The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.
Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, skills and tradition.
“Our kaumātua take on a number of different roles including caring for younger and older generations, they are especially there to look after our mokopuna and tamariki while adults are at work,” Minister Mahuta says.
“In 2034 it is estimated there will be 178,000 New Zealanders over the age of 85. Of those, over 109,000 will be Māori and that presents us with a great challenge in the face of nine years of neglect in Māori housing.”
Te Puni Kōkiri have been working alongside a number of local providers around the country to ensure kaumātua are looked after and are living in warm, safe and affordable housing.
“In late September we were pleased to partner with Te Ātiawa Kaumātua Housing Trust to open four brand new flats in Waitara that will help ease the housing pressure for elders in the Taranaki region,” Minister Mahuta says.
Through the Te Puni Kōkiri housing repairs programme, dozens of homes have been repaired for kaumātua most in need.
“For example, kuia in Te Tai Tokerau have been connected to power and now have flushing toilets and running water- basic necessities every New Zealander deserves.
“Through our partnership with Te Whānau o Waipareira, many elders in West Auckland have had their homes repaired. This includes kitchen and bathroom repairs to make life easier and complete rewiring of electricity so mokopuna are safe.”
Minister Mahuta says these projects are only the beginning as the Government continues to explore approaches with whānau, hapū and iwi groups.
“What is good for Māori is good for our whole nation. We all have a role to play and that is no different for our kaumātua,” says Nanaia Mahuta .