chief executive Mere Balzer at the opening of the Wairere Village show home.

A social housing project in Hamilton has bounced back from major delays to open the first home in what its developer hopes will re-establish a sense of community.

Wairere Village on Shakespeare Avenue in Enderley was scheduled to deliver the first run of homes to owners in February, but a stoush with contractors saw that timetable dragged out.

On Friday, the completed village show home - a two-bedroom kaumatua unit - was opened at a ceremony attended by more than 100, including Hamilton city councillors and government MPs David Bennett and Tim Mcindoe and Labour's Nanaia Mahuta.

A furnished bedroom at the Wairere Village kaumatua home with a wheelchair accessible bathroom.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

A furnished bedroom at the Wairere Village kaumatua home with a wheelchair accessible bathroom.

Hamilton-based social service provider Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa chief executive Mere Balzer said the development came out of concern that communities are becoming fragmented.

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"We were concerned that neighbours weren't concerned enough or didn't feel they could go and help neighbours next door if there was domestic violence or children crying and all those sorts of things," Balzer said.

Guests file into the two-bedroom kaumatua unit at Wairere Village.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Guests file into the two-bedroom kaumatua unit at Wairere Village.

"Out of that came a sense that the way we build housing today is not conducive to building communities."

The first five homes in the Wairere Village are well under way and are being snapped up fast - 25 of the two-storey houses have already been sold from the plans.

In total, 62 houses will be built in lots of seven.

Balzer said the runanga wants to build good-quality, affordable homes.

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The cost of a new two-bedroom unit is priced from $310,000, a three-bedroom house from $370,000 and a four-bedroom house from $400,000.

"The first tranche has been sold," she said.

"We haven't been out to advertise yet. It's all been word of mouth."

The furnished two-bedroom kaumatua unit has wheelchair accessible bathrooms, plush carpet throughout and polished concrete floors in the kitchen.

"We're still in the process of looking at whether we sell the two-bedroom single storey homes because those are predominantly for kaumatua," Blazer said.

"We can build them and keep them ourselves, but if people want to buy them, then of course we will sell them because we don't want this to be our only project."

The design includes communal spaces, were it is hoped neighbours will interact. Balzer also hopes to increase the languishing home ownership rates.

"We don't want developers. We want young families and we are really keen to change the statistics," she said.

Housing New Zealand stripped out the rodent-infested Shakespeare Avenue state houses in 2005 and the land sat vacant until it was bought by Waikato-Tainui and on-sold to the runanga.

Hamilton East MP Bennett said the development was something the Enderley area has wanted for some time.

"It had been idle for many years, the houses weren't repaired for many years and it was a poor look for the whole community," Bennett said.

The runanga should take credit, he said.

"They've gone out with a positive plan, they've engaged with the community and they have enabled families to take ownership of it."

 - Stuff

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